KEIGHLEY Playhouse continues its new season with a delightful play based on the real life correspondence between an American writer and a London bookshop keeper.

In 84 Charing Cross Road, adapted for stage, by James Roose-Evans, it is 1949 and Helene Hanff is a struggling writer in New York. An advert describing London bookshop Marks & Co as specialists in out-of-print books catches her attention, and prompts an initial business correspondence with the shop manager, Frank Doel.

Helene writes to him with a list of books she is unable to acquire in New York. “If you have clean second-hand copies of any of the books on the list, for no more than $5 each, will you consider this a purchase order and send them to me?” she asks.

Doel accepts her request, and replies along with several of the books, with the promise to search for the others and send them over at a later date.

Despite the pair being separated, both geographically and culturally, they develop a touching friendship based on their shared love for books. Their relationship is captured throughout the play in the form of their letters. They share information about their families, activities, and their hopes and dreams. Helene even begins to send food parcels across the pond after learning about rationing and post-war British struggles.

The letters begin rather formally, Doel's more so, but after a few years the pair began to relax and start to address each other as “Dear Helene” and “Frankie”. This long-running correspondence with 'her bookshop', and especially with Frank, gives Helene a cherished bond with the city she so longs to visit. Will she ever make the much anticipated journey?

Helene's letters shaped her bestselling novel, published in 1970, later adapted for a TV drama which transferred onto the West End. In 1987 it was a film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.

Keighley Playhouses's stage is divided between Helen’s apartment and Doel’s bookshop. Director Patricia Henny said: “I have always loved books, especially this one, so it's fantastic to finally be able to direct a play set in a bookshop."

* The play runs from October 22-27. Call 07599 890769.