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Let Them Eat Cake

Thu 23/9/99, BBC1
Audience: not reported (less than 5.72m) BARB

Let Them Eat Cake

This series, set in Versailles in eighteenth century France, is steadily improving or maybe I have lower expectations of it. Jennifer Saunders' accent still makes it difficult to understand her all the time but it looks good and Dawn French is perfect as the dirty, pipe-smoking maid Lisette. Episode three featured a cameo role for Richard E Grant as the Marquis de Sade, stealing into Columbine's boudoir each evening to stuff fruit up her backside. Meanwhile a royal painter has come to do a portrait and changes her mind about asking Columbine to pose without her wig when she sees what the mange has done to her hair. Not brilliant, but not bad either. ***

Let Them Eat Cake

Thu 9/9/99 Like many people I was looking forward to this new vehicle for the talents of French and Saunders but on first showing this sitcom set in the pre-revolution days of the Palace of Versailles is disappointing. The characters are reasonable enough - Jennifer is the Countess de Vache, whose knowledge of the court's secrets makes her the most hated woman in France, Dawn, her maid Lisette, and wig-maker and general dresser Bouffant makes up a fine comic threesome. However the laughs are less like the quality of Blackadder and more like the worst of Up Pompeii. In fact Up Versailles with Dawn French as Lurkette might have been a funnier idea... Still it has its moments... ***
Audience: 5.81m (17th) BARB

[Lily Savage's Blankety Blank - Living Proof - Manhunt - Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure]

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