Public relations maven Edina and best friend Patsy drive sensible daughter Saffron up the wall with their self-absorbed, substance-abusing escapades
- Ab Fab
- 1992 - 2012 (BBC One / BBC Two)
- 39 (5 series)
- Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
- Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Sue Perkins
- Saunders And French Productions
& British Broadcasting Corporation
Absolutely Fabulous centres around the work of wealthy international public relations maven Edina Monsoon, her decadent lifestyle and dysfunctional family.
Baby-boomer Edina's self-indulgent, substance abusing behaviour is contrasted by and frequently comes into conflict with her sensible, practical, Generation X daughter Saffron.
The tension is increased by the involvement of Edina's ruthless, parasitic bitch-fashionista best friend Patsy Stone, who vies with Saffron for Edina's attention and leads and encourages Edina in her outrageously irresponsible behaviour. Patsy's extreme substance abuse far outstrips even Edina's.
The bizarre family unit who comprise the core cast also includes Edina's indifferent and emotionally distant Mother - a partially senile old woman who delights in pointing out her flaws, stealing from her and enjoying her luxurious lifestyle. She is far more connected to Saffron. Also present is Edina's supremely incompetent secretary and personal assistant Bubble - who often seems confused by simple concepts and is disrespectful of her employer. She is kept on for the aesthetic merit of her bizarre outfits and because the work-shy Edina looks competent and efficient by comparison.
Throughout the series Edina and Patsy embark on a kaleidoscope of self-involved, attention seeking escapades in the fast world of the rich and famous - often dragging the family along for the ride.
There are regular appearances from other bizarre and quirky members of the extended family as well as outlandish friends and associates, and real-life celebrities.
Based on a French & Saunders Series 3 sketch, the show and character of Edina are said to have been inspired by PR consultant Lynne Franks.
Our Review: Absolutely Fabulous was a revolutionary comedy hit in the nineties when it emerged - satirising the rise of the cult of celebrity, branding, and the mass marketing of often questionable charity causes and self-help schemes.
Since its original run in the early 1990s, the series has returned intermittently to satirise new develpements in media, fashion, culture and consumerism. The humour is often cutting and caustic, and the style brittle and often outrageously camp. Celebrity guests abound in extreme storylines that only just outstrip the ridiculous excesses of celebrity gossip magazines.
What makes the series truly worthwhile is the genuine emotional connection between these deep and damaged characters; most of whom use a variety of self-help fads, substance abuse and branding to cement over their inner turmoil and empty, facile lives.
However, do not be fooled: the series may be extreme but it is far from heavy or depressing. For many it is an acquired taste, and whilst it should be noted that the mid 2000s series came under criticism, for fans it is often scintillatingly over-the-top and wildly funny.