For the first time in ten years, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will once again operate as a duo for a BBC1 special that will air on December 25, 2017. The event is a 30-year commemoration of the pair’s comedy shows that started in 1987 and ran under various titles until 2007—A Bucket O’French and Saunders was the last one televised. Throughout the years, French and Saunders have spoofed films like Lord of the Rings, Thelma & Louise and Titanic as well as ripe-for-picking popstars Madonna and Britney Spears.
The holiday special’s material will parody The Handmaid’s Tale and insert a kabob spear through reality shows filmed in vacation resorts, where alcohol and sexual misconduct rule the day.
“I am shocked by how they behave,” says Dawn French about reality-show numbskulls. “You reckon they’d want to meet someone who would love, cherish and respect them. But instead they go out and get utterly hammered and are sh*gging in a bush and coming out and going ‘Yes!’, like men.”
The duo met in 1978 at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and have been friends and sketch partners ever since. Of course, their most famous collaboration was Absolutely Fabulous, which started as a sketch. French played rigid, responsible daughter ‘Saffron’ and Saunders debuted the character that would become a touchstone for messy gays worldwide, the hurricane of questionable fashion choices and terrible parenting skills, originally named ‘Adrianna’ in the sketch, but changed later for the series, to the more-appropriate ‘Edina Monsoon.’ The sketch was adapted into a hit series, co-starring Joanna Lumley. French made a single appearance on the series.
During a Glamour Magazine podcast, French revealed, “I had to step away from doing the sketch show we were in the middle of writing, we’d booked the studios and everything, to go home and be quiet and have my kid there… She goes on with Ab Fab. Ab Fab becomes huge, and so I sit and watch Jennifer just collecting many awards and bouquets. She had no discernible talent whatsoever until that moment, and then she came through on the inside lane and apparently she was talented all the time,” the actress joked.
The comedy icons, both 59, also have busy solo careers, which has led to less frequent collaborations, making their anticipated holiday special a real treat.