Profile: Jennifer Saunders, writer of Viva Forever, the Spice Girls Musical

Tuesday 26 June 2012

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Jennifer Saunders is one half of the comedy duo French and Saunders and an original member of The Comic Strip. She is one of the most influential women in British television comedy.

Saunders met comedy partner Dawn French while studying at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. They began performing comedy sketches at The Comic Strip Club alongside such emerging talents as Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer. They soon found themselves at the core of the alternative comedy scene. Saunders appeared in the first episode of THE COMIC STRIP PRESENTS... FIVE GO MAD IN DORSET. The team went on to create several series of comedy films, most recently THE HUNT FOR TONY BLAIR in 2011.

1987 heralded the first series of the hugely popular FRENCH AND SAUNDERS, a landmark self-penned, female-led television sketch show, of which there have been six series and various individual specials.

A sketch in the third series of FRENCH AND SAUNDERS inspired Saunders to write ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. The series became an international success and returned for two episodes in 2011, marking the 20th anniversary of the show, and will return for another Olympic-themed episode in the summer of 2012.

In addition to FRENCH AND SAUNDERS and ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, Jennifer has written and starred in VIVIENNE VYLE and JAM AND JERUSALEM. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS has won numerous international awards: 2 International Emmys, 6 BAFTAs, Writers Guild Awards, 2 Royal Television Society Awards and 4 British Comedy Awards. In 2009, French and Saunders were honoured with a BAFTA Fellowship. In 2012, Jennifer won the BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance for her role in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.

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