Clare in the Community – radio review


Radio 4

Fridays, 11.30 until 31 December   

Having read Clare in the Community for the past 10 years I was
pleased to see it being transferred to radio. Sally Phillips heads
a strong cast, and her portrayal of Clare is great. Although the
approach is very gentle it does at times reflect the dark humour of
many social workers, writes Mark Drinkwater.

Despite its title, Clare is seldom in the community but more often
found in the office squabbling with colleagues. Clare is flawed but
likeable: her fallibility makes us feel better about

Given that the cartoon strip has become a little tired, having
exhausted the possibilities for humour in social work, the radio
series gives a chance to breathe life back into the

Social work usually attracts negative media attention, so it’s a
welcome change to encourage people to laugh at social work issues –
even if they are laughing at rather than with social workers. How
much the series will inform the public about the complexity of
social work is debatable; it’s a sitcom not a documentary. That
said, it’s as good as any other sitcom on the radio at the moment,
and I for one will be tuning in each week.

Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in

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