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Clare In The Community [Audio]
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Like plenty before her, social worker Clare Barker has entered a caring profession so that she can sort out other people's problems rather than deal with her own. A control freak, Clare likes nothing interfering in other people's lives on both a professional and personal basis, while at the same time finding it a trial having to put up with tiresome members of the public. Politically correct, humourless and prone to jargon, she is entirely lacking in self-awareness, making her encounters with colleagues, family and her partner Brian wonderfully entertaining and richly comic. In these six episodes, Clare babysits a friend's child, loses sleep due to the upstairs neighbours' noisy sex life, and calls round to her colleague Ray's house unannounced - only to be shocked by what she finds. She also attends a hated client's funeral (to get the afternoon off work), takes driving lessons from her partner Brian, and organises a works outing to see a performance of Brian's play. Adapted from the long-running cartoon strip in the Guardian, this hit radio sitcom won a Sony Bronze Award, and stars Sally Phillips, Alex Lowe, Gemma Craven and Nina Conti. `wildly funny' - Sunday Times, `Culture' magazine. 3 CDs. 2 hrs 48 mins.
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Promotional Information

Sally Phillips stars as Clare in the first series of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 comedy.

About the Author

Harry Venning (Author) 'Clare in the Community began as a strip cartoon in the social work magazine Care Weekly. Six weeks later Care Weekly ceased publication, but no link was ever established between the two events. After this less than auspicious start she transferred to The Guardian, where she has been ever since. In 2004 Clare made the leap from a printed page to the airwaves of Radio 4 as a sitcom, which demanded her character be fleshed out considerably. We decided that she should be white, middle class and heterosexual - all of which are causes of discomfort to her - and that her obsessive involvement in other people's lives was the way she avoided addressing the problems of her own. At first we had a bit of a dilemma regarding Clare's professional competence. Although we were keen to avoid joining in with the national pastime of denigrating social workers, as popularised by certain right-leaning newspapers, Clare was funnier the more insensitive, oblivious, self-absorbed and generally useless she was. Ultimately, we went for the funny option and so far no social workers have complained of misrepresentation. In fact, quite the opposite. Social workers often compliment us on how accurate the shows are, and are surprised that we have no background in the profession. This is particularly flattering, since we have always prided ourselves on writing the shows from a position of profound ignorance. We have our moles on the inside who feed us workplace jargon and steer us away from glaring inaccuracies, but apart from that we have studiously avoided any kind of research. First, because for the show to have mass appeal it has to be accessible to an audience without any specialist knowledge, and secondly because we are too lazy. People often think it's the actors who make comedies funny, but it isn't. It's the writing. Having said that, Clare in the Community has been particularly lucky in its cast. So, grudging thanks to them. And since we're thanking people we really should mention our infinitely patient, endlessly resourceful, multi-talented producer Katie Tyrell.' Harry Venning & David Ramsden, writers of Clare in the Community, June 2007

Reviews

"with this adaptation of Harry Venning's Guardian cartoon about a social worker, Radio 4's found a really funny sitcom." -- Camilla Redmond * The Guardian * "`...the sharpest script I've heard for years'" -- Sue Arnold * The Observer *

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