Comedienne Maureen Lipman is back on the London stage next month when she takes on legendary literary agent Peggy Ramsay in a new play by Alan Plater. Peggy for You opens at the fringe Hampstead Theatre on 23 November 1999, following previews from 18 November, and continues until 15 January 2000.

Ramsay, who died in 1991, was Britain's most celebrated agent for more than thirty years and a renowned character - intimidating, contradictory, irritating and inspiring. Her dynasty of playwright clients included Joe Orton, Caryl Churchill, Christopher Hampton, David Hare, Stephen Poliakoff - and Alan Plater himself. Peggy for You gives a witty account of an imaginary day in the life of Ramsay at her prime.

Ramsay was immortalised in another literary work earlier this year by one of her other clients, the actor-writer-director Simon Callow. Callow's book 'Love Is Where It Falls', published in March, detailed the pair's intimate relationship from what Callow declares was love at first sight. Albeit an unusual though passionate love given that it was, in Callow's own words, 'between a 70-year-old woman and a 30-year-old gay man, and was never going to be consummated physically.'

Maureen Lipman was seen on stage most recently as Aunt Eller in Trevor Nunn's production of Oklahoma! first at the National and then at the Lyceum, where it finished its limited sell-out run in June. Her other stage credits include Messiah, Outside Edge, Wonderful Town, See How They Run, Lost in Yonkers and The Sisters Rosensweig. Her television credits include Agony, About Face and Eskimo Day as well as the long-running British Telecom commercials. She has also written several books and two one-man shows, ReJoyce and Live and Kidding. This year, she was awarded the CBE for services to drama and comedy.

Lipman is joined in the cast by Crispin Redman, Selina Griffith, Richard Platt and Tom Espiner in his professional stage debut. Peggy for You is directed by Hampstead associate director Robin Lefevre whose recent credits include Disposing of the Body (Hampstead) and Three Days of Rain (Donmar Warehouse).

Alan Plater's award-winning television plays include Fortunes of War, A Very British Coup, The Belderbecke Trilogy and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. His prolific stage work includes Close the Coalhouse Door, Shooting the Legend and All Credit to the Lads.