Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous is a British sitcom written by Jennifer Saunders and starring Saunders and Joanna Lumley. The show, broadcast by the BBC in the United Kingdom, grew from a sketch originally written and performed for the comedy show French and Saunders, which co-starred Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, and has aired off and on since it first debuted on November 12, 1992. The sketch itself was developed from the earlier Eddie Monsoon: A Life?, a comedy play written for The Comic Strip Presents... TV series.

With its frank depictions of drug and alcohol abuse and irresponsible, irreverent and frequently illegal behaviour, the series gained a large and loyal following as well as attracting censure from various groups, despite its outrageous depictions.

The characters played by Lumley (Patsy) and Saunders (Eddy) became popular subjects for emulation by female impersonators and Halloween revellers. While the programme was widely popular in Britain and gained noteworthy attention in the United States, where it was broadcast by the Comedy Central network (and, from 2003, by the Oxygen network), it has found a particularly strong following among gay men in both of these countries as well as in Australia and Canada, where the show has been broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Comedy Network respectively.


The Premise

Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Lumley) are two out-of-place, stuck-in-the-1960s, substance-abusing fashion and fad-obsessed Londoners who value style (and substances) over substance. Saffron (Julia Sawalha), Edina's daughter by a previous marriage, provides the voice of Monsoon and Stone's superego.

Edina owns a public relations firm whose only steady client is fading pop singer Lulu, who is barely hanging on by a thread. (In later years, this switched to former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.) Amidst her struggling business Edina is desperate to give off the aura of success, wealth and fabulousness.

Meanwhile, cohort Patsy portrays an outrageous past-her-prime model who shares a co-dependent parasitic existence with Edina. This relationship usually results in hilarious, albeit dysfunctional behaviours, and over-the-top conflicts with all characters who happen to interact with Patsy.

Edina's daughter Saffron is depicted as the long suffering milk-toast intellectual who endures bombastic abuse from both main characters. But in this series, being the voice of reason only adds to the hilarity of the outrageous relationships of the characters.

The show circles around Edina's constant struggle to achieve fame and success amidst the disapproval of her daughter and the constant presence of her dottering, senile elderly mother. Throughout Patsy is at her side encouraging the behaviours that are constantly causing her conflict. Also in and out of her life are her ex-husband Justin (and his gay lover Oliver) and her other ex-husband Marshall, with his scheming new-age California wife Bo.

Much of the comedy of the show is physical, usually derived from Edina and Patsy's drunken states and over the top substance abuse. A recurring gag found new ways for Edina to fall headfirst out of automobiles, windows, or down her kitchen stairs at least once every season. Episodes also found the pair travelling to locations like New York, Paris and Morocco, usually with complaining daughter in tow.


Written by: Jennifer Saunders

Directed by: Bob Spiers

Produced by: Jon Plowman

5 seasons, and several one-off specials

Broadcast (in the U.K.): 1992-1996; 2001-2003

TV Channel: BBC2 / BBC1

BBC Television

  • Edina is allegedly based on Lynne Franks.
  • At least two "final episodes" were made with the characters older and not much wiser, but the series returned due to popular demand.
  • There have been two "spin-offs" of the show. One, called "Mirrorball," found the same cast placed in a totally different plot and setting, playing new characters. The pilot was sold, however, as the first season was being planned, Jennifer Saunders decided to do a new season of Absolutely Fabulous. The second, as of yet untitled (though the rumour is it may be called The Bo Show), is a spin-off based around the character of Bo, played by Mo Gaffney.
  • In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, Absolutely Fabulous was placed 17th.
  • The theme song is called This Wheel's on Fire written by Bob Dylan and performed in this instance by Julie Driscoll.
  • The name of the main character, Edina Monsoon, is a play on the surname of Jennifer Saunders' husband, Adrian Edmonson. Eddie Monsoon was created by Adrian Edmondson in 1984 as an idea for The Comic Strip.
  • Patsy's full name is Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.


Minor Roles


See:List of Absolutely Fabulous episodes


  • An attempted American remake was put into motion by Roseanne Barr but never got off the ground. It was to star Carrie Fisher. However Barr did incorporate many elements of the show into the final season of her eponymous show Roseanne, in which Roseanne wins the lottery, including hiring some of the guest stars of Absolutely Fabulous.

Similar shows

  • Cybill (1995) was an American sitcom about a Hollywood actress and mother who lived with her wisecracking daughter and had a boozing best friend.
  • High Society (1995) was an American sitcom about a divorced mother who owned a publishing house that pressed her best friend's romance novels. They let an old college girlfriend who was pregnant and struggling move in with them.

External links

fr:Absolument fabuleux


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