French and Saunders news

Back on Radio 2

The Silence of the Lambs

French and Saunders are back on Radio 2 for more shows over Christmas. Expect a mix of chat, jokes, music and guests, F&S-style. Here’s the show roster:

  • Christmas Day 2-4pm — with Hilary Devey and Clare Balding and includes the Queen’s Christmas message
  • New Year’s Day 1-3pm — with Sharon Gless and Kirsty Wark
  • 2 January 2-4pm — with Michael Palin and Tracey Emin

If you can’t catch the shows live, listen again on BBC iPlayer (see all).

Bank Holiday radio special

The Phantom Millennium

French and Saunders are back for another Bank Holiday special on BBC Radio 2. This time they are joined by actress of Acorn Antiques and Calendar Girls fame Celia Imrie, plus comedy double act Anna Crilly (Lead Balloon) and Katy Wix (Not Going Out).

Set the dial for BBC Radio 2, Monday 30th May 2011, 12pm

UPDATE! They’re back for an additional show this August Bank Holiday:

  • Monday, 29 August 2011, 12pm — with guests Prof Brian Cox and Matt Lucas. (see all)

They’ll be back on Radio 2 at Christmas.

French and Saunders on Radio 2

French and Saunders

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders invite you to three days of cheer over the Christmas period.

They’re commandeering the airwaves to present special shows for BBC Radio 2 with a seasonal mix of music, chat and guests.

  • Boxing Day, 26 Dec 5pm — with guests Miranda Hart and Gok Wan
  • New Year’s Day, 10am — with Jo Brand and Benedict Cumberbatch
  • 3 January 2011, 3pm — with Kate Rusby and Judy Craymer

UPDATE! They’re back for more shows this Easter:

  • Good Friday, 22 April 2011, 12pm — with guests Wayne Sleep and Dr Christian Jessen
  • Easter Monday, 25 April 2011, 12pm — with world record holding sailor Dee Caffari
  • Bank Holiday Monday, 2 May 2011, 12pm — live from Plymouth with Cornwall-based eco champion Dick Strawbridge and, continuing the trend of guests bringing their mums, Dawn and Jennifer are joined by theirs! (see all programmes)

French and Saunders in Australia

Still Alive

French and Saunders have called it a day as a double-act, but they’re not quite finished yet; they are taking their stage tour to Australia for the first time.

The tour will bring together new material with the best F&S characters and sketches from past.

They’ll travel the country on a string of dates from 26 June-29 July 2009 starting in Newcastle, New South Wales and ending in Adelaide, South Australia.

Bafta Fellowship

The Silence of the Lambs

The Bafta Awards take place next week and French and Saunders are due to receive a special honour.

They will be handed the Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, a prestigious award that recognises achievement on film and television.

In winning this award, French and Saunders will join the club with fellow comedians such as Morcambe and Wise, but also film legends such as Anthony Hopkins and Ingmar Bergman (spot the connections?).

See the full list of people who have been awarded the Fellowship since its creation in 1971.

The British Academy Television Awards is on Sunday 26 April, 8pm BBC One.

French and Saunders do funny for money

Mamma Mia

Here they go again! But Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will perform as a double act for the last time on Red Nose Day.

It's wigs and dungarees all round for their final performance - a parody of the movie musical Mamma Mia. It's all in aid of Comic Relief which helps disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK.

Mamma Mia

Also featuring in the sketch are Philip Glenister, Sienna Miller, Alan Carr and Matt Lucas. Watch French and Saunders sashay into Red Nose Day on Friday 13 March from 7pm, BBC One.

Mamma Mia

Photos: Giles Park

Still Alive tour on DVD

Still Alive

From today you can get your hands on the official DVD of French and Saunders' 2008 farewell tour.

French and Saunders: Still Alive travelled the UK in 2008 bringing together characters from throughout their career as well as new sketches. The DVD release was filmed in Cardiff in April.

It is available as a standalone DVD or as a 2-disc box set.

Buy from (affiliate):

Dawn French interviewed

Lark Rise to Candleford

Following on from Jennifer Saunders' interview in January, now it's Dawn French's turn to be interviewed by Woman & Home magazine.

She discusses parenthood, friendship and ageing as well as her new book, Dear Fatty.

Click here to read the interview.

Buy Dear Fatty from (affiliate):

Woman and Home cover

Dawn French book signing

Dear Fatty

With French and Saunders: Still Alive doing its London run, Dawn French will be doing a book signing in the city to promote her autobiography, Dear Fatty.

Waterstone's is hosting the event at its Picadilly store on Wednesday 5 November 2008 at 1pm.

For more details visit Waterstone's events page.

Dawn French at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Dawn French

Dawn French will be making an appearance at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival. During the ten-day festival actors, comedians and politicians join authors for debate and discussion to celebrate the written word.

French will be discussing her forthcoming autobiography, Dear Fatty, at her own event on Sunday 19th October. The Literature Festival, one of four Cheltenham Festivals, runs from 10-19 October 2008.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Tour kicks off


The French & Saunders: Still Alive tour kicked off on the date that plays hard-to-get, 29th February, in Blackpool.

Touring continues into May at venues around the UK. London dates are still a possibility - after French and Saunders have tested reactions round the country.

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have said this will be their last tour of its kind as they call time on their sketch shows in favour of other projects together.

Dawn French in Lark Rise to Candleford

Lark Rise to Candleford

Dawn French joins the population of the 19th-century market town of Candleford in a new ten-part drama.

Lark Rise to Candleford

The story is recounted by a teenage girl, Laura Timmins, who has left her home in the hamlet of Lark Rise to join the larger town of Candleford.

Among the people living their lives in this countryside chronicle is Caroline Arless (French), a neighbour of Timmins.

Lark Rise to Candleford

Lusty and eccentric, Caroline looks after her four children while her sailor husband is away at sea.

"I wouldn't describe my character as a rebel, more of a bit of a drunk!" says French. "She's quite extreme, in that she drinks too much, laughs too much and sings too much. But she loves her family very much, it's just that she goes over the top sometimes."

Lark Rise to Candleford, Sundays from 13th January 2008, 7.40pm BBC One. Click here for more timings.

Images: BBC

Freya and Saunders

Jennifer Saunders

Mother and daughter Jennifer and Freya Saunders have teamed up and made an appearance in Woman and Home magazine. Together they chat about life at Saunders Towers, parenting, careers and cars.

The article is available online at the Woman and Home website.

Woman and Home cover Jennifer Saunders

Merry Christmas

Jam and Jerusalem

Here's a look at how French and Saunders are invading this year's festive TV schedules:

  • Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy Sun 23 December 10.15pm BBC One
  • Dawn French's More Boys Who Do Comedy click here for various days/times
  • A Christmas Bucket o' French and Saunders Mon 24 December 10.45pm BBC One
  • Jam and Jerusalem (new series episodes 1 & 2) Tue 1 January 2008 10.10pm; Fri 4 January 2008 8.30pm BBC One

Have a Happy Christmas and New Year.

The complete series 1-6 DVDs

The Silence of the Lambs

For the first time, all six series of French & Saunders are becoming available to buy on DVD. The 6-disc box set puts series one (1987) to series six (2004) in one place. The set is due for release on 10 March 2008.

Buy from (affiliate):

French and Saunders tour 2008


French and Saunders are hitting the road again for a national tour, their first since 'Live in 2000'. The shows run from 29 February–5 May 2008, with London dates still to be announced.

Click here to view and buy tickets for the tour.

The pair discussed the tour, their 20-year partnership and their plans for the future on 'Parkinson' in November:

French and Saunders Still Alive press ad

A Bucket of History

The Silence of the Lambs

To coincide with A Bucket o' French and Saunders (Fridays BBC One), here is a look back at some classic scenes. So take out your textbooks for some sketch history. (Images: BBC)

Misery The Silence of the Lambs
1993: the chills of Misery and The Silence of the Lambs.

Becoming Madonna in the 1990s.

Alien 3
Alien 3 as presented by French and Saunders.

From the 1998 Christmas Special, the making of Titanic.

Amy Winehouse
Today: Dawn French is Amy Winehouse in a brand new sketch.

A Bucket O' French and Saunders

The Phantom Millennium

Twenty years of the French and Saunders sketch show are celebrated in a new series starting in September. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders raid their back catalogue and present favourite sketches and new material.

It's another chance to visit the country home of the Fat Men, watch Britney Spears take on Madonna and no series would be complete without the famed movie pastiches.

Alan Sugar, Simon Cowell and Amy Winehouse are some of the new faces who are tackled in a fresh batch of sketches.

Together the series builds into a six-week compendium of comedy. Take a good look as it may be the last we see of the French and Saunders sketch show as we know it.

Comic Relief Does Car Booty

French and Saunders

There was brisk business in a special edition of lifestyle show Car Booty for Comic Relief. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were one of six celebrity pairs competing to raise the most money through the dirty capitalists' favourite -- the car boot sale.

All the teams tempted bargain-hunters with a mix of artefacts collected over the years, including a book featured in the film Notting Hill and the Diddy Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow puppets. Particularly desirable items were set aside for auction later in the day.

Ultimately, thanks to 24 years' worth of memorabilia including props, posters and signed pictures, it was team French and Saunders that ruled the car boot.

Here's how much the teams raised through their car boot stalls and auctions:

  • French and Saunders £6,110 (£3,705.50 from the car boot stall)
  • Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer £1,781 (£1,523)
  • Dick and Dom £1,772 (£1,233.50)
  • Mariella Frostrup and Jason Donovan £1,454 (£937)
  • Charlie Dimmock and Alan Titchmarsh £1,175 (£885)
  • Kim and Aggie £1,148 (£978.50)

The total amount raised for Comic Relief was £13,430.

Christmas presence

French and/or Saunders can be seen popping up in a variety of places over the festive period.

After twelve years The Vicar of Dibley reaches the end of its service this Christmas. Dawn French leads the congregation in the final two episodes that bring the long-running series to a close on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

There’s a special pantomime taking place in Jam and Jerusalem. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are among the Clatterford dames treading the boards.

Dawn French can be seen again making a guest appearance in the second of two Little Britain Abroad specials. She joins Matt Lucas and David Walliams to play the mother of enfant terrible Vicky Pollard who is charged with drug-smuggling in Thailand.

Finally, Jools Holland’s famous Hootenanny takes place once again with his brigade of special guests, rumoured to include Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson.

  • The Vicar of Dibley — Christmas Day 9.30pm and New Year’s Day 9.30pm BBC One
  • Jam and Jerusalem — Boxing Day 9.45pm BBC One
  • Little Britain Abroad — Christmas Day 10.30pm and 30th December 9.15pm BBC One
  • Jools’s Annual Hootenanny — New Year’s Eve 10.50pm BBC Two

Merry Christmas.

Dawn French in Agatha Christie mystery

Dawn French appears in a new Miss Marple mystery this weekend. The dramatization of 'Sleeping Murder' features an all star cast in a puzzle that leads from England to India. Sunday 5 February, 9pm, ITV1.

Happy Christmas everyone

Don't forget that this year's French & Saunders Christmas Special is on BBC One on Tuesday December 27th at 9pm.

Have a merry Christmas.

Dawn French visits Narnia

The big Christmas movie of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe goes on general release today. The classic good-versus-evil tale is full of magical characters and Dawn French got to play one of them: Mrs Beaver, who meets the bewildered Pevensie children in Narnia.

Although Mr and Mrs Beaver are CGI characters, Dawn was able to have fun with the role. The world premiere was at the Royal Albert Hall last night and she was there with Ray Winstone, who plays Mr Beaver.

"He was definitely one of the reasons why I took the job. I know Ray very well. We're old muckers. I thought we'd be in the same room together having a laugh and in fact virtually everything was done separately. I feel a bit of a fraudster actually because all the other cast members worked really hard on the film whereas I just had a lot of fun in a small darkened room, mainly eating quite a lot of cake."

Full interview with Dawn French on her Narnia role.

Trivia Link: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is directed by Andrew Adamson, who directed Shrek 2 which featured Jennifer Saunders.

Take Chat

Dawn French will be a guest on Parkinson this Saturday, 19th November, 9.40pm ITV1. That is all.

Throwing a strop in six easy steps

Your challenge: To master the art of sulking.

Your tutor: Professor Joy Klump (Dawn French)

...leading the course that teaches you how to sulk like a pro. Using fake archive material, workshops, role-plays and the very latest interactive sulking technology, Joy puts people in touch with their inner spoilsport.

Don't be seen dead having a good time -- click your tongue like a pro when someone says something amusing. Make the most of that migraine and spoil that group trip to the cinema. This six part series on BBC Radio 4 shows you how.

Dawn French has also written a preview of the series for Radio Times magazine. You can find it at the start of next week's (29 October - 4 November 2005) radio listings section.

Episode one teaches you how to spoil other people's pleasure in the workplace.

Mastering the Universe - Wednesday 2 November 11.00-11.15pm, BBC Radio 4

News catch-up

The latest buzz (just in case you didn't already know) is that the next F&S Christmas special was recorded at Pinewood Studios on 8th July.

The French & Saunders Christmas Celebrity Special, to give it its proper name, sends up the likes of Fame Academy and Mastermind, plus the extras return to cause problems on the set of EastEnders.

The celebrity guest roster includes Davina McCall, John Humphrys, Shane Ritchie, Jessie Wallace and Kacey Ainsworth.

Dawn French at Live 8

Dawn French made an appearance at Live 8 in London tonight. She took to the stage to introduce Mariah Carey in front of the crowd of some 200,000 people in Hyde Park.

The event is one of ten concerts around the world to raise awareness of world poverty and influence world leaders at the G8 summit.


Win French & Saunders on DVD

The Comedy website is giving away three copies of French & Saunders At the Movies on DVD. Just breeze through ten F&S-related questions to be in with a chance. Click here to visit the competition page.

Channel 4's 50 Greatest Sketches

A sketch from series four of French & Saunders has claimed a place in Channel 4's Top 50 comedy sketches of all time. The parody of The Silence of the Lambs in which Dawn French plays Hannibal Lecter to Jennifer Saunders Clarice Starling, was number 13 in the list, decided by the public from a list of 100 nominations.

Click here to see the full results.

French & Saunders musical highlights

There's a chance to see some of French & Saunders best pop performances in 'French & Saunders: I Can't Believe It's Not Music', a double-bill of compilation shows.

Accompanied by unbalanced rock legends Raw Sex they catalogue their parodies through the years. Part one features the ABBA spoof 'C'est la Vie' and, from Christmas 2003, the White Stripes and Britney and Madonna against the music.

Part two includes In Bed with the Madonnas, Aimless Morris Minor and Laneenaneenoonoo.

Friday 1 April and Thursday 7 April, 9.30pm, BBC One.

Edith wins!

Edith Bowman

Edith is crowned winner of Comic Relief Fame Academy beating Kim Medcalf in the grand final. Adrian Edmondson finished in third place earlier in the evening.

Dawn French arrived to present Edith with her prize -- an envelope and the honour of revealing the total of the number of votes cast and the amount raised: 8.25 million votes making £1,322,970.69p!

Discuss Red Nose Night Live in the Comic Relief forum >>

Dawn French on Radio 1

Dawn French

Dawn French is lending her voice to a series of short updates on BBC Radio 1, giving the latest news on the station's Comic Relief activities.

For the purposes of the clip she is not Dawn French, but Kylie Minogue (or sometimes Jennifer Lopez) and speaks about Chris Moyles' Red Nose Rally, Edith "Still In Fame Academy" Bowman and Jo Whiley, who reports how Comic Relief cash is spent.

The item continues into Red Nose week.

British Comedy Award

Congratulations to Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders who picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards on Wednesday.

Accepting the prize for both of them, Jennifer Saunders remarked on their twenty years together with a bit of trademark humour and also appeared alongside Dawn in a pre-recorded clip to accept the award together.

Christmas Diary Dates

French & Saunders have three brand new editions of their shows over the festive period. Choose from these Christmas and New Year highlights:

The Vicar of Dibley
Christmas Day 9.25pm BBC ONE

Absolutely Fabulous Christmas Special
Christmas Day 10.30pm BBC ONE

The Vicar of Dibley
New Year's Day 9.00pm BBC ONE

Read more about the The Vicar of Dibley's place in the Make Poverty History campaign.

French and Saunders at Christmas 2004

Here's the latest feed on what French & Saunders are doing this Christmas.

There will be two seasonal episodes of The Vicar of Dibley, the first for five years. Part one follows the village's attempts to pull together a harmonious Christmas with a carol-writing competition and a cocktail party. Needless to say even the best laid plans can fall foul, and these aren't the best laid plans.

Highlights of part two, a New Year special, include the Vicar trying to convice the parishioners to share her big plans for the 20th Anniversary of Live Aid. The humanitarian effort culminates in a special appeal that you'll just have to tune in to see.

It's also the vicar's 40th birthday. "Geraldine is getting older... and wider," says Dawn French, "and wonders whether she's wasted her life because she's been in Dibley for ten years. She's wondering whether she's made the right decision at all."

This and other issues are touched upon in these two new episodes, plus a Comic Relief special coming up in 2005.

Meanwhile in an Absolutely Fabulous Christmas special there's a new baby in the house, but that won't stop Edina indulging in her latest project: interior design. To this end she is helped by her new friends Bettina (played by Miranda Richardson) and Max (Patrick Barlow). She turns to regression therapy to focus her mind, as usual accompanied all the while by the outrageous Patsy.

Coming up in episode two

This week, still struggling to come up with ideas, French & Saunders have to meet with the controller of BBC One (Eve Pollard). Plus they pay tribute to Cher through the ages and Catherine Zeta-Jones is in conversation. 9pm BBC ONE.

Six million watch series opener

The first episode of the new series of French & Saunders was a big success -- rewarded with an audience of 6.1 million viewers on Friday night.

Series six a-go-go

Remember the new series starts this Friday 15 October, 9pm BBC ONE. You can find out more about the series, catch a glimpse of some new sketches and more in the new series six mini-site.

Discuss the new series in the French & Saunders forum.

They've managed to come up with some ideas in the last week, so in the first episode there's a tribute to Cold Mountain, and unusual medical checkup for Dawn.


New series start date

Mark calendars, tag diaries and decline invitations. The new series of French & Saunders starts on Friday 15 October on BBC ONE at 9pm.

Radio Times behind the scenes

The latest issue (2-8 October) has a behind-the-scenes look at the new series, with a photo feature of the Cold Mountain movie spoof.

Studio recordings

Recordings for the new series of French & Saunders have taken place over the last two weeks (14 and 21 July). Among much more, audience members saw prerecordings of Troy, Cold Mountain and Kill Bill plus Dawn as Anastacia and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Live in the studio were the customary white living room sketches and an F&S production office occupied by producer Lisa Tarbuck, Matt Lucas and David Walliams and Ruby Wax as Controller of BBC One.

French & Saunders & Lucas & Walliams

I want THAT one! Comedy award winners Matt Lucas and David Walliams of Little Britain fame are joining in the new series of French & Saunders. They'll make an appearance in a sketch with Lisa Tarbuck and Basil Brush in a new show in the autumn. Thanks to the David Walliams website.

Shrek 2 premieres

Jennifer Saunders attended the UK premiere of Shrek 2 tonight alongside stars Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas and John Cleese.

In a nod to the ogre of the title, the outside of the Odeon Leicester Square was decked out in a special green carpet instead of the usual red.

Saunders had this to say about voice of Shrek Mike Myers: "He's one of the sweetest, quietest people. I think like a lot of comedians you imagine they're going to be these over-the-top characters and he was just lovely. Nice. Normal," she told BBC Radio 1.

The film is released nationwide on 2 July when Jennifer Saunders can also be seen in a Shrek 2 Special, 7.30 pm, Sky One.

Jennifer Saunders in The Times

Jennifer Saunders was interviewed by the Times newspaper about her role in Shrek 2 and more. She revealed that a Christmas edition of Absolutely Fabulous is due for this year. "The pressure is huge... [but] it's good fun making it."

On the subject of her and Dawn French's history of doing movie parodies she says, "That happened by accident. We're trying to move away from them, but the BBC love them.

"Secretly we'd like to do a BBC Three series rather than BBC One."

Fat Lady framed

Cop an eyeful of Dawn French in the latest Harry Potter film, Prisoner of Azkaban, as the Fat Lady, who appears in a talking painting at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Fat Lady hangs guard outside the Griffindor common room. After a student declares the password, she swings her picture frame to allow access to the room through the portrait hole.

In one of the new movie's scenes a group of students is left less than impressed by the Fat Lady's singing ability.

Speaking about the role Dawn said, "I'm playing the Fat Lady which is odd because I'm actually really skinny. So I said to them I will do it, but I've got to eat loads of doughnuts."

Last year co-producer Chris Columbus said: "I think she's incredibly funny and her Harry Potter spoof for Comic Relief was pretty amazing."

The new series

Eight years since their last, French and Saunders' new series on BBC ONE travels with them on their comedy odyssey. Each new episode shadows them at work as they write their new shows, sleep, drink tea and keep the boss happy.

Under their new contract they have their own parking space -- that's one space for both of them -- and their own office where we see them develop top-class sketches, as well as the day-to-day battles with BBC security and hanging around studios and lifts watching for celebrities to persuade to be in their shows.

On the movies side of things they'll pay tribute to Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Passion of the Christ.

Shrek 2's record opening

You can hear Jennifer Saunders lending herself to speech and song in the animated sequel Shrek 2 as the voice of the Fairy Godmother. Other new voices in the film include Julie Andrews and John Cleese as Princess Fiona's parents and Antonio Banderas as an ogre-slaying cat. The film has just opened in US cinemas and took a record �6.8m.

Shrek 2 is released in the UK on 2 July.

New Wild West

From the fictional and oddly dark Cornish town of St Gweep comes a new series of Wild West. Begins tonight 9.30, BBC ONE.

French & Saunders: The Series

Hear news of French & Saunders in March and you might expect that a single Easter helping is on the way. Not this time.

Dawn French has revealed that she and Jennifer Saunders are writing a new six-part series of French & Saunders. The new episodes are likely to be shown later in the year.

Hear Dawn and pals in animated comedy

Bosom Pals, a double-bill of animated specials featuring the voice of Dawn French starts on Monday.

In Radio Times magazine, producer Claudia Lloyd recalls asking Dawn to take part: 'Would she be willing to work on the project -- both on the scripts and as a voice -- and did she like Beryl Cook [on whose paintings the animation is based]?

'"Yes; yes; and like Beryl Cook? I bloody LOVE Beryl Cook! Not only that but I lived in Plymouth [where most of Beryl's paintings are set] and I know every nook and cranny of those paintings."'

Bosom Pals' starry cast also includes Alison Steadman and Timothy Spall. BBC ONE, Monday 26 January 2004, 10.35 pm.

Dawn French in Dazzler campaign

Dawn French is lending her support to the National Osteoporosis Society by designing a piece of jewellery for the Dazzler campaign.

Top 50 British sitcoms

The Vicar of Dibley is in the top ten of BBC Two's 50 Best Sitcoms. Where it finishes in the top ten will be determined in a public vote over ten weeks. Absolutely Fabulous was in the countdown at number 17.

Happy Poo Year

SPOTTED: French & Saunders' latest musical creation, The Poo Stripes, ringing in 2004. The pair, a take on singing siblings The White Stripes, made a surprise appearance on Jools' 11th Annual Hootenanny on New Year's Eve.

Christmas presence

Because you'll be busy elbowing other shoppers this week, here for your convenience is all the ways you can catch French & Saunders this Christmas time.

Absolutely Fabulous: Cold Turkey
Wed 24 Dec, 21:05 - 21:40 BBC ONE; Sun 28 Dec, 22:00 - 22:35 BBC THREE

Comedians' Comedians: French and Saunders
Fri 26 Dec, 08:00 - 08:30 and 22:30 - 23:00; Sat 27 Dec, 04:00 - 04:30 BBC 7 (Digital radio)

French and Saunders Actually
Fri 26 Dec, 23:00 - 23:40 BBC ONE

Comic Relief 2003 Highlights
Tue 30 Dec, 23:20 - 00:50 BBC ONE

The Story of Absolutely Fabulous
Fri 02 Jan, 21:00 - 22:00 BBC ONE

A minisite for Christmas

See what's in the French & Saunders stocking, see pictures and talk turkey in the 2003 Christmas Special minisite. Open now.

Recording Actually

The masses assemble at BBC TV Centre tonight for the recording of the French & Saunders Christmas Special.

Christmas special line-up

Over yonder come glad tidings of this year's Christmas special:

BBC One sees the welcome return of French and Saunders this Christmas with their own unique brand of festive cheer, as they pay homage to some of the people and moments of 2003. From Rosemary & Thyme to The White Stripes and from The Matrix and Love Actually to the antics of Madonna and Britney, no one is safe from their grasp!

The 40-minute bonanza is on Boxing Day at 11pm BBC ONE.

Love Possibly

Signs are that this year's Christmas Spesh will give new film Love Actually the French & Saunders treatment. No details have been announced but the title 'French and Saunders Actually' has been mentioned by Dawn French!

Dawn French gets animated

Dawn French lends her voice to the central character in a new animation set to be screened on BBC TV this Christmas.

She plays the vivacious Stella in Bosom Pals, an animated film based on the paintings of artist Beryl Cook, long-admired by Dawn. The character is one of a number of regulars at a Plymouth pub whose extravagant antics provide a slice of British social life.

Twenty-first and foremost

21 years now means more than just hearing, "You're out the door". Indeed, 2 November (Sunday) marked 21 years since French & Saunders first ever TV appearance, the Comic Strip's Five Go Mad In Dorset.

Discussion >>

Dawn's Segsations

In the run-up to Christmas you can spot Dawn French in brand new adverts for Terry's Chocolate Orange Segsations.

What Ever Happened to Geraldine Granger?

Radio Times magazine asked the writers of some best-loved sitcoms what happened to their characters since we last saw them.

Richard Curtis says of The Vicar of Dibley: "Geraldine is probably still in Dibley, and at the moment holds very strong opinions about the question of gay members of the clergy. She's considering becoming a lesbian in order to make her point. ... As for Alice, she now has 11 children, but ran out of names three years ago, so the last five of them are called Bernard -- even the girls."

French & Saunders on course for Christmas

Christmas came early when Jennifer Saunders revealed during yesterday's Parkinson interview that French & Saunders are writing together and are set to make a Christmas Special this year.

French & Saunders awarded at Montreux

At the Montreux TV Festival where French & Saunders were awarded an honorary Golden Rose, there was news of three, count them, three new projects for the coming year.

First in the lineup is sketches and send-ups in a brand new Christmas Special will go out on BBC1.

Dawn French will move on from The Vicar of Dibley to play a lesbian in a new sitcom.

Meanwhile Jennifer Saunders announced two Absolutely Fabulous specials, one of which will take the show to New York where her character Edina Monsoon pays the price for years of hedonism.

It is only the tenth time such an honorary prize has been awarded at Montreux.

All-new French & Saunders

Prime Minister Tony Blair recently refused to open a Public Inquiry into TV's lack of French & Saunders... because nobody asked him. But political ruin has been averted by the news that a new helping of French & Saunders is in production.

A new French & Saunders special is being recorded at the BBC next month and will be shown on BBC1 in March.

The 40-minute Spring Special will serve up a fresh batch of send-ups and sketches, including the biggest movie juggernaut this side of the new millennium, The Lord of the Rings.

You can join more fans to communicate and speculate on this exciting new show in the French & Saunders Forum. CLICK HERE to go there and get posting!

Dawn French in Ted and Alice

Dawn French stars in a new comedy drama, Ted and Alice, for BBC1.

She plays Alice who, seemingly doomed to a mundane existence with her earthly boyfriend, finds things take a stellar turn when a lonely alien, Ted (Stephen Tompkinson), arrives at her house looking for somewhere to park his spaceship.

The show is part of BBC1's winter season.


French & Saunders in sketch history

French & Saunders reflect upon and relive their work in Victoria Wood's series on the history of sketch comedy.

The two-part show, which began last night on BBC1, charts the timeline of funnies from 'Not Only But Also' to 'The Fast Show'.

While Jennifer played "the mistress of understatement", Dawn described herself as, "the gagmeister, face-pulling twit." She added: "Doing Hannibal was great," referring to their remake of 'The Silence of the Lambs'.

Jennifer on Dawn: "[She] can be very surreal. The physical stuff she does in wonderful."

Look out for more from French & Saunders in next week's concluding part of 'Victoria Wood's Sketch Show Story'.

Dawn French's Bottom

Dawn French can be seen playing Bottom in a new production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on the London stage.

The adaptation, directed by Francis Matthews, follows the original text of the Shakespeare comedy, but French puts her own jolly spin on the part.

Fellow stars include Jemma Redgrave as Titania, the ruler in a magical forest, who falls for Bottom.

Attending the show at the West End's Albery Theatre was Jennifer Saunders who quipped, "I'm very proud of Dawn's bottom. I always have been." She added: "I was crying with laughter. The whole cast is wonderful, and it is so funny."

The show's opening night, 16 March, was also Red Nose Day. French travelled from the theatre to appear on 'Big Red Nose Night' on BBC1. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' runs until 12 May.

Going up in the smoke

London's West End welcomed back Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders for their first stage performance there for eleven years.

Their 'Live in 2000' tour began its extended run in the capital on 6 November and it was a baptism of fire for the pair. They felt the thrill and nerves of live performance when the crucial projector broke down minutes before the show began. Dawn described the experience as "the most fantastic buzz." Jennifer said, "It is actually absolutely great to feel really frightened again."

But years of the safety of the television studio have not dulled the pair's sharp culture critiques which have won rave reviews in the press and massive media interest.

Among the stars watching from the stalls of the Apollo Theatre were Lord Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton, Hugh Laurie and Robbie Coltrane. There were also reunions with Darcey Bussell (who appeared with French in 'The Vicar of Dibley'), and Emma Bunton who joined the other Spice Girls in the 1998 French & Saunders Special.

Exceptionally high demand for the shows has meant a fourth week of dates has been added to the London run, which now extends until early December.

Fans loving 'Live in 2000'

An enthusiastic crowd welcomed Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders to Manchester's Apollo theatre on Monday for the first show of their national tour. Fans were thrilled by the pair's innovative use of the set and sound recordings.

After the show, the duo invited fans to remain in the theatre, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

Partners on Parky update

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders shared billing with an impressive roster of guests talking on 'Parkinson' last Friday. Dressed demurely in black, the pair launched their assault with cutting edge current affairs (Anthea Turner's honeymoon) and lamented their history of disastrous chat show appearances. Michael Parkinson moved the conversation to their hugely in-demand British tour, and they shared material from the show with the host in playful repartee. The duo revealed their Olympic hopes; Jennifer's a demon at the hurdles - she can go under or over - while Dawn runs the 100 inch dash.

French expressed her willingness to commit to another run of 'The Vicar of Dibley', if Richard Curtis can return to write it, while Jennifer revealed that another series of 'French & Saunders' is in the pipeline. 'Mirrorball', Jennifer's new project, will be completed in March.

Dawn, somewhat starstruck by sitting next to Tom Jones during the interview, later lost her inhibitions and invaded the stage after Jones's closing number. She proceeded to bombard him with a succession of pairs of knickers - removed from her person by Jennifer.

During the interview, Dawn revealed that she has had all the tour dates tattooed over her body and, looking down her dress, announced a few. We're pleased to say we've copied them down and have the full list HERE.

French & Saunders on 'Parkinson'

The award-winning talk show 'Parkinson' returns for a new run this Friday 8 September and among the guests talking to Michael Parkinson will be Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. In the show, which is recorded shortly before transmission, the comedy partners are expected to talk about their upcoming national tour and their history.

Friday 21.30 BBC1 (UK viewers only)

Dawn French in 'Maybe Baby'

From this weekend you have a chance to see Dawn French on the big screen in a bright new romantic comedy. Following the highs and lows of a young couple trying to conceive a baby, 'Maybe Baby' stars Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson and is the directorial debut of the comedian and author Ben Elton.

French plays an Australian nurse at a fertillity clinic and is supported by starry support cast including Joanna Lumley, Rowan Atkinson and Academy Award�-winner Emma Thompson. Elton adapted the story from his own semi-autobiographical novel, Inconceivable, and he will also script 'The Phantom of the Opera' for the screen.

In the same vein, Laurie's character is an ambitious writer aiming for a hit movie script, but finds the real paperchase is to hear the patter of tiny feet. Fertility experts will throw their hands up in horror at the craziness that follows! The $6.5 million movie opens in the UK on 2 June 2000.

French & Saunders Live in 2000

Showing that they have not lost touch with their comic beginnings, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are hitting the road again for a national tour, their first in ten years. The show, 'French & Saunders Live in 2000', visits cities across the UK and includes extended stints in London.

Tickets are on sale from Friday 3 March. The official ticket hotline is 0870 0112626.

Comic Strip revisited

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were this evening seen speaking about their years as part of the Comic Strip, which started life in 1980 as an "alternative' comedy club in London's Soho and launched their careers as well as those of Alexei Sayle, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson (now married to Saunders) and Nigel Planer.

The pair openly admit that their early work was "crap" to the point where Mayall recommended to Dawn French that she instead persevere in her teaching career.

The comments were expressed in Channel Four documentary 'The Return of the Comic Strip: the Documented Story', an affectionate exploration of the anarchic comedy group. The documentary was itself preceded by two Comic Strip films, 'Four Men in a Plane' and 'Four Men in a Car'. The latter featured Jennifer Saunders as Helen, a diabetic whose medicine is destroyed by a bungling Nigel Planer, and Dawn French as Stella, the Assistance worker who treats her.

The History of Everything

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders can be seen in 'The Nearly Complete and Utter Guide to Everything' this Tuesday on BBC1. This is the last of a two-part show, which began on Sunday, which celebrates history with sketches from stars of British comedy.

French & Saunders' part in the show will be their skit, first shown in the small hours of New Year's Day, where they play the part of two performers at the Millennium Dome's Body Zone. They are dressed as human eggs, in spherical costumes embellished with, er, 'tadpole' shapes. Appearing with them is Joan Bakewell, the presenter of the ethics and moral debate programme 'Heart of the Matter'.

Also featured are Richard Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter and Caroline Quentin and the show is introduced by the unflappable Angus Deayton.

'The Nearly Complete and Utter Guide to Everything' is on Tuesday January 04, 2000 at 10.20pm on BBC1 (UK viewers only).

UPDATE: 04 January 2000 -- French & Saunders' Millennial skit was last night seen again, as reported, in 'The Complete and Utter History of Everything', the conclusion of a two-part show which began on Sunday as 'The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything'.

Their guest Joan Bakewell stole the show (and no doubt surprised a few people) by breaking into a performance of pop terrorists Steps' hit song '5, 6, 7, 8'.

French & Saunders in '2000 Today'

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were seen in the early hours of this morning in a short skit produced for '2000 Today', BBC Television's marathon 28-hour coverage of the Millennium celebrations of the world.

French & Saunders adopted the part of two performers at the Millennium Dome's Body Zone. They were dressed as human eggs, in spheres embellished with, er, 'tadpoles'. Appearing with them was Joan Bakewell, the presenter of the ethics and moral debate programme 'Heart of the Matter'.

Bakewell stole the show (and no doubt surprised a few people) by breaking into a performance of pop terrorists Steps' hit song '5, 6, 7, 8'.

Dawn French features in David Copperfield

Dawn French features in a TV adaptation of Dickens' 'David Copperfield' this Christmas on BBC television. This two-part dramatisation has more than its share of big names including Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins, Ian McKellen and Zo� Wanamaker.

Dawn French, who plays the tippling Mrs Crupp ("peppermint cordial, you understand... for my spazzums") struck up an instant studio friendship with Maggie Smith, who plays Betsey Trotwood. Smith, during rehearsals, ad-libbed a suitable riposte to Crupp's constant, drunken mispronunciation of her name ("Grotwood... Trotgood" and so on). "Thank you, Mrs Crapp," snapped Smith.

The two-part adaptation starts on Christmas Day at 7.00pm an concludes on Boxing Day.

Richard Curtis wins Lifetime Achievement award

Richard Curtis, who has worked with French & Saunders on a number of projects including 'The Vicar of Dibley' and 'Comic Relief' received the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Comedy Awards. He paid tribute to those who have worked with him over the years. Curtis is largely responsible for the string of successful British romanic comedies in the Nineties, most memorably 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'.

It was the tenth anniversary of the Awards which were once again hosted by Jonathan Ross at the London Studios and televised on ITV. The Awards celebrate excellence in comedy for television, radio, cinema and the stand-up circuit.

A stellar Christmas Special

Dawn French will be back with Jennifer Saunders this Christmas in a BBC1 Christmas Special that promises ho-ho-homages to 'Star Wars' and Melanie C. The show will be broadcast in BBC1 on Monday 27 December and the pair will be seen again in an epic trailer for the jewels of BBC comedy, to be premiered on Christmas Day.

Last year the contessas of comedy paid tribute to 'Titanic' with French & Saunders as Jack and Rose and Ade Edmondson as a manic James Cameron (or should that be Macaroon?).

Jennifer Saunders at the Barre

Jennifer Saunders will appear in an 'Omnibus' documentary on BBC1 (UK) which follows her learning of ballet in search of a new comic character. The programme is called 'Jennifer Saunders At The Barre'. In it she talks about her love of dressing up in character.

The laughs will go on

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders took the stuffing out of 'Titanic' this Christmas (1998) with a wickedly funny pastiche. Joanna Lumley acted as the anchor of a cheesy 'making of' show going behind the scenes of the production to see the actors and crew. The pair made a good stab at the extras in the film, neatly conveying their insignificance in the film. But the real genius was in their performances in the Winslet/DiCaprio roles. Dawn was a bohemic Jack Dawson while Jennifer was the perpetually surprised Rose DeWitt Bukater.

The two funniest scenes by far the portrait of Rose by Jack and the 'flying' sequence. They also parodied Celine Dion's singing of 'My Heart Will Go On'.