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Jennifer Saunders; Dawn French

5 of 9 portraits of Jennifer Saunders

Jennifer Saunders; Dawn French, by Trevor Leighton, 1989 - NPG x47380 - © Trevor Leighton / National Portrait Gallery, London

© Trevor Leighton / National Portrait Gallery, London

Jennifer Saunders; Dawn French

by Trevor Leighton
bromide fibre print, 1989
9 3/8 in. x 8 5/8 in. (238 mm x 219 mm)
Given by Trevor Leighton, 1994
Photographs Collection
NPG x47380

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Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Trevor Leighton (1957-), Photographer. Artist associated with 248 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

French (right, b.1957) and Saunders (b.1958) worked together in comedy clubs before breaking into television as part of the alternative Comic Strip team. Their own BBC television series, French and Saunders, was launched in 1987. With six series, it lasted for over 20 years, and French and Saunders became Britain's best-loved female comedy duo. Their individual careers include The Vicar of Dibley and Lark Rise to Candleford (Dawn French) and Absolutely Fabulous (Jennifer Saunders). In November 2008 they completed French and Saunders: Still Alive! -The Farewell Tour and in 2009 they were jointly awarded a BAFTA Fellowship.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1989back to top

Current affairs

96 people are crushed to death at the Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield. The accident took place when a swarm of Liverpool fans were all let into the stadium at once. Supporters and police had no idea that the incoming crowds were crushing people against a fence used to prevent pitch-invasions. Following the Taylor Report into the incident standing terraces and fences between fans and pitch were banned.

Art and science

Following the publication of Anglo-Indian writer Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1988, the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, announces that the book is 'blasphemous against Islam' and places a fatwah (death sentence) on Rushdie, who is forced into hiding for several years.


The Berlin Wall is dismantled, reunifying East and West Germany and symbolising the end of the Cold War. Following a decision to allow East Berliners to cross the border with valid visas, crowds swarmed the border crossings. Guards soon gave up trying to stop them, and the physical dismantlement of the wall soon began. Approximately 2,000 Chinese demonstrators are massacred in Tiananmen Square while protesting against the government.

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