As revealed by British Comedy Guide earlier in the month, the duo are set to film a new one-off special to be broadcast as part of the BBC One Christmas schedule.
Publicly confirming the commission today, the BBC explain: “Reuniting for their first show in 10 years, the huge comedy talents that brought the world Absolutely Fabulous and The Vicar Of Dibley are coming back to a screen near you to celebrate 30 years of French & Saunders.
“Dawn and Jennifer promise to be the uproarious and madcap twosome that they have been since 1987 with a show bursting with greatest hits, hilarious rarities, and even some brand new material.”
Jennifer Saunders comments: “We have almost deliberately stayed alive this long just to force the British Broadcorping Castration to put us on television one last time.”
Dawn French says: “We’ve got our lucky pants on and we’re ready to get funny…”
BBC comedy commissioner Shane Allen comments: “French & Saunders are the godmothers of modern female comedy performers and one of the most beloved comedy double acts this country has ever produced. This will be a special treat for all comedy fans and we look forward to seeing what will get their glorious spoof treatment this Christmas.”
Jon Plowman, who will act as Executive Producer on the new show and has worked with both the stars on a number of their previous projects, adds: “To be honest I wouldn’t have a career without them so it’s terrific that they’re back together for this show of old, gold and new stuff. They are two of the greats and it’s good that they’ve finally found each other’s phone numbers for the first time in a while.”
French & Saunders last appeared on stage together in June to pick up an Aardman Slapstick Comedy Legend Award; meanwhile their most recent comedy performance together was in March, when they spoofed Carpool Karaoke as part of the Comic Relief live TV broadcast.
Further details are still being kept under wraps, however in a newspaper interview at the weekend Dawn French teased: “There’s some Handmaid’s Tale in there – we had fun with some of those costumes.”
The new special is due to be recorded at BBC Television Centre in front of a studio audience later this autumn, with the programme to be broadcast on BBC One at Christmas.