This BBC comedy skit show is the brainchild of longtime comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Each episode would feature satire on British life, television, and parodies on big box ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
 Various Characters / ... (50 episodes, 1987-2005)
 Various Characters / ... (50 episodes, 1987-2005)
Simon Brint ...
 Ken Bishop / ... (29 episodes, 1987-1995)
Rowland Rivron ...
 Duane Bishop / ... (28 episodes, 1987-1995)


This BBC comedy skit show is the brainchild of longtime comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Each episode would feature satire on British life, television, and parodies on big box office films such as Batman Forever and Pulp Fiction. The duo also invited notable Brits such as Patsy Kensit, Lulu, and Kate Moss. Written by Pat McCurry <>

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Release Date:

9 March 1987 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

French és Saunders  »

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Did You Know?


On-Screen Text: You can take the girl out of Bananarama, but you can't take the Bananarama out of the girl.
[Appears on screen after a spoof of the music video "Stay" by Shakespeare's Sister]
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Featured in Seriously Funny: An Argument for Comedy (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not Absolutely Fabulous
12 September 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Having loved several 80's British comedy TV shows that made it to the U.S.A. (including Young Ones and Black Adder Goes Forth), I decided to give the F&S: Material World DVD a try. The DVD is a collection of short skits from the series, which includes many parodies. Jennifer Saunders (with some help from Dawn French) later made her mark with the show Absolutely Fabulous, a show I didn't care for.

Unfortunately, I didn't recognize some of the parodies, rendering them ineffective. A music video by 'The Raspberries' (Cranberries) was strange, not initially recognizing the group or the significance of the song, with the laugh track painfully reminding me of the jokes I was missing.

In general, the comedy is a mixed bag of over-the-top skits. In the Batman parody, the evil villains (the 'Krankies') used jokes as a weapon to someone else's uproarious laughter ("What do you call a man with a car on top of his head - Jack!" ). In more inspired moments, Batman (Saunders) forgets the voice he used to open the Batmobile, and so tries a Dalek voice (Dr. Who), and eventually fails. Later, when a woman offers to be Batman's love interest, Batman confesses he doesn't know what to do, not even being able to 'get the car started'.

One comic tool F&S use is to portray actresses in a production, sometimes slipping out of character to complain when something goes wrong. In the opening sequence of the Loveheart (Braveheart) skit, Saunders is credited for Liam Neeson, and French is credited for Mel Gibson. Other comic targets include attempting accents, Ireland and Scotland, special effects gone wrong, and playing male characters (using overtly masculine or feminine personifications).

One sketch was Lord Of The Rings, where F&S made extensive fun of the special effects (such as making hobbits appear small). While it was one of the funniest sketches on the DVD, there was a lingering awkwardness in that they were making fun of movie effects that were superb - not exactly cannon fodder for parody.

Thick British accents (especially when comically exaggerated or muted) complicated viewing by making some dialog difficult to understand. Unfortunately, there were often no subtitles to come to the rescue.

Highlights included parodies of Batman, Madonna, Lord Of The Rings, and Baywatch, all of which were worth seeing despite some comic unevenness. Others that didn't work as well included "The Gulf" and "Tripping", both of which were dated. Cute references to other British shows can be found (including 'The Prisoner' in the Batman skit).

Watch it someday if you can, but don't expect any mind-blowing revelations. Just make sure to have the remote handy to skip over dull moments.

4 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Fave sketch of theirs... BeyondTheVeil_92
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French and Saunders Tapes cheshire_cat927
sound of music on any DVD????? kyriayes
Christmas special badgerking10
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