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Clare in the Community
"I never wanted to make a comic strip about social work," says Clare in the Community's creator, Harry Venning.
"I was asked to draw the strip for a magazine in 1995, but six weeks later the publication disappeared and the strip was picked up by the Guardian newspaper."
Running regularly in the publication since then, the strip, which Venning says is "really about office politics and relationships" has garnered a huge following.
It details the exploits of the eponymous character, a social worker who adores getting to grips with other people's problems, while ignoring her own.
Something of a control freak, Clare's a 1980s hangover from the 'right on' era, who's painfully aware of her own status as white, middle class and heterosexual.
The premise seemed ripe for a transfer to TV sitcom, and in 2002 Venning teamed up with teacher and freelance writer David Ramsden to script a pilot episode for Tiger Aspect. Despite boasting Julia Sawalha in the title role, the BBC decided not to pick it up for a full series.
Then, in 2004, the duo collaborated on an adaptation for BBC Radio Four. Starring Sally Phillips, the show proved an instant success and after its first year on air, picked up a prestigious Sony award. The judges said the series sported a 'completely engaging narrative, beautifully observed characters and lots of very funny material.'
Since then, the show, which also stars Nina Conti, Gemma Craven, Alex Lowe, Richard Lumsden, Ellen Thomas and Andrew Wincott has continued to woo critics.
In December 2006, The Times wrote: 'Three series in, and the quality of the sitcom that asks us to laugh at some of the most uncaring, deluded and frankly barking social workers outside the Ninth Circle of Hell remains as high as ever."
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