BBC AMERICA to co-produce new comedies with Jennifer Saunders
BBC AMERICA today announced it is co-producing two new comedy projects written by and starring Absolutely Fabulous creator and star Jennifer Saunders.
BBC AMERICA General Manager, Kathryn Mitchell said: �Absolutely Fabulous was one of the first in a new wave of British comedies that became a true pop culture success in the U.S. We�re huge fans of Jennifer and we�re really excited to have her work back on the channel.�
Clatterford (formerly known as the �Jennifer Saunders Project�) starring Saunders, also features some of the UK�s most acclaimed comedy actors including Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous), Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley), Sue Johnston, (Waking the Dead, The Royle Family), Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Sally Phillips (Smack the Pony) and David Mitchell (Peep Show).
An affectionate comedy based on a women�s club in a small English town, Clatterford follows the experiences of widow Sal Vine (Sue Johnston) who joins the club after the death of her husband, a local doctor. The club�s ideals are to promote truth, justice, tolerance and fellowship � or is it just an excuse for a good gossip?
The glamorous Joanna Lumley ages decades to play the totally unglamorous Delilah, an outspoken, eccentric old lady who rides a large tricycle around town. When not off to buy a tomato she�s (badly) playing the church organ or getting into trouble with the local fire brigade. Saunders plays Caroline, a busy lady of the countryside, keen on horse riding and spending evenings with Madonna.
This project reunites the Absolutely Fabulous couple (Saunders and Lumley) who last teamed up in the popular comedy for five seasons between 1992 and 2003.
Clatterford (6 x 40, 1 x 60) is due to air Q1, 2007. Written by Jennifer Saunders, the executive producer is Jon Plowman (The Thick of It, The Office). It is a BBC/Saunders and French/BBC AMERICA co-production.
The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle is Jennifer�s comedic sideways swipe at the talk show format. It�s Ab Fab meets The Larry Sanders Show with quite a bit of Ricki Lake and Oprah thrown in. Vivienne Vyle (Jennifer Saunders), hosts Britain�s most loved, talked about live therapy show � and is not afraid to dispense her frank advice with abandon.
Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gideon�s Daughter) plays producer, Helena. She�s endlessly creative and hyperactive and harbors big plans for Vivienne.
The idea for the series originally came from Dr Tanya Byron, presenter of BBC AMERICA�s Little Angels, a clinical psychologist who�s been involved in television documentaries on human behavior. �She presented the idea for a comedy on the subject to Jennifer, the aim being a black comedy with pop psychology at the root,� says producer, Jo Sargent.
�At the start of the show Vivienne�s a medium-sized fish, with ambitions to make it big. She�s quite a vulnerable person really. Behind her public, �tell it like it is� fa�ade, is an insecure, easily hurt individual. She�s beginning to question how much she wants the success. But then her ratings soar, and her ego begins to expand in line with her audience figures,� adds Sargent.
The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (7 x 40) is due to air 2007. Written by Jennifer Saunders and Dr Tanya Byron, the executive producer is Jon Plowman (The Thick of It, The Office). It is also a BBC/Saunders and French/BBC AMERICA co-production.