Clatterford: Season 1
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Clatterford: Season 1 (Dbl DVD)
Fans of Calendar Girls and the many productions of French and Saunders (creators of Absolutely Fabulous) will enjoy Clatterford: The Complete Season One. Centered on the daily and social calendars of the village women, Clatterford features unique characters, comical by observation with the wonderful human traits we can all relate to. The women make jam and have meetings, but it's what goes on outside of those meetings where we really get to know the women. Leading a cast of familiar faces, including Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, is Dawn French, who portrays a mentally challenged woman, Rosie. The excellent writing in this series is apparent in an episode featuring Rosie and Margaret, her dueling personalities, fighting over the religious importance of a potato supposedly with the face of Jesus. Rosie is about as close as we get to the zaniness of Ab Fab, since the humor here is more subtle overall and weaved throughout, posing as normalcy. Also subtle are the dramatic moments and serious undertones, which elevate this series above being just another "Britcom."--Rachel Moss
- Six episodes on two discs
- 2006 Christmas Special
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Sort of like the Bible! That's how highly I regard Jennifer Saunders... And frankly I find myself quoting some lines in Ab Fab at so many points of transition in life that she might as well be one of the apostles... I've been a long time fan of Absolutely Fabulous - it has a Rocky Horror sort of perfection whereby you could watch each episode 20 times and only realize more and more how each word, each gesture, has sort of an integrated perfection that transcends the immediate meaning of the line or plot. I read the scripts for some of the AbFab episodes and they are such skeleton sketches that it
made me even more of an admirer of how much Jennifer Saunders holds in her head and brings to life in the actual performance.
Hungry for more, I purchased the first two seasons of Clatterford. I like many before me had to come to an understanding
that this is about the genius of Jennifer Saunders, which transcends Absolutely Fabulous - if you don't understand that then
you will be disappointed that everything else she does is not just sketch comedy that rises to that broad level. I watched
Season One last night, already aware that I had to watch it with no expectations, and I watched with a dawning revelation
that she can facilely transfer her abilities to other styles and genres. As an inhabitant of a large city, just the concept that people have to really live with each other in a small town was a revelation.... The way she actually fleshes that out and brings it to life was remarkable on many levels - I did find myself laughing out loud on several occasions - sometimes at the situation, sometimes at her brilliance in delivering it..and watched the rest with a sense of wonder at
It speaks to her genius that the other reviewers here have done such an intelligent job of reviewing Clatterford. Buyer beware that the more intelligent the viewer is the more refined and transcendent their experiences with Jennifer Saunders and crew will be. Enjoy.
I love Maggie Steed as Eileen, chairwoman of Clatterford St. Mary Guild, who takes it all so seriously and has a phobia about relinquishing even a smidgen of authority to anyone (lest they wrest the Guild from her control, which no one wants to do anyway). Jennifer Saunders plays the affluent, boring Caroline, whose never-seen son Mikie is in a rock band (not a "pop band!") and whose daughter Freida (played by Saunder's daughter Freida) couldn't care less about the equestrian goals set for her by her mother. Dawn French plays simple Rosie, a worker in a cheese factory who regularly gifts others with large blocks of plastic-wrapped cheese, and has another identity called Margaret who regularly antagonizes and scares Rosie (and makes for several amusing and affecting situations). Patrick Barlow is the oft-disgruntled and snippy Vicar who tells the grandson of the deceased at a funeral "Now shut up and sit down!" and shrilly decrees "no tins or packets!" on the church altar for the annual harvest feast.
There are many other great people in this show but Pauline McLynn as Tip, Sally Phillips as Tash, and Rosie Cavaliero as Kate (whose introduction as a drop-in, ersatz grief counselor for Sue Johnston as Sal is priceless -- "No, you've got to do them [the stages of coping with the death of a loved one] in the right order.") also stand out.
I think I've mixed up season 1 and 2 so you best buy season 2 as soon as it's out!
People are right when they say this series is no Absolutely Fabulous - that is true, but this series is every bit on par with that series...it just goes in a slightly different direction! I say to anyone who is thinking about this series - sit back and enjoy. Don't assume anything, and don't rush to judgment. Let the show grow on you (I know it will), and you will find that Clatterford is a place you won't want to leave!