Dempsey and Makepeace's Glynis Barber will follow in the footsteps of Kathleen Turner, Jerry Hall, Amanda Donohoe, Anne Archer and Linda Gray to play the towel-dropping Mrs Robinson in Terry Johnson's stage adaptation of The Graduate. The play, based on the novel and the classic 1967 film, embarks on its first UK tour this summer. It opens at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge on 1 September 2003 (previews 27 August) before continuing for three months to 15 further venues.

The stage version of The Graduate received its world premiere in April 2000 at the West End's Gielgud Theatre, where it continued until January 2002, grossing over £10 million at the box office, before transferring to Broadway. The production caused a sensation when Turner (as well as all subsequent Mrs Robinsons) appeared naked in one scene.

Barber (pictured) is best known for her starring role in the 1980s TV cop show Dempsey and Makepeace, playing opposite her husband Michael Brandon (who is himself currently winning stage plaudits in the title role of Jerry Springer - The Opera). As Barber tours the UK, a separate US tour will launch in San Francisco, starring former West End Mrs Robinsons Hall and Gray, followed by The Sopranos Lorraine Bracco. Further casting for the UK has yet to be confirmed.

Set in the 1960s, The Graduate tells the story of a young man who has an affair with an older woman and then falls in love with her daughter. Mike Nichols' 1967 film famously starred Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. The stage play is written by Johnson, adapted from the original novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.

For the UK tour, Johnson's original West End direction will be recreated by Tamara Harvey. The production is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Mike Walker. The Graduate is co-produced by John Reid and Sacha Brooks with the Arts Theatre Cambridge.

- by Terri Paddock