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|Little Britain character|
|First appearance||Pilot episode|
|Created by||David Walliams / Matt Lucas|
|Portrayed by||Matt Lucas|
|Occupation||FatFighters Support Group Leader|
|Spouse(s)||Melvyn Dawes (divorced)|
|Significant other(s)||Derek (one episode)|
Marjorie Dawes is a fictional character played by English comedian Matt Lucas. Lucas initially performed the role occasionally as mother to a character known as George Dawes in the comedy game show Shooting Stars. Later Lucas made Marjorie one of the main characters on the BBC TV and radio show Little Britain and subsequently Little Britain USA.
Her name originates from a traditional children's playtime song, "See Saw Margery Daw". According to a biography printed in the Little Britain Live programme guide, Marjorie was married until 1997 to an unseen Melvyn Dawes, with whom she had two fat twin boys named Pinky and Perky also never seen. In Shooting Stars it is established that character George Dawes is her son. Marjorie has an estranged sister, Barbara (played by David Walliams in the second TV series), whom she insists her mother cuts out of her will.
It is repeatedly demonstrated that Majorie is a bigot. in Little Britain the character is known for her fatist comments towards others. She frequently addresses her FatFighters group as 'Fatties'. She's also portrayed as homophobic. When American talk show host, comedian, and actress Rosie O'Donnell appears on the premiere of Little Britain USA, Marjorie refers to O'Donnell's sexuality; her successful talk show, which ran, in Marjorie's words, "until Ellen DeGeneres filled [Rosie's] slot". Another of the character's foils is her attitude to other races, consistently pretending not to understand anyone who isn't of the same ethnic background. Majorie is also played as someone who is illiterate. Whilst using a flip chart, she frequently writes "chocolate" incorrectly. In a sketch shown in the first episode, she writes "choclit"; in third episode of series 3, she writes "chucklet"; and in the final episode of series 3 she writes "choglud". In Little Britain USA, she also misspells "ice cube" as "ice koob".
Marjorie has appeared in every Little Britain episode to date including the Comic Relief Special.
Marjorie Dawes is portrayed as a representative of a fictional weight loss programme known as FatFighters which is a parody of weight loss clubs. Marjorie is responsible for promoting the FatFighters diet to a group of hopeful slimmers. The group members include Paul (Paul Putner), Pat (Joann Condon), Tanya (Leelo Ross), Dave (Stephen Aintree) and Meera (Charu Bala Chokshi). Unfortunately for the group Marjorie's diet advice and people skills make her the least qualified person for someone in her position. Marjorie will consistently patronise each member of the group and belittle any effort they put into losing weight. She'll happily throw weight related insults at them and be completely oblivious to the hurt it causes.
Marjorie exhibits racial bias towards Meera, who is a British Indian. Not only does she belittle Meera by constantly pronouncing her name incorrectly, for example Mary or Moira, but also, regardless of Meera's ability to fluently speak English, Marjorie will pretend she can't understand a word she says and ask her to repeat herself several times over until another group member steps in. When in America, she behaved similarly towards a Latino woman in Little Britain Abroad and a Mexican woman in Little Britain USA.
The FatFighters diets Marjorie promotes are generally counterproductive to her group. One diet used by FatFighters is the "Half-the-Calories" diet. This involves cutting food in half, therefore giving it half the calories and because it's half the calories a person can have twice as much. Marjorie is also a great believer in diets that involve eating dust, as dust, of course, has no fat in it, so someone can have as much dust as they like. In the Little Britain script book for series 2, there is a FatFighters diet sheet that includes meals involving dust such as 'Dustburger', 'Full English Dust' and 'Pain au Dust'. The sheet includes a message at the bottom that says "It's not easy, but good luck and remember - you are fat, loathsome scum".* As a result of such dietary advice, the group members often find other methods to lose weight much to the disgust of Marjorie who regards them traitors.
Another aspect that challenges Marjorie’s suitability for her job is the fact she is overweight herself, although she does claim to be at her target weight, despite being approximately 15 stone and 8½ pounds (99 kg). This is easily explained when Marjorie's own eating habits are shown, often doing exactly what she tells the FatFighters not to do. During sketches, she will occasionally try to hide from the group and eat large amounts of food in the mistaken belief the group cannot see or hear what she's doing.
She was suspended at the end of the first series of Little Britain, but is again seen in charge of FatFighters at the start of the second, and appears again in the third. She later went to America to teach a FatFighters group but was arrested in Little Britain Abroad.
At the beginning of Series 2, real-life slimmer Vanessa Feltz visits the FatFighters group to give them some genuine advice. After witnessing a lot of Marjorie's insulting behaviour Vanessa calls her "a total cow". Marjorie spits on her soon after.
In the final episode of series three, tired of Marjorie's constant insults and mocking, the FatFighters demand an apology when she again makes fun of member Pat's weight. However, when she finally manages to force out a "sorry", only to follow it up seconds later with, "that you're so fat!", the FatFighters decide they have had enough and leave, reassuring Marjorie they won't be returning. Marjorie says she could not help "that you're so fat!" coming out.
In the first part of the following episode entitled Little Britain Abroad Marjorie was sent by FatFighters to take a class in the USA. However, she quickly found out her usual breed of racism, rudeness and general attitude were even less welcome there and she was subsequently arrested. Meanwhile, back in England, her normal class is taken by her Texan counterpart Blanche Chukkatuk (played by David Walliams), who seems to be the complete opposite of Marjorie, such as being extremely nice to everyone, but at the end, she is revealed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. She did however share the way Marjorie couldn't understand Meera.
Marjorie has many catchphrases, and most involve over stressing various words.
- "Hello, fatties!"
- "Ska-rooo you!" ("Screw you")
- "Oh, man, I LURVE DE CAKE!" ("I love the cake") 
- "Dust... anybody? No? Dust... anybody? No?" (repeated in robot fashion) 
- "Yooooou are summin else!" ("You are something else")
- "Do it again" or "What's that, my love?" or "Say it again" (after hearing characters with accents speak)
She also addresses a Fat Fighter as "my sweetness", "my love", "pet", or something else non-derogatory, yet very patronising. She is also obsessed with cake, often adopting a deep male voice for saying, "I like cake!", even going so far as to adopt a fake German accent, saying, "I VANT ZE CAKE!" She once yelled out at Pat in a Jamaican voice, "WHOA, MOMMA, YOU FAT!!" after seeing a photo of Pat on her wedding day.
The FatFighters group
Played by: Charu Bala Chokshi
Meera, also called Moira or Mary, is a British Indian (Pakistani in the radio series) and probably Marjorie's main victim. Although Meera speaks perfect English, Marjorie will force her to repeat whatever she said several times, and occasionally, after dismissing her comment, will use Meera's comment as her own. In one sketch, while Marjorie lists unhealthy foods suggested by the group, she interprets Meera's suggestion of "fish and chips" to be some kind of curry. In another, Meera won the lottery, and Marjorie was uncommonly nice to Meera in an attempt to receive some money - at one point, even mumbling under her breath "Money, money, money, give it to me". However, in one episode where Marjorie is shopping Meera is at the till, and as she says "hello Marjorie", Marjorie does reply "oh, hello, Meera" so obviously Marjorie can understand Meera, she just pretends not to.
Played by: Paul Putner
Paul is one of Marjorie's victims of insults (in the first series, Marjorie only seemed to pick on him and Meera). When he tells her he had Ryvita for breakfast, she retorts "what did you have on it, lard?". He and Marjorie once had sex after spending a drunken night together. Paul is now married to, and expecting a child with, fellow Fat Fighter Pat, Marjorie was not invited to the wedding. She was also not invited to a party celebrating the wedding that was to take place after the FatFighters session. She leaves, telling the group the enjoy themselves, then flips a table full of food over as she leaves.
Played by: Joann Condon
Pat (also known as "Fat Pat" and "Fatty Patty Boom Boom"), became a victim of Marjorie in the second series. Marjorie, after forcing Pat to try two eclairs to try and guess which one was low-fat, promptly shoved the high-fat eclairs into Pat's mouth, and then made her spit them out, and told her she "had let everybody down". Marjorie then tells her she has some non-existent cream in her hair, so Marjorie cuts a large chunk of hair off. Pat is married to, and expecting a child with, fellow Fat Fighter Paul.
Tania is another member of FatFighters. Her husband left her, to which Marjorie remarks "Yeah, he would've done". Marjorie describes her as "fat and old", and later remarks "oh, she stinks an' all". When Tania makes banoffee pie, Marjorie scolds her, saying "you are playing Russian Roulade (sic) with these fatties lives. If one of these fatties has one bite of this, they could drop down dead. Shame on you Tania, boo hiss boo!", and then places the pie in her handbag. (The sentence saying the Regional 4 DVD for the 3rd Series subtitle stating the subtitles were wrong was removed as Marjorie did actually say "Tell 'em yeah" as she was speaking about not understanding Meera.)
Other FatFighters include:
- Dave - whose major appearance is in series one, episode one, when he says chocolate as a craving. As this has already been said, he changes it to chocolate biscuits. Marjorie mistakenly calls him "Johansen" every time she sees him.
- Jenny (radio series only). Constantly named Julie by mistake. Also a redheaded member in Little Britain USA.
- Vanessa Feltz - spokesperson for the organization.
- Mrs. Harrison - senior FatFighters employee who inspects Marjorie after complaint(s). She enforces the fact that Marjorie must weigh herself - and then dismisses her, due to the fact she is too large.
- Derek Martin - the EastEnders actor once joined FatFighters to 'lose a couple of pounds' and left after Marjorie's over persuasiveness to make him spill the beans on what happens to various characters from EastEnders "in the end".
- Marjorie's mother - Was once in hospital, and Marjorie kept trying to persuade her to go into a home.
- Barbara - Marjorie's sister. Although she appears to be quite thin, Marjorie tries to make out to the other FatFighters members that she is fat. Marjorie claims that Barbara is hated by their mother (and the other way around when Marjorie visits her mum in hospital.) Barbara appears in one sketch in Series 1.
- Cliff Roberts - FatFighters Slimmer of the Year. Even though Cliff is the Slimmer of the Year, he is still very overweight. When asked by Marjorie if the FatFighters range helped, he replied "No they're a waste of-" before Marjorie cut him short. At the end, Marjorie plays with Cliff's breast and said "Ooh, they're like tits aren't they!". Cliff appears in one sketch in Series 1.
- Christopher Halliday - A 13-year-old boy who wants to lose weight. After telling Marjorie that kids call him "fatty" in school, she goes on to find other names she thinks he might (or should) be called, like "Fatty Fatty Boom Boom", "Pigs in Space", "Fat Greedy Boy" and "Cracker". At one point, even she refers to him as "Fatty Halliday". After calling Marjorie fat, she threatens to kill his mother if he pulls a stunt like that again. Christopher appears in the pilot episode. Halliday is a namesake of one of the boys David Walliams was at Reigate Grammar School with.
- Blanche Tuckatuck - She appears in the second Little Britain Abroad as the Texan counterpart of Marjorie (played by David Walliams) who visits FatFighters while Marjorie does the same in the US. She adds "y" onto the names of the members of the Fat Fighters like "Pauly" and "Patty". She initially seems to be somewhat nicer than Marjorie, an impression which is quickly undone when it is revealed that she is part of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Donna - She was an audience member chosen by Marjorie in Little Britain Live. She is an account manager for IT Solutions who came with her sister Dawn. When she was being weighed, Marjorie refers her as "48 stone". When Marjorie was giving advice to Donna, she called her a "Fat cow!" in a jamaican accent and has given her a t-shirt that is far too big for her.
- Derek - He was Marjorie's black boyfriend in one episode in Series 3. Marjorie shows him off, saying "it" is a beast, and "if you have black, you ain't going back." He is a personal trainer and gets the group up to exercise. Tania does not have a partner and goes with him, making Marjorie jealous. She accuses him of flirting, calling Tania a "shitting slag" and dumps him, saying "Sca-reeewww you!" After he leaves, she runs after him, apologising. He says she is "fucking nuts". She reenters, her hair scruffy and her mascara running down her face. She asks if anyone has any chocolate, which prompts every member to hand her some.
Newspapers have been known to reference the character in real life situations. When covering a new slimming medication in the form of powder, they linked the story to Marjorie promoting consumption of dust as a valid diet. The Mirror ran an article on a real life Slimming World leader who struggled to cope with her own diet, likening her situation to that of Marjorie Dawes. The Telegraph referred to a "Marjorie Dawes Syndrome" when covering a story about a man's battle to lose weight. Tracy Kelleher, an actress who played one of the FatFighters, was covered in a story about her own weight loss prompted by her appearance in Little Britain.
References and notes
- "Shooting Stars". BBC Comedy. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "Interview with Rosie O'Donnell". HBO. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Baggott, Nadine (13 January 2016). "Nadine Baggott looks at the benefits of joining a slimming club". Hello Magazine. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "Introducing Marjorie Dawes". HBO. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Jones, Toni (22 August 2012). "Fat Fighters' Marjorie Dawes was right - eating 'dust' CAN make you thin: New diet powder could be answer to slimmers' prayers". Mail Online. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Walliams, David; Lucas, Matt (2005). Little Britain : The Complete Scripts and Stuff: Series Two. Harpercollins Entertainment (2005). ISBN 0-007198-72-8.
- Plunkett, John (28 October 2004). "Little Britain to be toned down for BBC1". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Jackson, Kate (30 October 2016). "I Was Just Like Little Britain's Marjorie". Mirror. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Gask, Marina (31 August 2015). "Man v Fat: The male weight loss regime that works". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Neil, Beth (22 May 2009). "Little Britain Fat Fighters star Tracy Kelleher loses 11 stone". Mirror. Retrieved 12 April 2016.