BBC axes Jam & Jerusalem, French & Saunders to part.

French and SaundersThis piece of news on the weekend nearly escaped me, but oh, it’s too big not to acknowledge…

French & Saunders have announced they are parting creative company after more than 30 years. It follows news that the BBC will not renew the comedy Jam and Jerusalem.

“Audiences have enjoyed three series of Jam & Jersualem and the time felt right to make way for different ideas,” a BBC spokesperson said.

“We are already discussing new projects with Jennifer Saunders and eagerly anticipate Roger and Val starring Dawn French and Alfred Molina on BBC Two in the New Year.”

The 51-year-old friends met at Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977, and first starred together on television in Girls On Top in 1985. They went on to comedy gold with French and Saunders, Jam and Jerusalem, and separate series including Absolutely Fabulous, Murder Most Horrid, The Vicar of Dibley, Psychoville and Wild West.

They finished stage tours in the UK in 2008 and performed their first and final Australian tour in 2009. The two were also honoured by the BAFTAs last year.

Saunders said recently: “They are not making the kind of comedy we used to do – they want populist programmes. There isn’t a budget to try more ambitious things.”

French has also said previously: “There was just this gradual realisation that maybe there are other things we’d like to do; maybe it’s a young person’s game.”

Jerusalem co-star Pauline McLynn, who played Tip Haddem, wrote on her website: “It’s a blow, I’ll not lie to you. That was one of toppest jobs ever as far as I’m concerned and it breaks my heart that there’ll be no more.

“For those of you who were wondering, it was the BBC’s decision not Jen’s – she loved writing that series as much as we loved loved loved being in it.

“I think it would indeed be great if you all complained to the BBC also – it may do no good but at least they’ll know the strength of feeling out there for the show and how poor a decision we all think it is to be rid of it.”

Writer and producer Lynda La Plante has recently attacked the culture at the BBC saying its drama commissioning team would rather read a script by a “little Muslim boy” than one that she has written.

Source: Press Association, Daily Mail, Telegraph

14 Comments:

  1. Thats a shame. They are one of the best comic duos ever. I really lik a lot of the work they have done, especially French and Saunders Go To the Movies. Thats a shame. I hope they get back together and make some cool stuff in the future.

  2. Isn’t this old news? F+S announced they were seeking new projects individually ages ago. They toured in that respect, making big news that this was the end of F+S as we know it. After 30 years, they are probably more keen on sipping red and chatting twaddle with mates rather than attempting to come up with some comedy for the Beeb.

    The impression I get is they are quite happy to embrace a new direction professionally. As far as friends go, Fatty and Skinny will have each other for life.

    They did latex suits way before Little Britain and paved the way for many actors and comedic brains. Their little hub of comedy with The Young Ones stars Ade Edmondson et al has served well. Ruby Wax, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawahla, June Whitfield, Jo Brand, Cathy Bates etc…

    Didn’t they Do Well!

  3. Jennifer and Dawn were great team,loved in all they did together.I will miss new material from them,but lucky l have all the shows they did together on dvd,hours and hours of endless laughs.

  4. I always liked the work of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, especially together, they had great chemistry between them. One of my favourites was The Making of the Filming of the Making of Titanic, their Titanic parody. They left a good legacy and hopefully we will see repeats or new material produced by them individually.

  5. Pauline McLynn has already moved on to Shameless anyway, whilst French and Saunders officially split up last March on Red Nose Day (and will no doubt have their reunion on a future Red Nose Day!).

  6. Very sad that these two ladies won’t be working together anymore. They were always hilarious together and created the most accurate satires of movies and celebs.

    Speaking of Dawn, do we know whether Psychoville will b screened in Australia anytime soon?

  7. Thanks for the review David.

    I love French and Saunders and hopefully they will keep on writing and entertaining us individually.

    Ab Fab and The Vicar of Dibley still stand out as funny and entertaining after all these years.

  8. As much as they were good in the beginning,I think French and Saunders were victims of their longevity.

    When they began, they were looked on as edgy and unique, but now over 30 years later what was once their trademark has become the mainstream.

    It’s happened to others and will continue to do so as new fresh ideas surface. In the meantime everyone has their dvds to watch as a reminder of their career highlights…..

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