AFTER 10 stage performances of Victoria Wood's That Day We Sang, the Prestwich-born writer was keen for the story to return.

Now the heart-warming tale of music and the second chances of trying to find love has been adapted for the screen and will be enjoyed by television viewers on Boxing Day.

Starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton and set in Manchester in 1969, it is the story of Tubby and Enid — two lonely middle-aged people who grab a second chance at life, reconnected by the power of music.

They meet at a reunion of the Manchester Children’s Choir who made the iconic Columbia recording of Nymphs and Shepherds in 1929.

Writer and director Victoria, who attended Bury Grammar School For Girls, said: "That Day We Sang brings together everything I love — singing, dancing, comedy, love and chips.

"A musical, set in ‘29 and ‘69 complete with tap dancing children, singing coal men and possibly a tram, was always going to be a big undertaking and I'm very appreciative of the way everyone at the BBC has been so encouraging and supportive.

"Imelda and Michael are my dream team, superb professionals at the top of their game.

"I'm hoping to deliver something that will be a real treat for the audience.

"It originally only had 10 performances as a play, during the Manchester International Festival (MIF), and I always felt that it needed to have another life.

"So I went to the BBC and asked if it would be possible to turn it into a film and give it the opportunity to return."

One of Britain's most popular stand-up comics, her award-winning work includes starring in sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen on TV and sitcom Dinnerladies.

Speaking of what inspired her to write That Day We Sang, the 61-year-old said: "I knew about the children's choir recording Nymphs and Shepherds in the free trade hall in 1929.

"Then when I was in my early twenties, I saw a documentary about the reunion of those choir members, 45 years after they made that record.

"The idea popped into my head about people having a big, golden memory of something that had happened to them as a child and how perhaps their intervening lives did not yield that level of joy."

Based on a true story, the open-hearted musical about memory, love and singing was a runaway hit when it was staged at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester as part of MIF last year.

Speaking of the differences between the original play and the film, she said: "All the musical numbers from the stage play are in the film, but two of them have been expanded upon and there is a new song for Enid.

"The orchestra was bigger in the stage version because we had the Hallé Youth Orchestra performing.

"For the film, we had a massive band organised by Tim Walker, but we did have the Hallé Youth Orchestra and the Halle Children’s Choir play Nymphs and Shepherds as it was on the original record, so we got as near as we could to reproducing the original event."

Starring alongside Imelda and Michael are Daniel Rigby — playing Mr Kirkby, an injured World War One veteran who helps look after the choir and keep them in line — Dorothy Atkinson as the choir leader Gertrude Riall; Malcolm Sinclair, as the renowned conductor Sir Hamilton Hardy, as well as Conleth Hill and Sophie Thompson as former choir members and now husband and wife, Frank and Dorothy.

Victoria said: "Casting is the most important element in any production.

"When we first started to cast for the original stage production, I thought Michael Ball would be perfect for the part.

"We phoned his agent, who told us he was free which I found quite surprising!

"But it turns out we had phoned his acting agent; his singing agent told us he was booked up all year and unavailable. But this film is proof that he was my dream man for Tubby all along.

"I am a massive fan of Imelda and have worked with her twice before, once in Kenya on Millennium Night and she was in one of my Christmas specials the following year.

"She’s an unusual combination of a powerful straight actress, but also very funny. I had seen her sing in Cabaret and she has a fantastic voice.

"Michael had also recently completed a successful run of Sweeney Todd with Imelda."

That Day We Sang will be screened on BBC Two at 9pm on Boxing Day and accompanying documentary That Musical We Made will be on at 3.30pm.