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'Absolutely Fabulous: Inside Out' retrospective coming to Gold

Wednesday 19th June 2024, 8:16am by Jay Richardson

Absolutely Fabulous: Inside Out. Image shows left to right: Jane Horrocks, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders, Julia Sawalha

Absolutely Fabulous is being celebrated with a retrospective documentary on Gold.

Reuniting creator Jennifer Saunders, who played eccentric fashion PR Eddie Monsoon, with Joanna Lumley (Patsy Stone), Julia Sawalha (Saffy Monsoon) and Jane Horrocks (Bubble) for the first time since 2016, Absolutely Fabulous: Inside Out will show viewers how the classic sitcom was made, showcase its influence on women in comedy and pay tribute to the late June Whitfield, who played Eddie's long-suffering mother.

The two-hour film, which will air later this year, will see the core cast joined by other regulars, celebrity guest stars and famous fans for "unheard anecdotes, exclusive backstage secrets and personal reflections amongst a glittering array" of archive clips. The documentary promises to feature original scripts, high-fashion costumes and "never-before-seen moments from the rehearsal room that will bring viewers behind the scenes to see how the magic of Ab Fab was made."

"I loved making Ab Fab but I can't remember a great deal, so much of this retrospective is a revelation to me" said Saunders, who first disclosed the film was being made in her appearance at the BBC Comedy Festival in Glasgow last month. "Thank you Gold for this kind and helpful programme."

Lumley, who played the dipsomaniac former model and magazine fashion director Patsy, added: "It was a fabulous wander down memory lane by actresses who only have the faintest grip on reality. Really thrilling, and I hope vastly entertaining. I loved every second."

Absolutely Fabulous. Image shows from L to R: Edina (Jennifer Saunders), Patsy (Joanna Lumley). Copyright: Saunders And French Productions / BBC

Based on the French And Saunders sketch Modern Mother And Daughter, Absolutely Fabulous began on BBC Two in 1992, before shifting to BBC One, running for five series until 2012. Winning four Bafta Awards, a spin-off film, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, followed in 2016.

Absolutely Fabulous: Inside Out's director is Simon Lloyd (Morecambe & Wise In America, Imagine - Miriam Margolyes). Owen Braben (Blackadder: The Lost Pilot, The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out) produces for Expectation (The Change, Alma's Not Normal), with Jon Plowman and Ben Wicks the executive producers.

Plowman, who also produced Absolutely Fabulous, said: It's extraordinary that something that began 30 years ago is still finding an audience today. We must be doing something right ... or wrong. Perhaps the secret of our success was the amount of champagne consumed on set before lunch."

Braben added: "It's such a rare and precious treat to be able to invite viewers back into the world that Jennifer created, and tell the definitive story of Absolutely Fabulous. We'll celebrate all of the most beloved Ab Fab moments, and hear the behind-the-scenes gossip from the cast and crew, as they reveal how they brought the show to our screens."

Absolutely Fabulous: Inside Out was commissioned by Kirsty Hanson, senior commissioning editor for UKTV, and ordered by Gerald Casey, channel director for Gold and Hilary Rosen, director of commissioning. It was developed by Amy Dallmeyer, director of development, entertainment for Expectation.

"Absolutely Fabulous captured the imagination of a whole generation of viewers and helped break the mould for female-led comedy TV forever" said Hanson. "Fans of the show are in for a real treat with Jennifer, Joanna, Julia and Jane reuniting for what promises to be the comedy event of the year."

Wicks, creative director, entertainment for Expectation, added: "We're overjoyed to make a show with Jennifer and Joanna that rejoices in all that was wonderful about Ab Fab - the most riotously funny show which satirised the era like nothing else whilst taking home more Baftas than Bolly in the process. Also it somehow predicted the future: now the whole nation's parents are drunken embarrassments to their sober and politically enlightened Gen Z kids."

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