Jennifer Saunders as Edina Monsoon and Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone

scene Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous is a sitcom about two heavy-drinking, drug-abusing and fame-seeking working women who are desperately trying to cling to their youth - or the 1960s, more specifically. Single mother Edina Monsoon juggles her time between her vices, public relations firm, teenage daughter, caustic mother, and most importantly, excess weight. Her best friend, Patsy Stone, is a former porn actress who was appointed as a fashion director at an upscale fashion magazine after sleeping with the boss.

It would've been easy to hate such flawed characters, but Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley managed to imbue their characters with a layer of vulnerability that makes viewers root for them. The two talented actresses are surrounded with an equally talented supporting cast in the form of Edina's level-headed teenage daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha), kleptomaniac mother (June Whitfield), and vacuous assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks). Edina has another child, Serge, but he has moved to New York in despair at her mother's behaviour. Edina's young daughter Saffron manages the household, and is constantly dragged into arguments with her.

The show's plotlines usually involve them trying to hitch on the latest fad to obtain instant celebrity status or wealth, interspaced with their vices, dalliances with men, and embarrassing turn of events. The world of high fashion serves as the perfect backdrop for the show, and they mercilessly lampoon almost every aspect of the industry.

Everything about Absolutely Fabulous is risky, including the plot and characters. However, the women of the show somehow make things work, and deliver a side-splitting and original cautionary sitcom that drew millions of viewers every week.


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The programme began as a short sketch in a French and Saunders TV programme, with Jennifer Saunders as the mother and Dawn French as the daughter.

Jennifer Saunders later developed the idea into a six-part series for BBC Television. Two further series and a two-part special followed.

The "special" (The Last Shout) was supposed to mark the end of the programme. However, Jennifer Saunders was writing the scripts for a new sitcom (Mirrorball) during 2001 and found that "the main characters kept turning into Edina and Patsy". She then decided to write a fourth series of Absolutely Fabulous, which was transmitted in Autumn, 2001.

Jennifer Saunders plays Edina Monsoon, a fortyish PR person with a daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) who is much more mature and "together" than her mother. Edina spends most of her time with her best friend Patsy (Joanna Lumley).

Other regular characters are Edina's mother (June Whitfield) and Edina's dimwitted assistant, Bubble (Jane Horrocks).

Three new episodes will begin filming in August 2011.

Series: 5
Episodes: 38
Transmitted: 1992-2012
Channel: BBC2 / BBC1

BBC Television

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