Jennifer Saunders is a writer and performer who is considered by many surveys to be one of the UK’s greatest living comedians and most popular actors. Her autobiography, Bonkers: My Life in Laughs, was released in 2013 to acclaim.
Jennifer burst onto the TV comic scene with The Comic Strip Presents…. and Girls on Top, both ratings successes that helped launched many comic careers. Then came the monster hit French and Saunders. French and Saunders was created with her comedy partner and best friend Dawn French. Followed by the smash hit Absolutely Fabulous, cementing Jennifer as a household name in comedy worldwide.
In all Jennifer has written and/or appeared in dozens of TV shows, stage performances, and films since her debut. If you’re a comedy fan or even if you just own a TV then there is a good chance she’s a familiar face who has already made you laugh.
More recently Jennifer was a cast member in the Netflix British original series The Stranger. She also voiced Mymble in English dub of Moominvalley, the Finnish-British adaptation of the classic Moomin books and Finland’s most expensive TV production to date.
She wrote and starred in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, warmly received by fans as a movie length episode of Ab Fab that picked up where the show left off. You will also be able to catch her as Marie Van Schuyler in the Hollywood adaption of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, released in September 21st, 2021. Marie Van Shuyler was previously immortalised on screen by Academy Award winner Bette Davis in the 1978 film adaptation.
Some of her major motion picture voice acting highlights include the Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2 (which featured her unforgettable performance of Holding Out for a Hero), Queen Elizabeth II in the Minions movie, as well as voicing characters in the critically acclaimed Coraline and Sing.
Her award highlights include BAFTA and Writers’ Guild wins, a British Comedy Award, and the 2005 People’s Choice Award for favourite film villain in Shrek 2.
Jennifer has also narrated a number of books, as well as narrating her own biography Bonkers: My Life in Laughs. Jennifer has narrated children’s books, and a number of audio specials, including a three hour special with her equally funny and successful comedy partner Dawn French, called French & Saunders: Titting About.
Bonkers is the story of how it all came about. Or at least the bits she recalls. The rest she made up. Either way, it’s all here: the stories, the characters, Dawn, Joanna, and, playing herself throughout: Jennifer.
Jennifer Saunders’ comic creations have brought joy to millions. From Comic Strip to Comic Relief, from Bolly-swilling Edina in Ab Fab to her takes on Madonna or Mamma Mia, her characters are household names. But it’s Jennifer herself who has a place in all our hearts. This is her funny, moving and frankly bonkers memoir, filled with laughter, friends and occasional heartache – but never misery.
Bonkers is full of riotous adventures: accidentally enrolling on a teacher training course with a young Dawn French, bluffing her way to each BBC series, shooting Lulu, trading wild faxes with Joanna Lumley, touring India with Ruby Wax and Goldie Hawn. There’s cancer, too, when she becomes ‘Brave Jen’.
But her biggest battle is with the bane of her life: the Laws of Procrastination. As she admits, ‘There has never been a Plan. Everything has been fairly random, happened by accident or just fallen into place. I’m off now, to do some sweeping…’
‘Prepare to chuckle, whoop, and go BONKERS.
(audio version narrated by Jennifer Saunders)
(If a linked product is no longer in stock or not available in your region, you will be directed to the closest available match)
Locked Together (16 April 2020) | Amazon: audio
Jennifer Saunders: Audible Sessions (11 December 2018) | Amazon: audio
The Oberon Book of Comic Monologues for Women (7 July 2014) foreword by Jennifer Saunders | Amazon: paperback
Girls On Top (23 October 1986) out of print
The Comic Strip Presents… (6 October 1983) out of print
You can watch Absolutely Fabulous on DVD (subject to stock availability and region compatibility) or you can check if the series is available on your Amazon Prime Video region. UK residents with a valid TV license can watch Ab Fab on the BBC iPlayer. Some of the following old media may still be found in stock used:
Absolutely Fabulous: Four BBC TV soundtrack episodes (2 June 2016) | Amazon: audio
Absolutely Fabulous Vol 1 & 2 (1 January 2004) cd out of print
Absolutely Fabulous (5 August 2002)
Absolutely Fabulous: Continuity (1 January 2002) out of print | Amazon: hardcover
Absolutely Fabulous – Complete Series 1 (13 March 2001) | Amazon: video
Absolutely Fabulous: “Death” and “Happy New Year” No.2 (1 February 1999) BBC, CD out of print
Absolutely Fabulous 2 (1 September 1996) out of print | Amazon: paperback
Absolutely Fabulous: The Complete Original Six Episodes (1 June 1995)
Absolutely Fabulous 2: The Scripts (20 October 1994) out of print | Amazon: hardcover
Absolutely Fabulous: The Scripts (23 September 1993) out of print | Amazon: hardcover
The Wind in the Willows (8 December 2020) | Amazon: audio
Jen the cover girl. Jennifer Saunders is one of the most recognisable British actors in the biz, thanks in no small part to appearing on countless magazine covers throughout her career. Here is a selection of headlines that accompanied just some of her full page cover photos:
‘JENNIFER SAUNDERS, SERIOUSLY: How the queen of comedy is reinventing herself at 61’
You magazine (January 2020)
‘THE 20 GREATEST SITCOMS: Including Ab Fab, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Only Feels and Horses… Did your favourite make the list?’
Radio Times (13 April 2019)
‘Ab Fab? So long, Sweeties! Exclusive Jennifer Saunders reveals the party is finally over for Eddy and Patsy’
Event (27 November 2016)
‘Jennifer Saunders: Turning 60 can’t be that bad?’
Choice Magazine (October 2016)
‘SWEETIE: AB FAB IS BACK’
Out Magazine (1 August 2016)
‘Beyond fabulous: Why Jennifer Saunders is still having a laugh’
Guardian magazine (June 2016)
‘The most bonkers Bake Off ever!: Jennifer Saunders, Dame Edna and Lulu get their whisks out for a hilarious celebrity special’
Daily Mail Weekend (7 February 2015)
‘STILL AB FAB?: Jennifer Saunders on fast cars, cancer and life after Edina’
The Times Magazine (28 September 2013)
‘REAL ME: JENNIFER SAUNDERS: On tough times, new friendship, and girl power!’
Women & Home (November 2012)
‘INTERVIEW: GRIN AND BEAR IT: How Jennifer Saunders laughed her way through chemotherapy’
Seven magazine (18 November 2012)
‘EDINA & PATSY: BACK FOR A FABULOUS CAUSE’
Saturday Express (17 March 2012)
‘REAL US: Freya & Saunders: The mother & daughter double act’
Women & Home (February 2008)
‘FRENCH AND SAUNDERS: Our 20 fabulous years together’
Good Housekeeping (September 2007)
‘HARRY POTTER: as you’ve certainly never seen him before!: INSIDE: Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Miranda Richardson’
Radio Times (8 March 2003)
‘EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ab Fab Gab: Absolutely Fabulous stars Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on Edina’s secret sex life, the missing episodes, Patsy’s penis, and why all their friends are gay’
The Advocate (20 November 2001)
‘AB FAB: The brains behind the bubbly: Jennifer Saunders on writing the new series: Fridays BBC1’
Radio Times (25 August 2001)
‘The two of us: French and Saunders and Vic and Bob on the art of the double act’
Radio Times (1 May 1999)
‘EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ab Fab Gab: Absolutely Fabulous stars Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on Edina’s sex life, the missing episodes, Patsy’s penis, and why all their friends are gay’
The Advocate (16 April 1996)
‘THEY’RE BACK, SWEETIE! THURSDAYS BBC1’
Radio Times (25 March 1995)
‘JINGLE BELLS: French and Saunders present our giant Christmas double issue’
Timed Out (15 December 1993)
Not to be confused with…
Jen the poet from German-speaking Switzerland. This Jennifer Saunders wrote Self-Portrait with Housewife, a collection of poems that won the 2017 Clockwise Chapbook Competition. Find out more about this Jen on her own website.
There are at least a few scientists who are also named Jennifer Saunders. You can find some of their published research on Google Scholar.
The “French and Saunders” series broadcast rights are owned by the BBC. JenniferSaunders.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program where Amazon will pay us a commission for linking to products on Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Publishing rights for Bonkers: My Life in Laughs are owned by Penguin Books.