Clare In The Community

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More About This Title Clare In The Community


Splendidly self-obsessed social worker Clare Barker is back in the community and as entertaining as ever in the fifth series of this acclaimed BBC Radio 4 comedy. In these six episodes, Clare finally manages to make friends, has a new trainee social worker to break in and the family centre is the focus of a documentary film. An old university friend visits Clare - and has a confession to make - while at work Clare has to deal with Tibetan Singing Bowls and a team leader seeking brutal and honest feedback. Clare also hosts a garden party to get to know her new neighbours, Ray is determined to sing his folk songs, and Clare and Ben are now parents of an, as yet, unnamed child. Sally Phillips stars as Clare, with Liza Tarbuck as Helen, Alex Lowe as Brian, Richard Lumsden as Ray and Nina Conti as Megan in a further round of team meetings and eleven o’clock cakes.

3 CDs. 2 hrs 47 mins.


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


"Beautifully observed performances . . . an impressive cast and some genuinely funny writing make this a must." —The Stage"Meticulously observed comedy of modern manners." —Gillian Reynolds, the Telegraph"Sally Phillips has made the starring role her own and passes off self-obsession so cleverly that Clare sounds irresistible rather than cruel." —Jane Anderson, Radio Times