He’s a botanist at a local garden centre. She’s a food technology teacher. The he is Alfred Molina and the she is Dawn French. The two star in the newest addition to the BBC Two british comedy line-up beginning this coming Friday titled Roger and Val Have Just Got In. It’s not “laugh out loud funny” like The Vicar of Dibley and that’s a good thing, we were recently told by Dawn French. You could immediately see how jazzed she was about her new venture. Not only is there no laugh track and no music, per se, but the series is set in real time and focuses on the couple’s first thirty minutes together after returning home from work each day. After you begin to see the relationship unfold and the true bond between Roger and Val, you start to understand just how many different levels the series works on and realize just how challenging and different this series is from mainstream comedy output today.
One of the most interesting things Dawn mentioned in our interview a couple of weeks ago came during a discussion about female comedy writers in the U.K., or the lack thereof. When discussing with us the state of British comedy and the writers, the notion that most of the current female comedy writers in the U.K. such as Catherine Tate, Jennifer Saunders and herself tend to write comedy with themselves in mind for a vehicle that they star in such as The Catherine Tate Show, Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders.
Dawn discussed her most recent project where she went to Emma and Beth Kilcoyne, twin sisters who had previously written Dogtown for BBC Three. After seeing the series, she immediately asked them to create a show for her with the result being Roger and Val. Commenting that it usually takes England about 4,000 years to make a change in anything, she’s doing her best to speed up that process a bit when it comes to increasing the output of female comedy writers in the U.K., a change that can’t come soon enough.
It will probably be a bit before Roger and Val make it to the U.S. And, unfortunately, any video that exists on the internets, at this point, is unavailable unless you’re in earshot of BBC Two. I’ll see what I can dig up if there is interest out there in seeing a quick clip.