Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks, Naoko Mori, Christopher Malcolm, Christopher Ryan
- Air Dates: November 1992 - July 2012
In their "French And Saunders" sketch comedy show, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders performed a sketch with the former as a level-headed, health-conscious teenager and the latter as her tearaway mother. This role-reversal situation inspired Saunders to expand the theme into Absolutely Fabulous, in which Saunders played the jet-setting, bad-living PR agent and single mother Edina (Eddy) Monsoon, and Julia Sawalha played her strait-laced and disapproving daughter Saffron (Saffy). Added to this mix were veteran comedy star June Whitfield as Edina's mother, and Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, drug-imbibing, near-nymphomaniac chum of Eddy's since schooldays.
Eddy and Patsy had been young firebrands in the heady atmosphere of the late 1960s/early 1970s and here they were 20-plus years later still with the same sensibilities, philosophies and outlook of that period. They had also done remarkably well for themselves in the money-motivated 1980s, Patsy as a fashion magazine editor, Edina with her PR/fashion company. Both women seemed to have virtually unlimited amounts of cash yet rarely found themselves engaged in real work, although Edina often went to her office where she barked orders at her inefficient and mentally bizarre secretary Bubble.
As a backlash against rampant 'political correctness', Saunders unashamedly delivered a jet-black, rollicking, rude, crude sitcom that took the public by storm. Patsy and Edina were monstrous creations: selfish, shallow poseurs hell-bent on living life to the excess. They enthusiastically imbibed hard liquor, hashish, cigarettes and cocaine, and generally acted like irresponsible 20-year-olds. Their behaviour was outrageous, their rudeness devastating and their callous and acidic attitude towards good causes and traditional values absolutely shocking - which explains why they were so popular.