Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Austen?

5.0/5

Critic Rating

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders star as respected novelist Florence and movie star Selina, in a sparkling comedy series about two sisters at war, by Veep writer David Quantick - with another chance to hear the first programme, before the new episodes are broadcast from next week. Florence Ransom (Dawn French) is a literary novelist, known for the Booker Prize winning Pennant Days. Her sister is Selina Mountjoy (Jennifer Saunders), a movie star and glamorous celebrity. The two sisters have avoided each other for decades, but when Selina returns to Britain to promote her kiss and tell autobiography, the two are forced together once more. As Selina’s popularity outweighs Florence’s, with big bucks book deals and TV appearances, Florence vents her jealousy at her daughter Lucy and PA Mrs Ragnarrok. But Selina turns out to be broke and threatens to reveal her sister’s guilty secret unless Florence lets Selina move in with her… “The leads’ natural chemistry, plus David Quantick’s witty script… make for an enjoyable comedy with series potential” The Observer “It’s as slick, dark and funny as one would expect – but surely this cannot be a one-off? The ending alone leaves us begging for a series” Radio Times “French and Saunders sparkle with a magic that is so rarely heard in new radio comedies that I’d almost forgotten it was possible” Daily Telegraph Cast: Florence - Dawn French Selina - Jennifer Saunders Mrs Ragnarrok - Josette Simon Lucy - Lisa McGrillis All the men - Alistair McGowan Written by David Quantick Producer: Liz Anstee, A CPL production for BBC Radio 4


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Patricia Nicol • The Times UK Apr 10, 2022

"...this Radio 4 sitcom about two warring sisters feels like a future classic. This has much to do with the honed chemistry between national treasure double-act Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, but also writer David Quantick’s hyperbolically loopy lines (his other hits include Veep). There is terrific support from Alistair McGowan and Josette Simon."

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Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Apr 9, 2022

"A big slice of jolliness...is half an hour of cheery silliness, with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders doing their French and Saunders thing while playing two warring sisters...the characters are sharply enough drawn to be understood within a couple of minutes. David Quantick’s smooth, swift script is peppered with jokes, old and new....There’s something almost old-fashioned about a radio show packed with so many gags. Also, French and Saunders are clearly enjoying themselves. Lovely stuff."

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Score: 5

Charlotte Runcie • Telegraph UK Jan 6, 2021

"...if the Radio 4 commissioning mavens are reading, be made into a full series soonest poss, please. French and Saunders sparkle with a magic that is so rarely heard in new radio comedies that I’d almost forgotten it was possible."

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