After we saw the first series a little while ago, we skip forward now to watch their third series. And while I really enjoyed the first series, it’s possible that this was their best series.
It opens with a Sound of Music parody. The Climb Every Mountain bit where Dawn keeps wanting to sing, and Jennifer keeps having to say ‘”Just Me” is funny enough.
But then Dawn breaks into I Have Confidence, doing the number through London streets, which is just objectively funny. I love that they picked one of the more obscure songs from the film to do.
Then, their living room set, but instead of Dawn and Jennifer, it’s Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin. Including the lovely moment when Jerry has the line ‘Take that look off your face’ and when I first saw it, my mind immediately followed it with the next line from the Marti Webb song, ‘I can see through your smile’ – which is exactly what they’re doing. Which makes it even funnier for me.
Sonia does Star Test.
The ‘Stuff and Nonsense’ old women are back.
Dawn is a Royal Expert on Breakfast TV
The Abba parody ‘C’Est La Vie’ is so good. Everything about it is spot-on. From the music, the lyrics and even the particular soft focus photography in some of the scenes is absolutely right. It’s masterful.
There’s music from Kirsty MacColl. I still get a bit sad thinking about her.
Star Pets is a long sketch with some great moments, and a particularly good performance from Dawn French. The moment where she sniffs, then tastes the trowel she had just been using to examine some dog poo is particularly funny and awful.
The closing number is a pastiche of ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ but with the lyrics replaced by the French and Saunders theme tune lyrics.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th March 1990 – 21:00
The next episode does the same trick in the opening pastiche of ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’
Mac Macdonald appears.
Bros take the Star Test
Dawn is a financial expert.
Kirsty MacColl and Simon Brint perform ‘Something Stupid’. Now I’m even sadder, remembering that they’re both gone now.
The Women’s Magazine editors sketch is one that I love. “Jean’s Easter Joy.” It’s also the first time Jane Asher is mentioned.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd March 1990 – 21:00
In the next episode, they’re doing the Exorcist.
Jennifer is Lynn Faulds Wood, investigating Lookee-Likeys.
Dawn plays a woman who is a Lookee-Likey of Maggie Philbin.
The real Maggie Philbin confronts her.
And then the real Lynn Faulds Wood busts them all.
Dawn had to marry a Keith Chegwin lookee-likey – it’s Ron Tarr.
Kathy Burke plays the woman who runs Lookee-likeys.
The young rappers sketch is good.
Dawn is a Hollywood expert this week.
More music from Kirsty MacColl
“Your mother’s a biology teacher in Cheshire.”
Dawn is an author discussing her book ‘Rock Stars and their Toilet Seats’ with her editor Jennifer.
She proposes a pop-up (“plop-up”) book, with her mock-up featuring Jane Asher.
The Exorcist makeup is pretty good.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th March 1990 – 21:00
Next it’s Gone with the Wind. I love the Pan & Scan joke.
I like that Dawn hasn’t blacked up. They even mention it in the dialogue.
I do like the reversal in this prison sketch
Wendy James from Transvision Vamp is on Star Test.
I love that Duane Bishop of Raw Sex is underlining programmes to watch in Radio Times. Grange Hill in this case.
Their performance of Cinderella Rockefeller features Kathy Burke on tape. That’s the second sketch she’s featured in without really appearing.
Another song from Kirsty MacColl
A lovely sketch about two housekeepers. “Did you know sugar kills you now?”
I love the ending of the titles, when Dawn breaks out into ‘It’s Raining Men’.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 5th April 1990 – 21:00
The next episode does Dangerous Liasons.
Dawn’s Tanita Tikaram looks scarily like Stephen Woolley.
The writing and Jen’s performance in this radio interview sketch are sublime.
This week, we’re not sure what kind of expert Dawn is.
Joan Bakewell presents The Late Show.
Nigel Planer makes a good Andy Warhol
Eleanor Bron also appears.
Presented without comment.
For some reason, this Birds of a Feather sketch has remained with me. “I’m finding it hard to keep my wedding vaaaaaaaaaaas”
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th April 1990 – 21:00
We’ve skipped an episode, so this next one is the last in the series. Courtney Pine plays jazz.
They’re going all in with Jane Asher now.
Another great sketch with them playing young girls. “Is he looking at me now?”
The centrepiece of this episode isn’t a movie parody, it’s Opera Classics.
Featuring Patrick Barlow as the producer, with Simon Brint as the Engineer.
Conductor Carl Davis
Dawn is Lucia Poop. “Air conditioning is our enemy.”
Jen is Renata von Trapp. “How many cats have you got now, Renata?” “Just the 32.”
Special guest soloist is Sarah Walker. She’s really funny, helped by the girls giving her some great snarky lines.
This is such a great sketch. It’s one of my all time favourites. All through it, they rehearse little bits of the music, but never enough to really guess which song they’re actually doing, until they actually do a proper take, and we realise it’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky’. And they do the whole song, and it’s just sublime. Dawn in particular was born to play a diva, and her performance in the song is a masterclass.
Jane Asher finally appears, and she isn’t happy with Dawn and Jen.
Strangely, the titles for this episode play over a reprise of ‘C’Est La Vie’ from the first episode rather than something new. I wonder if the episode was running short, or if they just couldn’t think of anything else.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th April 1990 – 21:00
After this, there’s a trailer for Video Diaries.
Then the start of 40 Minutesabout people selling their kidneys.
After a few minutes of this, that recording stops, and underneath, there’s Weatherview with Michael Fish.
The tape ends just as the Open University starts.