Interview with Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders on Christmas Day's 300 Years of French and Saunders

(300 Years of French and Saunders is on BBC One on Christmas Day at 10.35pm)

Dragged up all the way from the ocean bed, national treasures Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are back together this festive season for a special 30th anniversary clip show bursting with brand new material, greatest hits, hilarious rarities, and even some never before seen footage.

Reuniting for their first TV show together in 10 years, the huge comedy talents that brought the world Absolutely Fabulous and The Vicar of Dibley promise to be on top form where nothing is out of bounds and no-one is safe. With special appearances from Joanna Lumley, Lulu and one of the presenters from Spotlight South West.


The Christmas special is described as old, gold and new stuff, please could you tell us exactly what this show is?

Jennifer Saunders: "We’ve lived long enough to actually be in and watch our own clip show! It’s on this Christmas and its lots and lots and lots and lots of clips, it’s interrupted occasionally by us and there is some new material."

Dawn French: "Very little."

JS: "Yes, because Dawn can’t remember lines anymore. So what’s coming on this Christmas is a French and Saunders clip show."


JS: "Which we are also in, it’s not a new show, and it’s not a Christmas special… well it is a bit special but it’s mainly a clip show with us in it."

DF: "Yes, it’s us hosting ourselves. We couldn’t be more up ourselves."

JS: "300 Years of French and Saunders!"

DF: "300 years, we’ve been working for 300 years!"

Can you share with us your all-time favourite clip that will appear in the show?

JS (to Dawn): "What’s your all-time favourite clip?"

DF: "Anything where I’m being violent with you I find very, very pleasing."

JS: "All-time favourite clip? My all-time favourite clip is Dawn with a giant ear growing off her back for the giant. Anything to do with the giant is genuinely my favourite. Anything where she is doing all the talking and I’m just sitting is my favourite clip."

DF: "I would say that I’ve got a great affection for the clip where I played your daughter and you play the mother, a clip that went on to be a giant success called Absolutely Fabulous where I was replaced with a genuine young person."

JS: "It went on to be its own show you know."

DF: "Never heard of it!"

How did you go about choosing from the wealth of the material you have produced over the years?

JS: "We basically tried to find the funniest ones. We tried to choose the ones that haven’t been seen as much. Some of our favourite stuff is the quirkier stuff, the studio stuff."

DF: "It’s going to be very busy."

JS: "We like the ones were we look very nice!"

DF: "No we don’t."

JS: "We just like the ones where we look pretty."

DF: "That’s not very many, it would be about a two minute show."

It’s been 10 years since your last French and Saunders TV series, can you tell us a bit about writing and working together again?

JS: "Well, it’s been very limited the amount of time we’ve had to write and work together again hasn’t it?"

DF: "Well we were given time Jennifer, it’s just we abused the time. We really mainly just spent time talking, catching up with things finding out how your horses are, how the dogs are, how the children are, how the husbands are that kind of stuff."

JS: "How the grandchildren are."

DF: "Grandchildren, yes!"

JS: "That’s how old we’ve have become."

Can you give us a sneak preview or hints into any new additional characters that might make an appearance in this celebratory show?

JS: "What we can definitely say is that there are absolutely no new characters in the show."

DF: "That’s a lie."

JS: "Oh, actually that is a lie."

DF: "You’re totally forgetting that since we did French and Saunders, the wonder that is Gogglebox has turned up."

JS: "Yes and reality television."

DF: "And can I tell you this, Gogglebox is begging for it."

JS: "In this show there will be some other big names!"

DF: "So Gogglebox is on the agenda and there’s a little sneaky peek at the Handmaid’s Tale and we might visit Wonderwoman.

"We do visit some old characters, Jackie and Leanne, they turn up. Well you do an old character, an ancient old woman sitting on a couch wearing a turban."

JS: "No that’s just me."

DF: "Oh yes, that’s just you.

"We might visit some people you might recognise called the Kar-crash-sians, see what we did there!"

JS: "That’s it. That’ll do... and clips, did we mention there’s clips!"

December 13, 2017 6:42am ET by BBC One  

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