Clare In The Community. Copyright: BBC.

Clare In The Community

BBC Radio 4 sitcom about a social worker. 73 episodes (12 series), 2004 - 2019. Stars Sally Phillips, Alex Lowe, Nina Conti, Richard Lumsden and others.

Press Clippings

The Guardian axes Clare In The Community

The Guardian has axed its Clare In The Community cartoon, which also spawned a long-running Radio 4 comedy, after almost 25 years. Created by Harry Venning, the strip about a well-meaning social worker has fallen victim to major cuts at the newspaper, which is expecting a £25million hit because of coronavirus.

Chortle, 19th August 2020

Clare In The Community highlights book to be published

Writer and illustrator Harry Venning is to publish The Clare In The Community Collection, a book celebrating twenty five years of his Guardian cartoon strip.

British Comedy Guide, 11th August 2020

Comedy.co.uk Awards 2019 shortlist

60 TV and radio programmes have been shortlisted across 10 categories for the Comedy.co.uk Awards 2019. Voting is now open to determine the winners.

British Comedy Guide, 13th January 2020

The 20 funniest radio comedies of all time

Before Radio 1's first run of new shows kicks off next month, here we count down the 20 greatest scripted radio comedies ever to hit the airwaves

Ben Lawrence, Tristram Fane Saunders & Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 25th January 2018

Comedy.co.uk Awards 2016 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the Comedy.co.uk Awards 2016 have been revealed. 60 shows are in the running for the Comedy Of The Year title. Voting is now open.

British Comedy Guide, 16th January 2017

Radio Times review

Series nine of what must be Radio 4's longest-currently-running sitcom begins with Clare (the superb Sally Phillips) arriving late for a meeting with her fellow social workers at Sparrowhawk Family Centre. Which is rather odd, as she's supposed to be on honeymoon at the time.

She's remaining tight-lipped as to why she left her long-suffering partner Brian (Alex Lowe) at the airport while he enjoyed a nibbling-fish foot spa. But as he decided to continue on the holiday - it is full board and non-refundable, so it's a shame to waste it - we get to hear his side of the story when numbs the minds of his fellow holiday-makers and locals with the details.

It provides a complementary storyline to the travails of the social workers back home, and includes a hilarious turn from Nina Conti as a shrill holiday rep intent only on relaying information about a series of increasingly bizarre day trips.

Meanwhile, Clare is having to contend with an elderly Mrs Magoo character on the Sparrowhawk Estate, who is convinced that she will die that day - as her visual sight has diminished so her second sight has improved, apparently. Hannah Gordon is virtually unrecognisable as the batty old dear.

If you haven't listened before - and if not, where have you been for the past ten years? - Clare in the Community walks a fine line between silly, scatological humour and nuanced satire of government do-gooders who know all the current jargon but nothing of people's everyday concerns.

David Crawford, Radio Times, 8th January 2014

Clare in the Community is back and - eek! - it opens with a body. Have Harry Venning and David Ramsden turned our favourite social worker into Miss Marple? The corpse turns out to be one of the many furry animals in Clare's household named after husband Brian. I shall return to the series, but this is a brilliant opener.

Moira Petty, The Stage, 4th January 2013

Also recommended is the return of Clare in the Community, written by David Ramsden and Harry Venning. In the first part of the latest series we found out how Clare (Sally Phillips) was coping with motherhood, or at least how the au pair was managing. Names were also an issue - should the baby be called Thomas or Obama, and what was that woman at the family centre called who had given 20 years' dedicated service? Beautifully observed performances from an impressive cast and some genuinely funny writing make this a must.

Lisa Martland, The Stage, 2nd March 2009

Harry Venning and David Ramsden's Clare In the Community is a lesson in how to return, series after series, with freshly reworked comic material. Sally Phillips' social worker Clare has become the mother of little Thomas Paine (after the social reformer, following a flirtation with the name Mahatma). Her world view has become more excruciating than ever, ramping up the comedy to heady heights.

Moira Petty, The Stage, 23rd February 2009

Another year has passed and Clare In The Community returns for its fifth series. When we last met her, Clare - the antithesis to Carol Thatcher when it comes to political correctness - had an extra burden to add to the weight of her disappointment at being a white, middle-class and straight social worker. She was pregnant with her long-term partner Brian's child.

Now the baby has arrived she's determined not to be stereotyped into doing predictable things such as feeding it, bathing it or holding it. Enter an East European live-in au pair who adds a great flavour to the abusive sarcasm in Brian and Clare's home. 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, 18th February 2009