• TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 2000
  • 1 episode

Jennifer Saunders reunites the cast of Absolutely Fabulous in this one off sitcom special set in London's West End. Also features Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Harriet Thorpe, Tim Wylton and more.

Key details

Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Harriet Thorpe, Tim Wylton, June Whitfield, Matthew Francis and more
Jennifer Saunders and Ruby Wax
Adrian Edmondson
Jon Plowman and Jonathan Paul Llewellyn

Middle-aged actress and dancer Vivienne Keill awakes late on the morning of an important audition. Her sister, Freda Keill (Julia Sawalha), a serious, RADA trained actress, is there too. In spite of taking numerous dance classes, it seems that Vivienne is becoming more and more out of shape - and her methods of preparing as an actress are lazy and out-dated. Freda tries to whip her into shape for the audition.

Downstairs, however, lives Vivienne's best friend - ex-junkie and former disco-dive Jackie Riviera (Joanna Lumley), who is giving her agent husband Brice Michaels (Tim Wylton - who would reprise this character in "Absolutely Fabulous") a difficult time as he tries to prepare her for a tour.

Jackie comes up to help Vivienne, insisting that Freda doesn't really know how to entertain people. Her advice is superficial and encourages vivienne's laziness. The audition is for "Angela' Ashes - The Musical", and Vivienne dresses for the part and practises her Irish 'brogue'. Also auditioning are Bonnie Langford and the daffy, spiteful German actress Yitta Hilberstam (Jane Horrocks). viv gives an hilarious performance of "Send In the Clowns" in her Irish accent - complete with high-kicks.

Meanwhile, at the bar "Johnny's", Brice is entertaining one of his main clients, the aged, slightly bewildered, slightly drunk vaudeville star Dora Vermouth (June Whitfield). She has been with the same long running musical for many years, being shuffled into older and smaller parts. Freda is also there along with bit actress Cat Rogers (Harriet Thorpe). Vivienne and Jackie arrive to announce that Viv got the job.

On a drunken night out celebrating, however, Viv decides to leap along a row of cars, from one to the next. When the final car pulls away, she falls breaking her leg.

With her leg in a cast, Viv is miserable - knowing that she will probably lose her part in the play. Jackie tells her that once they get to first rehearsal - they can't fire her. Jackie has her neck in a brace - claiming that she suffered whiplash in the Ambulance and can not do the tour for Brice. Brice is not concerned, however, as he delivers the news that the insurance money he collected has allowed him to buy "Johnny's". Viv and Jackie muse that they could set up a nightclub.

At the bar, Yitta is now a waitress and laughs at Viv's misfortune. Dora and Freda are also present for the opening celebrations. Jackie is giving Brice a hard time again - helping herself to free drinks for the gathered crowd. She has the pianist play jazz and passes around cigarettes. The producers and director of "Angela's Ashes" arrive and Viv uses Yitta's apron to hide her broken leg. Dora Vermouth starts to sing and the director insists that Viv show off some of her high-kicks. Viv goes around the table, kicking her broken leg above the heads of the producers. She looks like she has made it - when she finally gets to the director and knocks him out.

Additional details

Hugo Cornwell (formerly of The Stranglers) performing his band's Heroes.

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Friday 22nd December 2000 at 9pm on BBC One
Episode length
30 minutes

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