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.
Spread the gospel that new episodes of The Vicar of Dibley are being lined up for Christmas. The vicarage reopens for two special shows this year. Recordings take place in October, and mark a full ten years since the series was ordained in 1994.
Dawn French's 'The Vicar of Dibley' helped BBC1 to its customary win in the Christmas ratings war. The Vicar's Christmas Day outing (one of four episodes screened throughout the festive season) clocked up an audience of 14.17 million, second only to 'EastEnders'. Among those 'Dibley' knocked into a cocked hat were 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' and 'A Touch of Frost' (both ITV), according to BARB figures.
BBC1, and in fact BBC television in general, is where UK audiences invariably tune in at Christmas time although this year the BBC's win was less pronounced.
Christmas Eve will feature the first of four seasonal episodes of 'The Vicar of Dibley'. When we last saw the adorably dippy Alice (Emma Chambers), she was resplendent in a fairy light-covered wedding dress complemented by adorable Teletubby bridesmaids. In the first of these four episodes (spanning a year, season by season, in Dibley) she is now back from her honeymoon. However, all is not well in the Horton household as she has put on four pounds in a month and is worried her husband may think she's fat.
It's just the sort of weighty problem that Dawn French's character likes to sort out, although she has troubles of her own when a devilishly handsome man knocks on the vicarage door.
9.35pm BBC1 (UK); the next two episodes are on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Comic Relief 1999 will feature a special edition of 'The Vicar of Dibley' with a guest appearance by Johnny Depp.
As usual, Red Nose Day will be hosted at the beginning of the evening by Lenny Henry with a team of comedy talent taking it in turns to present throughout the evening. Among them will be Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Jonathan Ross will front the climax.
The theme song for this year's event is by Boyzone. Comic Relief raises money for charity projects in the UK and Africa.