Culture Wikia

<templatestyles src="Module:Infobox/styles.css"></templatestyles>

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle
File:The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle logo.png
Opening titles
Created byJennifer Saunders
Tanya Byron
StarringJennifer Saunders as Vivienne Vyle
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Executive producerJon Plowman
Running time30 minutes
Original networkBBC Two
Original release4 October –
8 November 2007

Lua error in Module:Television_infoboxes_disambiguation_check at line 246: attempt to call local 'match' (a nil value).

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle is a British sitcom that was originally aired on BBC 2 in 2007. The programme was written and created by Jennifer Saunders and Tanya Byron.[1] The show stars Saunders as the title character of the talk show host, a controversial caricature of Jeremy Kyle and other talk show hosts.

Background and content[]

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle is described as a black comedy[2][3] and a show-within-a-show, following both the on-screen and off-screen life of fictional TV host Vivienne Vyle, played by Jennifer Saunders. The programme follows the life of Vyle as she tries to balance her newly ascendant fame with her personal life. The BBC described the show as "Ab Fab meets The Larry Sanders Show with quite a bit of Ricki Lake and Oprah thrown in".[4]

In a similar vein to confessional-style shows such as The Jerry Springer Show and Trisha, Vyle's show has episodes dedicated to raunchy and sensationalistic themes such as "My son calls the wrong man daddy" and "I want a vagina but can't kick the crack!".[5] Vyle's name is a spoof on Jeremy Kyle, whose mannerisms and style of show are both parodied by Saunders' portrayal of Vyle.

The series is co-written with psychologist Tanya Byron, who originally came up with the idea and approached Saunders. Producer Jo Sargent stated: "She presented the idea for a comedy on the subject to Saunders, the aim being a black comedy with pop psychology at the root".[4]


The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle revolves around Vivienne Vyle, a former weather presenter and presenter on TV-am, who now has her own talk show. Desperate for success, she is encouraged by the show's ambitious producer Helena De'Wend, who also owns her own production company. Helena is always trying to improve ratings, and her child only speaks Spanish as the nanny spends more time with him than with his mother.[6] Vivienne's husband is Jared, who is gay and loves karaoke. Her PR adviser is the transsexual Miriam, for whom Jared has an intense dislike. Vivienne's main rival is Chris Connor, who unlike Vyle has a good rapport with his audience.

The Vivienne Vyle Show's new psychotherapist is Dr. Jonathan Fowler, who constantly protests that many of the show's guests are too mentally unstable to appear on the show. The floor manager is the organised Carol and the director is Des. Abigail is the runner and Damien the researcher, who also builds up tension with the guests before they appear on the show.


The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle has received a generally unfavourable reception by critics. The New York Times wrote: "You might even tear up. But it still would have been better to leave us laughing."[7] Variety wrote that "the intentionally awkward moments are just that, failing to generate any appreciable laughs."[8] PopMatters wrote: "this, for the most part, is anything but uplifting. Not that the first five episodes aren't worth watching (they are, but it's not for light laughs), but it's a shame it took until the last one of this series [...] to find its comic stride."[9] The Guardian wrote: "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle may be topical but it isn't clever, funny or entertaining",[10] before another author from the same publication countered this opinion, writing, "The viewers and critics are wrong."[11]


  • Jennifer Saunders - Vivienne Vyle
  • Miranda Richardson - Helena De'Wend
  • Conleth Hill - Jared
  • Jason Watkins - Dr Jonathan Fowler
  • Antonia Campbell-Hughes - Abigail Wilson
  • Helen Griffin - Carol
  • Dave Lamb - Des
  • Lawry Lewin - Damien
  • Christopher Ryan - Miriam
  • Rochelle Gadd - Dionne
  • Brian Conley - Chris Connor


Series One (2007)[]

# Airdate Overview Viewers
4 October 2007
When Vivienne reveals on her show that a man is not the father of his former girlfriend's child, he attacks her and in the ensuing brawl a security guard falls on her. She then ends up in hospital and is on the verge of a mental breakdown. In her absence Fern Britton replaces her as the host of The Vivienne Vyle Show, while Helena sacks runner Abigail only for Vivienne to re-instate her.
1.8 million [12]
11 October 2007
Vivienne decides she needs to revive her show, and attempts to copy the style of her rival Chris Connor by speaking to the audience. However, none of the audience talk to her. Vivienne then has a meeting to discuss the show's image with two promotion experts, Joshua and Rose. After little success at the meeting, she sacks them and seeks the advice of Miriam. Following her advice, she makes a personal appearance at a cash and carry in Slough.
1.3 million [13]
18 October 2007
Vivienne and Jared argue in the morning over the plumbing and she then goes off for an interview with a tabloid journalist who calls her a "one-trick pony" and Jared a "kept man". Vivienne goes to work and then on to a production meeting. Helena throws her mobile phone at Carol while Jonathan is after his own show. When she gets home, Jared has failed to fix the plumbing.
900,000 [14]
25 October 2007
Vivienne's programme is nominated for the publicly voted TV Pick Award for "Best Daytime Talk Show". As the show is up for an award, they allow GMTV presenter Lynn Faulds Wood to film behind the scenes on a "catch-up" show. On the way to the awards ceremony, Vivienne discovers her football team are playing and so she and Jared go to watch them play instead. During the match, the awards ceremony is shown live and Vivienne wins the award. Fern Britton and Paul O'Grady make cameo appearances.
1.3 million [15]
1 November 2007
The morning after their success at the TV Pick Awards, the crew of The Vivienne Vyle Show discuss the after-show party. When she wakes up, Vivienne feels dizzy and is unable to walk. A video conference is then held with Dr. Jonathan and Helena at the studio and Vivienne and Jared at their house. Jonathan manages to 'cure' Vivienne, who appears to have been suffering from psychological problems. During the conference, Jonathan and Helena, unbeknown to anyone else, kiss passionately.
1 million [16]
8 November 2007
Janey (Harriet Thorpe), a journalist from Daily Mail, informs Jared that she has evidence of him at a gay party where a young rent boy fell off a balcony and died. Miriam comes up with ideas for damage limitation. However, The Vivienne Vyle Show is being broadcast live to mark the end of the season and at the end of the show, Vivienne does an unexpected piece to camera about the party and brings Jared on to admit he is an alcoholic, but does not mention he is gay. She then says she was abused as a child and, as the live show ends, gets a warm welcome from the audience.
1.1 million [17]

Worldwide broadcast[]

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle aired on Showcase in Canada, Sundance Channel in the United States,[18] yes stars Base in Israel, Comedy Central in The Netherlands, GNT in Brazil, RTP2 in Portugal, DR2 in Denmark, YLE in Finland and UKTV in Australia.


  1. Martin, Denise (4 December 2006). "BBCA taps 'Fabulous' team". Variety.
  2. Levine, Stuart (3 September 2008). "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle | Variety". Variety. Retrieved 3 May 2016. the humor here is so pitch-black dark that the series would work better as a drama
  3. Loar, Christelle (16 September 2009). "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 May 2016. Vivienne Vyle is so much darker than Saunders other works, and the humor is inkier than even most comparable comedies (say, the original British series of The Office), that it is sometimes difficult to even tell it is meant to be comedy
  4. 4.0 4.1 Press release. BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2006.
  5. British press article. Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 December 2006.
  6. Martin, Denise. British newspaper article about the show. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2006.
  7. Hale, Mike (5 September 2008). "Oprah Mixed with Jerry in a Show About a Show – The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  8. Levine, Stuart (3 September 2008). "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle | Variety". Variety. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  9. Loar, Christelle (16 September 2009). "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  10. Wollaston, Sam (5 October 2007). "Last Night's TV: The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle | Media | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. Martin, Daniel (26 October 2007). "The Viewers Are Wrong About Vivienne Vyle | Television & Radio | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  12. Tryhorn, Chris (5 October 2007). "Whistleblowers runs out of puff". The Guardian.
  13. Brook, Stephen (12 October 2007). "Californication entices 1m viewers". The Guardian.
  14. Dowell, Ben (19 October 2007). "Vyle a turn-off on BBC2". The Guardian.
  15. Holmwood, Leigh (26 October 2007). "Johnston retells kidnap to 3m". The Guardian.
  16. Tryhorn, Chris (2 November 2007). "Wedded bliss for EastEnders". The Guardian.
  17. Conlan, Tara (9 November 2007). "Boars beat fish in nature clash". The Guardian.
  18. [1]. "Sundance launches comedy block 'Ab Fab's' Saunders stars in 'Vivienne Vyle'". Stuart Levine. 10 July 2008.

External links[]