French And Saunders – 1987
French and Saunders was the hugely popular BBC sketch show that ran for seven series totaling forty six episodes between 1987 and 2007.
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders had been working together principally as writers before they hit our screens with their own show.
The first shows were intentionally, typically mainstream low-budget variety shows in which the two stars were constantly attempting grandiose stunts and often failing miserably. There was the usual well placed guest who like in many other shows of this type were treated rather badly. This style lasted the first two series in 1987 and 1988.
Audiences loved it and ratings soared, this lead to the duo been awarded one of the highest budgets in BBC history. This enabled them to create detailed spoofs and satires of popular culture, movies, celebrities and art. Of course this gave the popular show a whole new format. A format that would last a further three series. However audiences would have to wait until 1990 for series three, The next two series (four and five)would be screened three years apart.
Series six aired in 2004 and took on yet another new format. This time the shows took the form of a mocumentry following the duo as they put together their new series. This would be the last series billed as French and Saunders.
In 2007 they returned with their final series to commemorate twenty years – A Bucket O’ French and Saunders.
In 2010 the duo returned to the BBC but this time to Radio where on Radio 2, even today they present their own brand of radio humour in Bank Holiday Specials.
Although the duo have presented radio shows together and worked on individual projects they have always maintained that in today’s world of TV they would never get the budgets that created those hugely successful TV shows.
Coming Back To Celebrate…
In 2017, to commemorate thirty years since those first shows the duo announced they would be returning to BBC1 for a festive special.
The one off show will feature the double act’s most popular sketches from the past three decades, plus rarely seen footage and new material.
The pair will once again be parodying popular films and TV – including 2017 hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale.
French and Saunders present their unique mix of sketches, spoofs and mocumentaries over seven BBC series.
Written By: Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders
Original Transmission Dates:
Series One: 9th March 1987 – 13th April 1987
Series Two: 4th March 1988 – 15th April 1988
Series Three: 15th March 1990 – 26th April 1990
Series Four: 18th February 1993 – 1st April 1993
Series Five: 4th January 1996 – 29th February 1996
Series Six: 15th October 2004 – 26th November 2004
Series Seven: 7th September 2007 – 24th December 2007
Between 1988 and 2009 there have also been 14 special episodes and sketches.