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I remember Happy Families from first time round. A six episode series following the lives of the Fuddle family, the majority of which played by Jennifer Saunders. Most of the Comic Strip played small to medium roles, but Saunders shone through this. The series follows Guy (Adrian Edmonson)on his search around the world for his 4 sisters (Saunders). From an American soap queen to a hard case convict, Guy tracks them all down and takes them home to Granny (Saunders). Whenever I ask anyone if they have seen this programme, I always get a no for an answer. Am I the only one in the world who remembers it? Thank god for UK Gold, who repeated it in the early 90s, thanks to whom I now have a copy. if anyone out there remembers it, or even has a copy, think yourself VERY lucky. This was an example of 80s English comedy at it`s best, and I find it very sad that with regards to video sales, or future screenings, it may be gone for good.
I was at the school that was used for some of the filming (I added the school name to the filming locations). They filmed during the term time so we saw the cast around campus. The headmasters garage being used (and exploded if I remember correctly?); the one side of the school converted to look like a French village street (and desperate attempts by students to get some souvenirs); a bedsit in the same corridor as mine being painted green for a scene (a nasty colour green as well but I don't remember which scene) and Ade Edmonson giving autographs on cigarette packets of students who were not allowed to smoke :) Happy days....
Ahhhhhhhh. I was about 11 in 1985 when I saw this and still at Primary School, at the time I was mourning the end of The Young Ones - this gave me my fix until Filthy Rich and Catflap came along the following year. Reading some of these IMDb reviews has been very nostalgic and has helped to bring back some of the memories from it. I remember Stephen Fry as the doctor, he was playing a doctor in an advert as well at the time so I think he got a bit type casted that year and this was the first thing I'd seen him in. I remember the French artist model character after reading her mentioned on here. I can still remember the theme music which I loved at the time and the tapestry title sequence. This was being shown roughly around the time of "Girls On Top" the ITV sitcom with French and Saunders in and I was a fan of both. This was very much advertised as a Jennifer Saunders vehicle (although French was in it) and it displayed her talents well. French and Saunders got their own series about a year later and it wouldn't be until Absolutely Fabulous that she went off and did something this individual again. I remember Happy Families had me in hysterics and there was some very close to the bone humour. As I said I was 11 at the time but my sense of humour has been fairly unchanged by time (I'm now 30!) I would really love to see this get repeated. Lets hope it does.
It appears that I am also one of the few that ever remember this great series!? I just wish I could find it on DVD. Scene/s that I remember and grin about wherever I am are Ade trying to buy a sandwich in America and him being run over on the drive of his house and crawling to the door :) Saunders is also superb in the roles she plays, seeming to really be at one with the characters and manages to crush Ade so smoothly every few minutes as his craziate bonkers mum.... (another series quote ;) ) This is one of those shows I saw once and wished i'd found re-run, gutted I missed the Gold repeats :( All in all it was fantastic, but then I'm biased as I sometimes resemble Ade and quote him and his characters ad nauseum ;)
I remember watching this series in the 80s too and found it really funny. The episode I remember best was the one with Madelaine, the dippy, romantic sister who lived in France, believing herself to be an artist, or an artist's model and who actually turned out to be a nude model for the slimey French guy. I also remember Rik Mayall was in that episode as the priest. I enjoyed the series, but have never seen any re-runs of it, sadly. Oh yeah, didn't Dawn French as 'cook', turn blue in the last episode?!!!
Happy Families follows Guy Fuddle (Ade Edmondson) in a search for his
four sisters. The first episode is an introduction, then each episode
is dedicated to one sister and in the last episode they reunite with
the grandmother. Every episode has it's good moments. The episode with
Joyce and the people fleeing from hospital to avoid her singing
reminded me of Hyacinth from Keeping up Appearances. And Roxanne was
great, especially the part when Guy is getting her out of jail. I also
liked Cassie, a satirical view of the world of soap-opera stars.
This series shows how versatile Jennifer Saunders is. She plays five different characters and she is believable as each one of them. The conclusion is a little silly but that doesn't hurt the appeal of this show. Ade is wonderful as goodhearted, naive Guy. Dawn French (cook) and Helen Lederer (maid) are very good in their respective parts. I especially liked Flossie's (Helen's) accent. Also, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry add a little charm to the overall impression. Rik Mayall has a small part in the episode about Madeline. His portrayal of a neurotic French priest is magnificent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's such a crying shame that gems like this get lost in the archives,
while the BBC continues to churn out new rubbish, day in day out. Oh
well, maybe their plans to (eventually) digitise their archives for the
benefit of licence fee payers will mean that we can finally see this
excellent series again.
I remember two episodes in particular from this series...
- the sister who's an apprentice painter is somewhere in rural France (Lost In France plays as she dances through the meadows) and her painter tutor is desperately attempting to seduce her in ever more explicit ways, but she's so naive that she never realises, even when he shoves half a melon onto the end of his old boy in an attempt to prove his point (ahem) once and for all...
- the episode involving the sister who's a nun was the funniest by miles - Adrian Edmondson goes to the village shop where the little old lady insists on selling him a dirty magazine despite his protestations ("you young boys, you come in here, looking for a mag...") - fortunately this comes in handy as he uses it to distract a policeman's attention while he scales the convent wall (after giving the policeman the magazine and telling him that "I won't be going anywhere near the wall, let alone over it") - he then dresses as either Jesus or an angel (my memory fails me on this one) and hangs from a tree with fireworks exploding all around in an attempt to convince his sister to leave the convent...
It must have been funny for it to have been so firmly etched on my memory for nearly 20 years. Can't wait for access to the BBC archives...
after reading everyone else's comments i thought i should do my duty and post one too yea like many of the others that commented i had a vague recollection of a scary granny a drippy ade edmonson and a senile cook and very amusing sisters....especially madeline "madeline madeline i want to go to bed vis u" hehe that episode was so good but i was lucky to make a friend when i moved here who happened to love the show as much as my memory was bad and had all the episodes on tape which was great i got to see granny being all scary again and I'd completely forgot that stephen fry and hugh laurie made appearances as doctors...its a pretty good cast which you will all know from looking above and definitely worth searching for and buying. if you do find it and are not happy then i am deeply sorry..anyway i digress this is not so much a comment or review on the show as such more a silver lining for everyone like me who remembers but hasn't seen it for 20 years....i managed to get a copy tonight from ebay so if u all keep your eyes peeled then maybe you'll be as lucky as me...
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