most distressing year and a half that I‘ve had because of it.’ When fans bring it for her to sign. she simply refuses. 'I feel sorry for them that they‘ve paid for it. I feel like she s

pimping off me. You see people that come to your show and changing.‘ she says. uncertainly. ‘It'll be about something.‘ thev think it is sanctioned by you. She is earning this money For now. though. the concentration is on their tour. which so disreputably. It's like a sort of rape. The rape is notjust of takes in Glasgow and Edinburgh before a lengthy run at you - I'm tough enough but talking about my daughter and I , London’s Hammersmith Apollo. ‘Our last tour started in my family who I protect at all times because they're not in 5 been Glasgow and we were absolutely cacking it.‘ says Dawn. ‘1 the business . . . They've all been very upset: I wish she the most felt quite overwhelmed by it. I thought they‘d hate us.’ could know how upset. She‘s got children. she should know t _ 'We thought they'di actually better.’ IS I'ESSII‘I buy tickets to come an ate

So it‘ll be your turn next. I suggest to Jennifer. ‘I don't ear and 3 us.’ laughs Jennifer. think anyone has any particular interest.’ she laughs. hugging y ‘It was only when a roar her legs tip tight on the armchair opposite. while Dawn went out at the beginning screws her face Up at her partner's modesty. ‘l’ve escaped I've had 1 before we'd got on stage that. luckily. They've always had an unhealthy fascination ' that I thought. "Oh. they with Dawn and Len. because he's black and it's a mixed Dawn French like us"!’ says Dawn. marriage. It’s a dubious interest.’ 'We had such a

‘She‘s got a very hard attitude.‘ continues Dawn about her cracking night biographer. 'I think she might be thin. I don't know her. but that it was hard she’s got a real hang-up about food. She just goes on about to live up to me being obsessed by food. Am 1 obsessed by food'." after that.’

Is she obsessed by food‘.’

'I wouldn’t say she was obsessed by food.. says Jennifer. ‘I think I'm probably more obsessed by food. actually.‘

When they order their post-show meal. Dawn asks for a plate of vegetables.

So what of the show. their first live dates in ten years‘.’ Their ambitions. it transpires. were not stoked by the wave of comedians who have emerged in their post- Comedy Store wake Dawn will admit to no more than “healthy jealousy" watching Caroline Aherne. and Jennifer says she watches comedy just like any other punter but by going to a pop concert. ‘We took our daughters to see Steps.‘ says Jennifer to a peal of laughter from Dawn. ‘I thought. bloody hell. you might not

. ., a V like the music. bttt boy did they put some effort in. At no point was I actually bored. They kept busy. the carnival thing at the beginning. explosions. different costumes. And that's when we started to think we've got to make it bigger. We have Steps for our inspiration! We‘re the Steps of the comedy


Normally their domestic life has less influence on their professional activity. though there's no predicting when the demands on the I, working mum are going to strike. ‘1 got a text :g' / message at five to eight on opening night.‘

i" laughs Jennifer. ‘lt was from my daughter saying. “Where's the sticky backed plastic. we ’1 can’t find it"!'

. ‘She got straight on the phone.’ chips in Dawn. "'lt‘s in the yellow cupboard. downstairs".'

Still. you never know when such moments will lead to something bigger. ‘My youngest daughter went through a bad tantrum stage when she was very tinyf says Jennifer. 'She used to have the most fantastic tantrums and I used them for Edina in Absolutely Fabulous throwing herself on the floor.‘

Next in line for Dawn is a comedy drama series with Stephen Tompkinson and the possibility of playing Bottom in a production of Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night's Dream by Adventures In Motion

French and Saunders - Live in 2000, Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 24 8: Wed 25 Oct; Clyde Auditorium, SECC, Glasgow, Fri 27 8: Sat 28 Oct.

Pictures. Jennifer. meanwhile. is developing a new comedy Dawn FrenChiThe Biography series called errorball due to film in March and reuniting (Headline) {17-99-

the Absolutely Fabulous cast. ‘l've done the pilot and it's all