Dawn French says 'cheap' shows like 'Love Island' are killing new comedy

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Dawn French during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. Picture date: Thursday Octboer 15, 2020. Photo credit should read: PA Media on behalf of So TV
Dawn French thinks 'cheap' shows are getting in the way of comedy. (PA Media/So TV)

Dawn French has said that "cheap" reality programmes like Love Island are being made at the expense of comedy.

The French And Saunders star, 64, said shows like the much-loved dating series don’t cost too much and provide hours of entertainment for viewers.

She suggested it means that TV bosses don’t need to dig deep or look elsewhere for new material.

The Sun quoted her as saying: “We live in the world of reality TV where it’s so cheap that even if you take everyone to Love Island, the people are costing you nothing.

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“You’ve got hours and hours of telly and all you’re really having to pay for is the technicians. A couple of houses and your cameras and your crew.

"Why would you spend money on comedy?”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06:  Dawn French (L) and Jennifer Saunders attend the Glamour Women of The Year Awards 2017 in Berkeley Square Gardens on June 6, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
French And Saunders was a big hit. (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

French and her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders' sketch series French And Saunders originally aired from 1987 to 1993 and was a huge hit.

But the Vicar Of Dibley star said she doesn't think it would get off the ground today.

She said: "We would go to them and say we want to do some characters, we need you to build a dentist office, prosthetics that cost £3k each and I don’t know quite what we’re going to do when we’re in the prosthetics.”

Saunders has previously been quoted as saying that she thought there was more of a demand for "populist" programmes these days.

Read more: Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders reunite for Funny Women comedy special

"They are not making the kind of comedy we used to do - what they want now is populist programmes because there isn't the budget to try the more ambitious things we were doing," she said in 2008.

Watch: Dawn French reveals she and Lenny Henry received racist abuse during their marriage