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.

Next new episode is on Tuesday at 6:30pm. Series 12, Episode 6
Catch-up on Episode 5 on BBC Sounds   Series 12, Episode 4 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra today at 5:30am.

Press Clippings

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 Awards 2016 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 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

Sally Phillips plays Clare, self-absorbed social worker and new mother in the latest series of the sitcom by Harry Venning and David Ramsden. In their meticulously observed comedy of modern manners, Liza Tarbuck plays best friend Helen, Alex Lowe is Brian, the proud new father, whose best mate is Simon (Andrew Wincott), Helen's ex-husband. Nina Conti retains her role of put-upon Megan and doubles up as Nali, the au pair (not nearly as put-upon as she at first seems). Meanwhile, is this baby to be called Mandela, Mahatma or Thomas Paine?

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 18th February 2009

In a week in which Dawn French began her so far failed attempt to show that her comedic skills can embrace radio as well as TV, Sally Phillips' turn as the social worker who is just not a people person edged ever closer to classic comedy monster status.

Chris Campling, The Times, 4th November 2005

Clare in the Community wins Sony award

Clare in the Community, the comedy series on Radio 4, has won a Bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for Comedy.

Alistair Smith, The Stage, 10th May 2005