Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders take home A’s again for Comic Relief when they can’t resist sketching The Repair Shop
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When it comes to guest stars, the French legend and Saunders certainly know how to hit an A-list. They’ve gotten to know Hugh Grant, released a single with Bananarama and even Mamma Mia!
But for this year’s Red Nose Day, it wasn’t their alternate selves that The Extras, who first drew Dame Judi Dench into their sketches. That’s Jay Blades of the Repair Shop.
Because while Dame Judi looks desperate to be rescued in our exclusive sneak peak, it’s actually Jay who needs to be saved from her, or so Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will get us all trust.
In fact, all three were so enamored with 52-year-old Jay and his tools that they had little trouble shooting a Comic Relief sketch.
Speaking on set, ahead of tonight’s Red Nose Day telethon, Dawn said: “The reason why we’re not focused, is because we’re in love. In fact, everyone cares about everyone.
“Then we also brought our friend Judi in. You’ll have to rescue Jay Blades at the end of the day from Judi’s clutches, and then we’ll be next in line! ”
Jennifer added: “And she’s a huge fan – The Dame Judi. ‘Oh, he stole my beating heart’ was what she said “.”
For what it’s worth, Jay is also a fan of the 87-year-old Oscar winner. “Look who I am so happy to work with,” he later tweeted. “Still can’t believe it.”
Jennifer, 63, and Dawn, 64, have been imagining a sketch since first seeing the surprise primetime hit.
And it helps that they’re both huge fans.
“When Dawn and I were young, there were a lot of shows around to get rid of or get in or pretend to be in,” says Jennifer.
“But when I watch The Repair Shop, all I can see is that our characters will [with something]or me and Dawn, pretending to mend something. “
In fact, they were so excited, the sketch took only “two seconds” to write.
Dame Judi, meanwhile, took the opportunity to bring in a few broken items to give to the repairman.
Dawn shared: “I also started looking around the house to find things. Then I thought, this is like the hairdresser friends, the people that people expect to trim their hair. But that’s a big temptation! ”
She added: “Do you know what I want them to fix? My knee joint hurts! Maybe I should talk to Dom [the show’s restoration expert Dominic Chinea] about that.”
For Jennifer, the show is so calming, she uses it to relieve stress.
“There is something strangely meditative about it,” she said. “I think honestly, I could watch that man do this little thing, with that little little thing and those little glasses and tiny strings, forever.”
Dawn adds: “I think it’s because we live in a society where we want everything to work at once.
“We have no patience. We throw everything away. And this performance shows a little bit of calm, quiet, care, consideration, patience. ”
Calm, quiet and patient won’t be the words on the minds of the repairmen tonight as the alter egos of the French and Saunders bring mayhem to the warehouse.
They have been key figures in Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day fundraiser since the first in 1988, three years after Sir Richard Curtis and Dawn’s husband Sir Lenny Henry founded the charity.
These days, the couple is keen to bring laughter – especially to a world in need.
Dawn, now husband Mark Brignall, is a therapist for addicts in recovery, explaining: “I know my husband’s social care job is against the wall. So the more we do to promote and support, the better.”
And while they’ll have to wait until tonight to see the donations arrive, at least know they’ve put a smile on a certain Dame’s face.
* Red Nose Day, BBC1, 7pm, Friday. To learn more about donating, visit donate.comicrelief.com.
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/french-saunders-set-save-repair-26496710 France and Saunders 'set up to save The Repair Workshop's Jay Blades from Dame Judi Dench'