French in January 2005
Dawn Roma French
11 October 1957
|Residence||Fowey, Cornwall, England|
|Alma mater||Central School of Speech and Drama|
Dawn Roma French(born 11 October 1957) is a British actress, writer, comedian and presenter from Plymouth. She is best known for starring in and writing for the BBC comedy sketch show French and Saunders with comedy partner Jennifer Saunders and for playing the lead role as Geraldine Granger in the BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley . French has been nominated for seven BAFTA TV Awards and also won a BAFTA Fellowship with Jennifer Saunders.
Plymouth is a port city situated on the south coast of Devon, England, approximately 37 miles (60 km) south-west of Exeter and 190 miles (310 km) west-south-west of London. Enclosing the city are the mouths of the river Plym and river Tamar, which are naturally incorporated into Plymouth Sound to form a boundary with Cornwall.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Sketch comedy comprises a series of short scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio or visual medium such as radio and television. Often sketches are first improvised by the actors and sketch down based on the outcome of these improv sessions; however, such improvisation is not necessarily involved in sketch comedy.
French was born in Holyhead, to English parents Denys Vernon French (5 August 1932 – 11 September 1977)and Felicity Roma French (née O'Brien; 1934 — 2012), who married in their hometown of Plymouth in 1953. She was educated at the independent St Dunstan's Abbey School (now absorbed by Plymouth College). She has an older brother, Gary (born 1955). Her father served in the Royal Air Force, stationed at RAF Valley. The RAF partly funded her private education. When her father was stationed at the former RAF Faldingworth, she attended Caistor Grammar School in Caistor, boarding in the school's Lindsey house. She later won a debating scholarship that brought her to study at the Spence School in New York.
Holyhead is a town in Wales and a major Irish Sea port serving Ireland. It is also a community and the largest town in the Isle of Anglesey county, with a population of 13,659 at the 2011 census. Holyhead is on Holy Island, which is separated from Anglesey by the Cymyran Strait and was originally connected to Anglesey via the Four Mile Bridge and now by the Stanley Embankment.
The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn. Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
Plymouth College is a co-educational independent school in Plymouth, Devon, England, for day and boarding pupils from the ages of 3 to 18. It was founded as a boys' school in 1877 and became coeducational in 1995.
French has claimed that her self-confidence and self-belief stem from her father, who told her how beautiful she was each day.She stated, "He taught me to value myself. He told me that I was beautiful and the most precious thing in his life." He had a history of severe depression and two suicide attempts but managed to conceal his illness from Dawn and her brother. However, on 11 September 1977 Denys French committed suicide by car exhaust, aged 45.
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal, while others nearly always have symptoms present. Major depressive disorder can negatively affect a person's personal life, work life, or education, as well as sleeping, eating habits, and general health. Between 2–8% of adults with major depression die by suicide, and about 50% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder.
She studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977, where she met her future comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders.Both came from RAF backgrounds. They had grown up on the same base, even having had the same best friend, although never meeting. At first, as far as Saunders was concerned, French was a "cocky little upstart". French considered Saunders snooty and aloof. The comic duo originally did not like each other as French wanted to become a drama teacher whereas Saunders loathed the idea and thus disliked French for being enthusiastic and confident about the course.
Jennifer Jane Saunders is an English comedian, screenwriter, singer and actress. She has won three BAFTAs, a British Comedy Award, a Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival Award, two Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards, and a People's Choice Award.
French and Saunders shared a flat whilst at college and were influenced to do comedy by their flatmates as part of their projects for college. After talking in depth for the first time, they came to be friends.While at college she broke up with her fiancé, a former Royal Navy officer. After they graduated, they formed a double-act called the Menopause Sisters. Saunders has described the act, which involved wearing tampons in their ears, as "cringeworthy". The manager of the club recalled, "They didn't seem to give a damn. There was no star quality about them at all." French and Saunders came to public attention as members of the Comic Strip, part of the alternative comedy scene in the early 1980s.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
The Comic Strip is a group of British comedians who came to prominence in the 1980s. They are known for their television series The Comic Strip Presents... which was labelled as a pioneering example of the alternative comedy scene. The core members are Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and Alexei Sayle, with frequent appearances by Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane, Lanah P and others.
Alternative comedy is a term coined in the 1980s for a style of comedy that makes a conscious break with the mainstream comedic style of an era. The phrase has had different connotations in different contexts: in the UK, it was used to describe content that was an "alternative" to the mainstream of live comedy, which often involved racist and sexist material. In other contexts, it is the nature of the form that is "alternative", avoiding reliance on a standardised structure of a sequence of jokes with punch lines. Patton Oswalt has defined it as "comedy where the audience has no pre-set expectations about the crowd, and vice versa. In comedy clubs, there tends to be a certain vibe—alternative comedy explores different types of material."
French has also written a best-selling epistolary million advance for the book, which was released in 2008. On an appearance on The Paul O'Grady Show on 6 October 2008, French said that "Fatty" is her nickname for Jennifer Saunders, as a joke about her own size. French said that she became great friends with Saunders well before they started working together, which was "over 30 years ago". The book consists of letters to the different people who have been in her life. In 2017 Me. You. A Diary, French's second book, was released.autobiography, which she has titled Dear Fatty. French was paid a £1.5
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived from Latin from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter.
The pound sterling, commonly known as the pound and less commonly referred to as sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence. A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound.
The Paul O'Grady Show is a British comedy chat show presented by comedian Paul O'Grady, first shown on 11 October 2004. The programme is a teatime chat show consisting of a mixture of celebrity guests, comic stunts, musical performances, and occasionally viewer competitions.
French has had an extensive career on television, debuting on Channel 4's The Comic Strip Presents series in an episode called "Five Go Mad in Dorset" in 1982.Each episode presented a self-contained story and, in addition to French and Saunders, showcased Comic Strip performers Peter Richardson, Rik Mayall, Robbie Coltrane and Adrian Edmondson. She acted in 27 of the 37 episodes and wrote two of them. One episode featured a parody of spaghetti westerns and another a black and white film about a hopelessly goofy boy. Some of French's first exposure to a wider audience occurred when comedy producer Martin Lewis recorded a Comic Strip record album in 1981 which featured sketches by French & Saunders. The album was released on Springtime!/Island Records in September 1981 and presented French and Jennifer Saunders to an audience outside London. In 1985, French starred with Saunders, Tracey Ullman and Ruby Wax in Girls on Top , which portrayed four eccentric women sharing a flat in London.
French has co-written and starred in her and Saunders' comedy series, French & Saunders , which debuted in 1987.On their show, the duo have spoofed many celebrities such as Madonna, Cher, Catherine Zeta-Jones and the Spice Girls. They have also parodied films such as The Lord of the Rings , Star Wars and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets . After 20 years being on television together, their last sketch series, A Bucket o' French & Saunders, began airing on 8 September 2007.
French and Saunders have also followed separate careers. During French's time starring in Murder Most Horrid , from 1991 to 1999, she played a different character each week, whether it was the murderer, victim, or both. [ citation needed ]In 2002, French appeared in the comedy/drama mini-series Ted and Alice. In the series, set in the Lake District, French played a tourist information officer who falls in love with an alien. She also appeared in the BBC sitcom Wild West , with Catherine Tate, in which she played a woman living in Cornwall who is a lesbian, more through lack of choice than any specific natural urge. This series did not meet with as much success as her earlier roles and it ended in 2004 after two years.
French's biggest solo television role to date has been as the title figure in the long running and popular BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley , which Richard Curtis created for her. She starred as Geraldine Granger, a vicar of a small village called Dibley. An audience of 12.3 million watched the final full-length episode to see her character's marriage ceremony. Her last appearance on The Vicar of Dibley was with Damian Lewis in a mini-episode made for Comic Relief in 2013. She was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Comedy Performance in the last episode of The Vicar of Dibley. Repeats of the show on BBC One still attract millions of viewers and it also retains a following amongst PBS viewers in the United States.
French played a major role in Jam & Jerusalem as a woman called "Rosie" who has dissociative identity disorder and with it an alter ego called "Margaret". She co-starred alongside Sue Johnston (as the lead character, Sal), Jennifer Saunders (regular bit-part as Caroline – also created and wrote the series) and Joanna Lumley (regular bit-part Delilah). She made a guest appearance in Little Britain as Vicky Pollard's mother. French also appeared in a special version of Little Britain Live which featured several celebrity guests and was shown by the BBC as part of Comic Relief. She played the part of a lesbian barmaid in a sketch with Daffyd Thomas.
In 2006, French appeared in Agatha Christie's Marple (episode: "Sleeping Murder"). She appeared as Caroline Arless in the BBC television drama Lark Rise to Candleford in 2008. Talking about her role, she has stated, "I'm quite a vibrant character. She's quite extreme, in that she drinks too much, laughs too much and sings too much. But she loves her family very much; it's just that she goes over the top sometimes."In late 2010, French starred in Roger & Val Have Just Got In with actor Alfred Molina.
French appeared in Little Crackers, short comedy films which were broadcast over Christmas in 2010.
French appeared as a special guest on Michael Bublé's Home For Christmas in December 2011. In July 2012, she was a judge in ITV's Superstar live shows. In March 2013, it was announced that French would replace Brian McFadden on the judging panel of Nine Network's Australia's Got Talent alongside Kyle Sandilands, Timomatic and Geri Halliwell (who replaced Dannii Minogue).
In films, French played The Fat Lady in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ,replacing Elizabeth Spriggs, who played the character in the first film of the series. French's then-husband, Lenny Henry, provided the voice of the Shrunken Head in the same film, though they shared no screen time. In 2005 French provided the voice for the character Mrs. Beaver in Disney and Walden Media's film adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In 2010, French lent her voice to the role of Angie the Elephant in the environmental animated film Animals United . In 1996 French appeared in The Adventures of Pinocchio as "The Baker's Wife" alongside Martin Landau and Home Improvement star Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
She has also taken roles in the theatre. French has appeared in plays such as A Midsummer Night's Dream , My Brilliant Divorce, and Smaller, which last is about a schoolteacher caring for her disabled mother. January 2007 saw French performing as the Duchesse de Crackentorp at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, in The Daughter of the Regiment ( La fille du régiment ) by Gaetano Donizetti. Soprano Natalie Dessay and tenor Juan Diego Flórez were the leads in the production.French returned to Covent Garden and La Fille du règiment in the 2010 revival.
Her tour of 2014 is called 30 Million minutes since she will be this age in 2014. According to her time of birth this will happen on 25 or 26 October.
French was chosen as the face of Terry's Chocolate Orange,until August 2007, when she was dropped. She has also been in advertisements for Churchill Insurance Company.
French has appeared in the videos to Alison Moyet's songs "Love Letters" (which also featured Saunders) in 1987 and "Whispering Your Name" in 1994.
She also appeared in two Comic Relief music videos. In 1989 she joined Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke to form "Lananeeneenoonoo" and, along with Bananarama, they created a charity single to raise money for Comic Relief. It was a cover version of The Beatles song "Help!", and was released on the London Records label, entering the UK Singles Chart on 25 February 1989 and reaching a high of #3. It remained in the chart for nine weeks.
French, Saunders and Burke returned for Comic Relief in 1997 as "The Sugar Lumps," along with Llewella Gideon and Lulu, to parody The Spice Girls, with whom they performed a version of "Who Do You Think You Are?"
In 1986 she appeared as a blonde in Kate Bush's music video titled "Experiment IV."
French met Lenny Henry on the alternative comedy circuit. The couple married on 20 October 1984 in Covent Garden, London. They adopted a daughter, Billie.French has stated that Billie has always known that she was adopted, but once took out an injunction when a biographer came close to revealing the identity of Billie's biological mother. When faced with a question about how she and Henry would feel if Billie wanted to find out about her birth mother, French commented, "Whatever she wants to do when she's 18, we'll support her. What I do worry about is anyone else making the decision for her."
On 6 April 2010, French and Henry announced they were separating after 25 years of marriage. It was reported that the separation was amicable. They had decided to separate in October the previous year but left it until then as they were still in discussion over the separation.Their divorce was finalised in 2010.
French began dating charity worker Mark Bignell in 2011. On 22 April 2013 it was reported that they had just married.The couple reside in Fowey, Cornwall, in a mansion with 40 rooms overlooking Readymoney Cove and neighbouring Poldridmouth Cove. The grade II-listed building dates back to the 19th century.
In September 2014 French was named as the new Chancellor of Falmouth University.
French is a supporter of the Labour Party.
French and Saunders won the honorary Golden Rose of Montreux award in 2002 and in 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In a 2006 poll consisting of 4,000 people, French was named as the most admired female celebrity amongst women in Britain.
In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.
|1982||The Comic Strip||Various Roles|
|1982||Five Go Mad in Dorset||George|
|1983||Five Go Mad on Mescaline||George|
|1982–84||The Young Ones||Insane Christian Woman/Easter Bunny|
|1985–86||Girls on Top||Amanda Ripley|
|1987||The Storyteller||Bad Sister||Episode: Sapsorrow|
|1987–2007||French and Saunders||Various Roles|
|1991–99||Murder Most Horrid||W.P.C. Diane Softly|
|Anthology - a different character each episode|
|1992||Absolutely Fabulous||Kathy||Series 1, Episode 6 - "Magazine"|
|1993||Screen One||Elaine Dobbs||Episode: "Tender Loving Care"|
|1993||The Legends of Treasure Island||Jim Hawkins|
|1994–2007||The Vicar of Dibley||Geraldine Granger||Leading role; 2 series and 10 specials (20 episodes)|
|1997||Sex & Chocolate||Bev Bodger|
|1999||Let Them Eat Cake||Lisette|
|1999 to present||Kipper||Narrator||Audiobooks only|
|2000||French and Saunders Live||Various Roles|
|2002||Ted and Alice||Alice Putkin|
|2006||Agatha Christie's Marple: Sleeping Murder||Janet Erskine|
|2006, 2008–09||Jam & Jerusalem (Clatterford in the U.S.)||Rosie|
|2006||Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy||Herself|
|Little Britain Abroad||Shelly Pollard|
|The Meaning of Life|
|Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy||Herself|
|2008, 2011||Lark Rise to Candleford||Caroline Arless|
|2009||The Paul O'Grady Show||Guest Host|
|2010–12||Roger & Val Have Just Got In||Val Stevenson|
|2013–14||Australia's Got Talent||Judge|
|2013–14||The Wrong Mans||Linda Bourne|
|2017—||Little Big Shots||Presenter||ITV talent show|
|2017||300 Years of French and Saunders||Various||BBC One Christmas special|
|1993–94||Me and Mamie O'Rourke||Stand Theatre, London|
|When I was a Girl I used to Scream and Shout||Whitehall Theatre, London|
|All Soul's Night||Lyric Theatre, London|
|Side By Side|
|2001||A Midsummer Night's Dream|
|2003||My Brilliant Divorce||Apollo Theatre, London|
|2005||Smaller||Lyric Theatre, London|
|2007||La fille du régiment||Royal Opera House, London|
|2014–||Thirty Million Minutes|
|2018-19||Snow White at the Palladium||London Palladium|
|1987||Eat the Rich||Debbie Draws|
|1996||The Adventures of Pinocchio||The Baker's Wife|
|1999||David Copperfield||Mrs. Crupp, landlady|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||The Fat Lady|
|2005||The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe||Mrs. Beaver||Voice|
|2006||Love and Other Disasters||Therapist|
|2009||Coraline||Miss Miriam Forcible||Voice|
|2016||Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie||Interviewer||Also executive producer|
Victoria Wood, was an English comedienne, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter, producer and director. Wood wrote and starred in dozens of sketches, plays, musicals, films and sitcoms over several decades, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on the piano. Much of her humour was grounded in everyday life and included references to activities, attitudes and products that are considered to exemplify Britain. She was noted for her skills in observing culture and in satirising aspects of social class.
French and Saunders is a British sketch comedy television series written by and starring comic duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. It is also the name by which the performers are known on the occasions when they appear elsewhere as a double act.
Murder Most Horrid is a British dark comedy anthology series starring Dawn French. It was broadcast on BBC Two for four series runs, in 1991, 1994, 1996 and 1999.
Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis,, is a British screenwriter, producer, and film director. One of Britain's most successful comedy screenwriters, he is known primarily for romantic comedy films, among them Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Love Actually (2003), and About Time (2013). He is also known for the drama War Horse (2011), and for having co-written the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean, and The Vicar of Dibley.
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The Vicar of Dibley is a British sitcom which originally ran on BBC One from 10 November 1994 to 22 January 1998. It is set in a fictional small Oxfordshire village called Dibley, which is assigned a female vicar following the 1992 changes in the Church of England that permitted the ordination of women.
Katherine Lucy Bridget Burke is an English actress, comedian, writer, producer, and director. She achieved fame with her appearances on sketch shows such as French and Saunders (1988–99) and her recurring role as Magda on the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–96), as well as her frequent collaborations with fellow comedian Harry Enfield. For her portrayal of Valerie in the 1997 film Nil by Mouth, she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
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The 2007 British Academy Television Awards were held on Sunday 20 May at the London Palladium Theatre in London. They were broadcast live on BBC One in the UK. The nominations were announced on 11 April 2007.
Geraldine Kennedy is a fictional female vicar, the central character to the successful British BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. She is portrayed by Dawn French, described by the British Comedy Guide as "the jolly, down-to-earth female vicar of Dibley, a small country village inhabited by oddballs. After overcoming the town's initial shock at her gender Geraldine helps to improve the village." Much of the source of comedy comes from the way French plays the female vicar with her extroverted and fun-loving nature, frequent colourful language, and behaviour as a vicar which would usually be frowned on by the church.
The first series of Absolutely Fabulous, a BBC sitcom, was created and written by Jennifer Saunders who starred in the title role of Edina Monsoon, a heavy-drinking, smoking, and drug-abusing PR agent who has dedicated most of her life to looking "fabulous" and desperately attempts to stay young. Edina is known as 'Eddy' to her best friend, Patsy Stone, a magazine editor who constantly takes advantage of Eddy by living the life of luxury in Eddy's extravagant home. Edina is a twice-divorced mother of two. Her eldest child, a son, Serge, left home many years before, to try and escape his mother's clutches. Her long-suffering daughter, Saffron "Saffy", whom Edina is reliant upon, is a Sixth form student and remains at home. The series also the includes Edina's sweet-natured-but-slightly-batty mother, whom Eddy sees as an interfering burden, and Edina's dim-witted assistant Bubble.
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