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Two Fat Ladies
Two Fat Ladies
Actors: Jennifer Paterson, Clarissa Dickson Wright
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2008     12hr 11min

"An antidote to solemn cooking shows" -- The Boston Globe — "An Anglophile?s delight" -- The Boston Globe — "Go-for-the-gusto cooking style" -- The Wall Street Journal With an outsized passion for fun, Jennifer Paterson and ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jennifer Paterson, Clarissa Dickson Wright
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Cooking & Beverages, Television, Documentary
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1996
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 12hr 11min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Full-throttle DVD Release Ahead, Ladies!!
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 05/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's time to "bubble and squeak" with joy!

In the history of cooking shows, this one remains a true Iconic TV Classic. It is utterly unique and richly deserves this complete DVD series release - just as richly as the flavors that run through the dishes featured!

Part cooking show, part comedy, part travelogue, part buddy-show but ALL entertainment, fun and very, very British, Two Fat Ladies featured Clarissa Dickson-Wright and the late Jennifer Paterson, both middle-aged and overweight.

It originally ran for three seasons, from 1996 to 1998 on BBC Two. Repeats of the show also appeared on the Food Network in the US, and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia. In total, only 16 episodes were produced, but it was more than enough to propel the women into unlikely, beloved, worldwide celebrities.

The show featured the pair traveling throughout the United Kingdom on Paterson's signature Triumph Thunderbird. Wright rode in the sidecar and, appropriately, hurled hysterical a-sides down the country roads as they rode to unusual and often, historic destinations to feed large groups.

In general, wherever the ended up, they used existing kitchens to cook and often incorporated ingredients unfamiliar to American pallets, like lard and drippings, raw eggs and unpasteurized milk products. They emphasized the importance of using freshest ingredients of the very best quality, eschewing supermarkets for farms and roadside stands along the way. Interestingly, the use of these heavy, rich ingredients led to criticism by some journalists who considered them a bad influence on the British diet.

Undeterred and unabashedly outspoken, the women had a dislike of vegetarians and spoke quite disparagingly about them with humor; Patterson once said a terrine was, "Delicious, despite its vegetarian overtones." In another episode, Jennifer explained that although a dish had originally included lentils, a Colonel's maid who brought the dish back to England got rid of them. The story won cheers of support from Clarissa who said, "Hurrah! Get rid of all lentils. You've no idea how randy they make vegetarians."

Paterson and Dickson-Wright sang their own theme song during an animated opening of each show, and Paterson often burst into song during the show, once introducing Apple Pan Dowdy with a verse from an Andrews Sisters song. Both frequently quoted literature while they cooked, Dickson-Wright frequently quoting Shakespear.

Sadly, Paterson smoked heavily and, at one point, took the opportunity to go out for a cigarette while a dish cooked in the oven. Most episodes ended with her smoking and having a cocktail. In one scene, in order to keep the wind from blowing out the lighter, she opened her coat and lighted her cigarette in its shelter.

In 1998, the ladies filmed an episode at a Safari Park where Paterson asked if she could take special care of the elephants. This was the last episode she was able to shoot. The close of the show was extended and instead of its usual one-minute close, it ran five minutes. Later, she told Dickson-Wright that she was feeling unwell, and was going to see a doctor. She was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer and hospitalized immediately.

The day before she died, she asked Clarissa to bring her a tin of her favorite caviar but when Dickson-Wright arrived, Paterson had just died. She was 71. Clarissa said that after Jennifer's funeral, she ate the caviar as a tribute to her friend.

Season 1 Episodes are: Fish & Shellfish, the ladies prepare a meal at The Shark's Fin restaurant in Mevagissey, Cormwall; Meat, the ladies go to Westonbirt School in Cornwall to cook for the lacrosse team; Fruits & Vegetables, the ladies fix dinner for the priests at Westminster Cathedral (not the famous Abbey); Cakes, The ladies prepare cakes for a fait in Hallaton using a private kitchen of a friend of Clarissa's from her Women's Institute days; Game, the ladies go to Scotland to cook at Lennoxlove House in East Lothian which is owned by the 15th Duke of Hamilton; and Cooking in the Wild, the ladies go to Kielder Forest in Northumberland to cook for a Boy Scout Troop.

Season 2 Episodes are: A Cocktail Party, the ladies prepare hor d'ourvers for a cocktail party at the Brazilian Embassy in Mayfair, London; Lunch, the ladies travel to the Hesket Newmarket in the Lake District to prepare lunch for members of a classic motorcycle rally. They cook at a private residence; A Picnic, the ladies travel to Llandudo in North Wales to prepare a picnic for a men's choir; Afternoon Tea, the ladies travel to Warborough, Oxfordshire to prepare afternoon tea for a cricket match at the manor house; Breakfast, the ladies go to Masham, North Yorkshire to cook breakfast for the men at the Black Sheep Brewery (actually cooked at the old vicarage house); Dinner, the ladies travel to the Gurkhas to cook dinner for the officers; and Two Fat Ladies Christmas Special 1, filmed at Winchester Cathedral. The ladies fixed a Christmas dimmer for the choir boys.

Season 3 Episodes are: Benedictine Nuns, the ladies travel to Connemara, Ireland to cook for the benedictine nuns at Kylemore Abbey; Potatoes Galore, the ladies go to the Channel Islands to cook potato dishes; and Two Fat Ladies Christmas Special 2, A Carribean Christmas, the ladies go to Jamaica at the invitation of the local polo team. They prepare the meal at a beautiful old plantation house.

Many thanks to Acorn Media for this wonderful release!"
Wonderful Show!
Bond Fan '62 | Philadelphia, PA | 06/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a wonderful release -- I received an advance copy, and can report that this DVD set is a real treat!

Here's a disc-by-disc breakdown (all episodes are about 29 minutes long):

Disc 1 (173 min.): Fish & Shellfish, Meat, Fruits & Vegetables, Cakes, Game, Food in the Wild

Disc 2 (202 min.): Lunch, Cocktail Party, Afternoon Tea, Picnic, Breakfast, Dinner, Christmas Dinner

Disc 3 (202 min.): Benedictine Nuns, The Pony Club, The Cambridge Eight, Barristers, The Air Race, Lock Keepers, A Caribbean Christmas

Disc 4 (154 min.): Potatoes Galore, On Safari, Timber!, A Day at the Races + the Bonus Program "A Tribute to Jennnifer Paterson"

This set includes all 24 full-length episodes of Two Fat Ladies (didn't Food Network cut out several minutes to fit this show into a 30-minute slot?) plus a wonderful 38-minute special about the life of Jennifer Paterson and an 8-page booklet with eight recipes featured in the series. Five stars all the way!!"
"It's French, but only in a way..."
John Borrelli | Newtown, PA | 07/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"So said the delightful, departed Jennifer Paterson as she and her chum Clarissa whipped up a batch of vichyssoise. This is a wonderfully entertaining show, that rare cooking show where what was being made sometimes took a backseat to the antics of the show's stars. Their glee is contagious.
The Food Network edited these episodes significantly; some were seen unedited in the US on PBS. Hopefully these discs will contain full episodes. Most of what was cut turned out to be the gals bashing neighboring countries ("The only good thing the Dutch ever came up with was cocoa"). As Jennifer would say, "Never mind." We can handle it."
At last! I've been hoping for months this would be released
M. Moore | New Jersey | 05/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I cannot say how thrilled I am that this long-awaited DVD is being released in the US. The Two Fat Ladies remains my favorite cooking show of all time. The Food Network would do well to toss some of their no-name bobbleheads and bring back this excellent show.
I currently own the VHS Series 1 and 2 tapes, and bring them out at least once a year for some "comfort viewing". Clarissa and Jennifer are refreshing and funny, their show is a joy to watch.
Having made a few of their less-intimidating recipies, like Chocolate Fruit tarts, I can say that in addition to their show being hilarious and entertaining, the recipies are delicious and easy.
More importantly, Clarissa and Jennifer were frontrunners in the current movement towards less processed food and seeking out good local ingredients, rather than purchasing imported schlock from the local supermarket.
You will certainly enjoy this DVD, it's unusual, fun, and a pleasure to relax and enjoy."