Click on a name below to take you to that page
I met Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders at the stage door of the Theatre Royal in Nottingham after I had been to see their performance of Still Alive in April 2008. They were on tour with the show which they took to 21 different venues. It was billed as the last chance to see them perform together as a comedy duo.
Jennifer signed a 10x8 photo for me and I had my photo taken with her.
Jennifer Jane Saunders was born in 1958 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Her father, a pilot in the RAF, was based there at the time. The family moved regularly and Jennifer went to a number
number of different boarding schools until she was eighteen. She then worked for a year as an au pair in Italy before starting a course at the Ce
Central School of Speech and Drama in London to study as a drama teacher. It was here that she met her future comedy partner Dawn French and the two later became flatmates. It is well-known that, at first, they disliked each other. French thought Saunders too posh, Saunders thought French too sensible, but eventually they clicked.
After leaving college, they formed an act called The Menopause Sisters, and began performing comedy sketches at the newly-formed Comic Strip Club in London's Soho, alongside the likes of Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer.
A young French & Saunders
Jennifer Saunders in 1984
When the group broke into TV with The Comic Strip Presents... (1985) and The Young Ones (1985), Jennifer Saunders appeared in several early episodes. She has also appeared in the sitcoms Happy Families (1985) and Girls On Top (1985).
In Sapsorrow, an episode The Storyteller (1988) she and Dawn French play the two 'bad sisters'.
Rik Mayall & Jennifer Saunders in
The Young Ones
1987 was a notable year for female-led television comedy when Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders launched their comedy sketch show French & Saunders (1987-2005).
Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders
French & Saunders
1987 was a notable year for female-led television comedy when Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders launched their comedy sketch show French & Saunders (1987-2005). It became extremely popular in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, having been given one of the highest budgets in the BBC's history. They created a range of regular characters (like the two fat, crude sexist men), and impersonated everyone from Madonna to Harry Potter! The final show (in 2005) was a Christmas Celebrity Special.
When Dawn French retired for a while around 1991 to be a full-time mother to her adopted daughter Billie, the BBC asked Jennifer Saunders to write a new show. She took a 14-minute sketch called 'Modern Mother and Daughte
Daughter' from the third series of French & Saunders and turned it into the critically acclaimed sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2005). Saunders stars as an irresponsible fashion agent Edina Monsoon alongside Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone, a chain-smoking, alcoholic fashion magazine editor. This amazingly successful comedy ran for 37 episodes over 13 years and co-starred Julia Sawalha and June Whitfield.
Jennifer Saunders & Joanna Lumley
in Absolutely Fabulous
Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders &
Julia Sawalha in Absolutely Fabulous
Known as Ab Fab in Australia, the series also achieved great popularity in America where the show became cult viewing. Jennifer Saunders won a BAFTA for Absolutely Fabulous in 1993, and received further nominations in 1996, '97, '99 & 2002!
Jennifer Saunders as Columbine in
Let Them Eat Cake
(above) A variety of roles for
Other series starring Jennifer Saunders have followed. In Let Them Eat Cake (1999) a very crude and vulgar six-episode comed
Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders
comedy set in eighteenth century Versailles she plays the evil and abrasive Countesse Colombine. In 2007, Saunders and psychologist Tanya Byron wrote The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (2007) about a neurotic, daytime TV talk show host. Saunders plays Vivienne Vyle in the 6-episode series.
A Bucket o' French & Saunders (2007) was a look back at the best sketches from 20 years of the French & Saunders show. Its new material included a parody of the celebrities Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears.
Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders as Vivienne in The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle
Jennifer Saunders & Suzy Aitchison in Jam and Jerusalem
Another notable series begun in 2006 was Jam & Jerusalem (known in the US as Clatterford) which, by 2009, had run to 16 episodes. Written by Jennifer Saunders (who also plays Caroline Martin) it is set in the local Women's Gu
Guild world of knitting and cake baking. She deliberately chose to play a character with little screen time in the series, preferring to "write,
sit back and watch".
Jennifer Saunders interviewed by Michael Parkinson
Jennifer Saunders appearing in
The Kumars at No. 42
Her small number of film credits include Nancy Crawford in Kenneth Branagh's In the Bleak Midwinter (1995), and more recently she has voiced the Fairy Godmot
Jennifer Saunders has won several awards for her work as
Godmother in Shrek 2 (2004) and Miss April Shrink in Coraline (2009).
Jennifer voicing April Shrink in Coraline
With Joan Collins in In the Bleak Midwinter
In 1985, Jennifer starred as Lesley Reynolds in a Comic Strip film called The Supergrass, a parody of 1980s police dramas. Written and directed by Peter Richardson, it also starred Adrian Edmondson who Jennifer Saunders married in
in May of that year. They have three daughters Freya, Beattie and Ella.
Edmondson & Saunders in Supergrass
As Lesley Reynolds in Supergrass
Adrian Edmondson & Jennifer Saunders receive
Honorary degrees from Exeter University
Like Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders has been an active supporter of "Comic Relief" since 1986, with a number of French & Saunders sketches written especially for charity shows.
work as a writer and performer including two Emmys and five BAFTAs. In 2007 she and husband Adrian Edmondson each received an Honorary degree from Exeter University. In 2009, Jennifer and Dawn French were awarded BAFTA Fellowships, the highest accolade th
they give, in recognition of their achievements.
Jennifer Saunders now lives in a 400-year-old granite longhouse near Chagford in Devon, where she has been known to ride out with the Boxing Day hunt!
Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders with their
BAFTA Fellowship Awards
Jennifer joins the Chagford Hunt
Jennifer Saunders signed this photograph for me
Ciaran Brown with Jennifer Sunders & Dawn French
THERE ARE MANY JENNIFER SAUNDERS VIDEOS ON YOU TUBE This is just a small selection!!