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Voice, personality and Grandma: Mabel Constanduros and The Buggins Family

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-06-22, 08:38 authored by Carolyn S. Scott Jeffs
This article explores the work of Mable Constanduros (1880 1957), who was a prolific writer and actress for radio, film and theatre, specialising in comedy. Her radio series The Buggins Family (over 250 episodes were broadcast by the BBC between 1928 and 1948) was possibly the first situation comedy, but has never been recognised as such. In this article, I recreate scripts, analyse the structure of Constanduros’s most famous Buggins episodes, and evaluate her performance, putting it into context with the wider culture in radio at the time. Frances Gray argues that sitcom is traditionally the preserve of men in her book Women and Laughter (1994), and that until very recently women have been regarded as contributing less to the genre, which could explain the reluctance to give Constanduros her true recognition. It is now commonly acknowledged that women have been victims of sexism in many ways and comedy writing is no exception. The men who were prominent in early radio comedy and drama are well known; the women are far less so. By evaluating The Buggins Family, I hope to make Constanduros more visible, and in doing so add to the body of work that is challenging the male canon.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama

Published in

Comedy Studies


SCOTT JEFFS, C.S., 2016. Voice, personality and Grandma: Mabel Constanduros and The Buggins Family. Comedy Studies, 7 (2), pp. 124-136.


Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group (© 2016 Informa UK Limited)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Comedy Studies on 31 May 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/2040610X.2016.1189178.


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