TV Cream

TV: H is for...

Happy Families

FORGOTTEN INHERITANCECOM with JENNIFER SAUNDERS as ageing dame sending ADRIAN EDMONDSON off around the world to locate six female sisters (JENNIFER SAUNDERS). Inevitably DAWN FRENCH, STEPHEN FRY, HELEN LEDERER and JIM BROADBENT turned up en route. Equally inevitably, a BEN ELTON script.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

    “Alternative comedians not being funny” – that just about says it all.

  2. Richard Davies

    November 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    It cost a lot to make, which was handy when the BBC were planning the next year’s budget & needed a more expensive than normal sitcom to make, just as Grant Naylor were trying to get Red Dwarf commissioned..

  3. THX 1139

    October 5, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    It’s been too long ago to remember any of the jokes, but I remember being put off by how nasty it all was. The whole tone was very downbeat and mean. As mentioned, it seems to have been almost completely forgotten – more people recall Girls on Top than this.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 5, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    French and Saunders couldn’t quite get the right material until they got their own sketch show on BBC One and when they scored massive hits on their own with Ab Fab and The Vicar Of Dibley, the latter being the sort of safe sitcom Dawn French would have railed against ten years earlier. It helped both sitcoms were hilarious at times and quite far from the alternative early eighties scene in tone.

    • Richardpd

      October 5, 2021 at 10:09 pm

      I remember it took me a while to get used to get into The Vicar Of Dibley, as at first it seemed too twee & simple, but after watching it again on a repeat it clicked with me.

      By contrast I got Ab Fab right away, probably because it was quite radical & different at the time, as well as occurring when supermodels & late 1960s nostalgia were in the zeitgeist.

  5. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 5, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Has this ever been repeated? It was very odd, far more so than you’d expect from its Comic Strip provenance. Fry and Laurie were briefly in it, and French was the cook, and badly underused – whole thing was really a vehicle for Jennifer Saunders, who found a much better one ten years later. Although hard to believe, Helen Lederer was the funniest in the cast as the dopey maid. Not the worst thing Ben Elton has even written of course, but he’s allowed a few misfires to balance out the peerless Blackadder.

  6. Droogie

    October 5, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    I watched it as a Young Ones fan ( and all 4 Young Ones appear in various roles – Rik Mayall is s great as a pervy French priest.) But it was disappointingly bad. They were trying to have Jennifer Saunders as Alec Guiness in Kind Hearts & Coronets, but she didn’t have the range.

  7. Richardpd

    October 6, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Each part was shot in a different style, including American soap, French art film, Gritty documentary, & Ealing comedy.

  8. Tom Ronson

    October 27, 2022 at 12:57 am

    Ploughed through the lot of it during the first Covid-19 lockdown, and dear God, what a strange, desolate beast it is. Not entirely without laughs (the old lady trying to sell Guy Fuddle a girlie magazine) but rather poorly acted from start to finish, with some pretty unsavoury elements that definitely wouldn’t fly nowadays. Presumably the repeated use of Elton John’s Song for Guy is the stumbling block that’s preventing it from being commercially released or repeated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top