Happy Families - Jennifer Saunders Dawn French [1985]

2xDVD - contains all 6 episodes, Regions: 2 & 4 PAL

Ben Elton's spin on the brilliant 1949 Ealing film Kind Hearts And Coronets cast Jennifer Saunders in multiple roles: as all four daughters of the Fuddle family and also as their mad granny Edith. It was Edith who set the venture rolling when she charged her dopey grandson Guy with the task of tracking down and reuniting his four lost sisters, ostensibly so that, as her dying wish, she could see her family together one last time. So off went Guy to find his erstwhile siblings, with the middle four episodes dedicated to the hunt for each one: TV soap star Cassie, jailbird Roxanne, novice nun Joyce, and dumb beauty Madeleine. The final episode brought about the unlikely reunion and revealed Granny's real and sinister motive for bringing the grandchildren together - she required an organ transplant from each of them in order to save her life. The siblings agreed, provided that first she assign them her entire estate. At the last, however, it was discovered that Granny was not ill but, miraculously, pregnant, so she was left penniless but holding the baby.

Although typical off-the-wall stuff, Ben Elton and his players were once again trying something different, a self-contained comedy serial rather than a typical sitcom. The humour was robust, vulgar and semi-surreal - par for the course with these talents - while the production overflowed with cameos from a host of famous faces from both new-wave and traditional comedy, among them Mark Arden, Helen Atkinson Wood, Chris Barrie, Keith Chegwin, Andy de la Tour, Ben Elton, Stephen Frost, Gareth Hale, Carol Hawkins, Lenny Henry, Chris Langham, Hugh Laurie, Norman Lovett, Rik Mayall, Pauline Melville, Norman Pace, Lance Percival, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan, John Sessions, Arthur Smith, Steve Steen, Una Stubbs, Sandi Toksvig and Ruby Wax.


Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer,