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Format: Sitcom Created by: Jennifer Saunders
Starring: Julia Sawalha, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders,
June Whitfield, and Jane Horrocks
Country of origin: United Kingdom
No. of episodes: 36 (List of episodes)
Camera setup: Multiple camera
Running time: 30 minutes approx.
Original channel: BBC
Original run: 12 November 1992 – 11 March 2005
Absolutely Fabulous (also known as Ab Fab) was a BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning British sitcom written by and starring Jennifer Saunders and co-starring Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks. It was broadcast on the BBC from 1992 to 1996 and 2001 to 2005.
This show was started from a sketch done on French & Saunders, another great sitcom. The sketch was called Modern Mother and Daughter. The Sketch starred Jennifer Saunders as the mother and Dawn French as the daughter.
Jennifer Saunders - Edwina Monsoon Joanna Lumley - Patsy Stone Julia Sawalha - Saffron Monsoon June Whitfield - Mother Jane Horrocks - Bubble, Katy Grin
Absolutely Fabulous Supporting Actors
Christopher Ryan - Marshall Turtle Mo Gaffney - Bo Turtle (née Crysalis) Christopher Malcolm - Justin Helen Lederer - Catriona Harriet Thorpe - Fleur Naoko Mori - Sarah (series 1 to 5) Gary Beadle - Oliver (series 1, series 3 and 1996 Special) Kathy Burke - Magda (series 1 to 1996 Special) Tilly Blackwood - Lady Candida De Denison-Bender (series 4) Felix Dexter - John Johnstone (series 5 and 2003 Special) Celia Imrie - Claudia Bing (series 3 and 4)
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Edwina Monsoon and Patsy Stone are two immature, rich women who are usually drunk. They are obsessed with fads and fashion. They will take fame and style over responsibility. Saffron, Edina’s daughter is depressed supporting character to both Monsoon and Stone. Stone is usually at Edina and Saffron’s home.
Absolutely Fabulous is mostly about Edina’s struggle to become famous and become skinny like a model. Stone is always encouraging Edina while Edwina’s daughter and senile mother are trying to bring her to her senses. Most of the fun happens when Edina and Patsy are drunk. Saffron hates Patsy because she encourages her mother’s destructive behavior. The clashes between Saffron and Patsy make up a good deal of the show’s comedy. A recurring gag was that Edina fell headfirst out of cars, windows, or down her kitchen stairs at least once every series.
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Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon, an only child, was born on 6 August 1951 in London. She later changed her name to Edina and is nearly always called Eddy; only her mother and ex-husband Justin call her Edwina.
Eddy’s life is based on 1960s fashion and celebrity culture. She wants to do what she wants, to excess, all the time. She follows every trend blindly. He wants to be in high society circles. She believes she is a follower of the latest trends but has no sense of style. She wears the latest fashions without knowing what would work for her.
Eddy owns a public relations firm with only one steady client, a 1960s pop singer, Lulu. Eddy and Lulu’s professional relationship is barely existent. In later years Twiggy the model and Spice Girl Emma Bunton become clients. They both had gone to school with Saffy.
Edina pretends that business is booming. Her inappropriate wardrobe tell otherwise. She’s always trying to improve her status.
Edina gets a good chunk of money from her two ex-husbands, Justin and Marshall, in the form of alimony. Justin, Saffy’s father, is gay and for some time has a boyfriend named Oliver. Her first husband, Marshall Turtle, the father of her gay son Serge, later marries Bo Chrysalis (Gaffney).
Edina relies on gay men to give her the look of being fashionable and politically correct. She claims that gay men love her and that all her friends are gay.
Edina claims to be Buddist. She also claims to be vegetarian but is often seen eating meat. Edina is always conflicted between the life that Patsy encourages her to have and Saffy’s sensible version of what her life should be.
Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone – always called Patsy, or Pats: She is the last of a string of bastard children born to an aging bohemian mother in Paris. She and Eddy were childhood friends. She was neglected as a child and so relied on Edina’s family for most of her food. She was mostly at home for most of her childhood. She didn’t have friends, go to parties, or get presents. She has flashbacks of those years. She is a nymphomaniac and a past her prime fashion model. She sticks to Eddy like a parasite.
Patsy was born on 30 October, although her actual age is never clearly divulged, she often states herself to be between 39 and 43. Patsy also has a sister named Jackie, (as revealed in the episode "Happy New Year") whom Eddy abhors and who twice tried to kill Patsy with drug overdoses. Jackie intimidates Patsy into stating that Patsy is the elder of the two and says, in the same episode, that she is 72, to which Patsy's reply was "my god, then how old does that make me". Patsy usually seems as hard as nails and as cold as ice – especially in her behaviour toward Saffy, her chief rival – but she sometimes reveals a more vulnerable side: in flashbacks to her bleak life with her mother, in her overeager admiration for the awful Jackie, and in those rare moments when Eddy temporarily withdraws her friendship.
Patsy is usually dressed well. She wears her hair in a beehive. She has a posh fashion director job for a fashion magazine. She got the job by sleeping with the publisher. Her next job was in a fashion store that caters to many celebrity clients such as Minnie Driver. There are rumours that Patsy has been involved in porn.
Patsy underwent a sex change in Morocco in the 1960s. She briefly lived as a man.
Click here for a great Absolutely Fabulous video clip.
Edina and Justin's daughter Saffron Monsoon was born on 17 March 1975 in London. Although most people call her "Saffy", Eddy usually refers to her as "sweetie", "darling", "sweetie-darling" and twice "little budgerigar" – meaning, according to Saunders, the voice of conscience in the household. Patsy calls her “you little bitch troll from hell”, “the bitch daughter” and “you little piece of dribble-piss”, etc. Her intelligence allows her to mess with Eddie and Patsy.
Saffy dresses conservatively. She almost always behaves responsibly. This gets her volunteered for many unpleasant chores. She ends up rescuing Patsy and Eddie on many occasions. Edina wishes she had a more fashionable forward daughter while Saffy wishes she had a normal family.
In series five - when Saffy returns home pregnant from a stint of humanitarian work in Uganda - Eddy has nightmares at the prospect of being a grandmother until she learns that Saffy's lover is black, making the baby mixed race and, as such, a fabulous fashion accessory – "the Chanel of babies!" Saffy later gives birth to a daughter and names her Jane; Eddy, however, persists in calling her "Lola".
At some point (presumably when she came of age) Saffron became the legal owner of the house that she and Edina live in (it had previously belonged to her father). In the final episode of the series she at last liberates herself from her mother and Patsy by throwing them out.
Edina’s mother, Mrs. Monsoon, is a happy go lucky person. She pretends to be senile to get away with things. Edina hates her mother. Saffy loves her grandmother.
Mrs. Monsoon occasionally steals things from Edina’s home and donates them to the charity shop she volunteers at. She often turns Edina’s high end clothing into other things like bedspreads.
She is Eddy’s personal assistant at work. She isn’t very smart. She doesn’t remember the names of common things such as computer, television, fax machine among other things. She only has the job because she makes Edina look smart.
Bubble quits two times. Edina tries to fire Bubble but gets sued. Bubble wins because the job description is not specified. For that same reason Bubble ends up being Edina’s maid. Bubble does leave Edina when Claudia Bing is about to take over the company.
Sarah is a quiet, shy, smart girl who has been Saffron’s friend since childhood. She rarely drinks and carries a flask in her jacket. Sarah tries to get Saffron to drink and teases her about romantic things, whether real or fantasized. Edina often insults and physically abuses Sarah. Sarah later becomes so unstable she stalks Spice Girl Emma Bunton, a friend of Saffron. Saffy reports her to the police.
He is Saffy’s father and Edina’s second ex-husband. He is gay and runs an antique shop with his partner Oliver. Justin tries to be a good father. He is scared of Edina. Justin and Edina try to act civil but don’t always succeed.
Marshall Turtle is Edina’s first husband and father to Serge. Serge is Saffy’s half brother. Serge is only seen once in the whole series. Marshall is an unsuccessful Hollywood movie procedure. He tries different money making schemes with his wife, Bo. He is dominted by his wife. He is generally kind to Edina. He attempted to steal Saffy’s baby at Bo’s urging. He and Bo were going to the sell the baby to Hollywood actors. Marshall has tried the gay thing.
She is Marshall’s wife for most of the series. She is a noisy American who often yells “Praise Jesus”, or “Let’s hold hands”. When she and Marshall were trying to steal Saffy’s baby she actually stole the placenta by mistake. She is a nurse. Bo has many weird outfits. She has drug and alcohol problems. Both Bo and Marshall experiment with different religions.
Some of the special guest on the show are Naomi Campbell, Minnie Driver, Whoopie Goldberg, and Sir Elton John.
The theme song for Absolutely Fabulous is called This Wheel’s on Fire, written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko. For the show it is performed by Julie Driscoll and Adrian Emondson. Marianne Faithful and P. P. Arnold sang it for The Last Shout Special in 1996. Hermine Demoriane sang a French version for the closing episode “Paris”. Later in the series Debbie Harry (Blondie) and Saunders’ husband Adrian Edmondson sang the theme.
In 1994 the Pet Shop Boys recorded a song using excerpts and dialogue from the series.
(Jan. 27, 2013, Sunday, 10:10pm)