15 Fabulous facts about Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous is one of Britain's best-loved comedies, made wonderful by the fabulous characters of Patsy Stone and Eddie Monsoon. Here are some little known facts that all superfans should know.

1. Ab Fab started on French and Saunders

The series started out as a single sketch on French and Saunders, entitled "The Modern Mother and Daughter". Dawn French plays Saffron, a while behaved, mature daughter trying to get on with her homework. Jennifer Saunders plays Adrianna, as self-obsessed, immature mother. 

Watch the original French and Saunders sketch

 

 

2. Patsy Stone is born

The inspiration for casting Joanna Lumley as Patsy came from a sketch on The Full Wax (1991) in which Ruby Wax breaks into her home and encounters Lumely—a has-been actress at the end of her career, drunk, and addicted to cocaine. Up until then Joanna Lumley was perceived as an English rose and beloved actress.

Watch Joanna Lumley on The Full Wax

 

 

3. Eddy, Eddie and Adrianna Monsoon

The name of Jennifer Saunders' character, Eddy Monsoon, comes from her husband Adrian Edmondson. Edmondson had previously used the name Eddy Monsoon himself for a character that appears in The Comic Strip Presents. It is a play on his surname and had also been his nickname. In the original sketch, Saunders' character is called Adrianna, again a play on her husband's name. Adrian Edmondson (long time comedy partner to Rik Mayall) appeared in two episodes of Ab Fab, "Magazine" and "New Best Friend".

 

 

4. From Bob Dylan to Ab Fab song

On the subject of Adrian Edmondson, Ade performs the theme song "Wheels on Fire" with Julie Driscoll. The song was originally written by Bob Dylan and originally recorded by Dylan and The Band in their 1967 Basement Sessions. Julie Driscoll recorded a cover of the song in 1968 with Brian Auger and The Trinity. This version of the song is heavily associated with the psychedelic music era, due to its use of effects, and thus is associated with Eddie and Patsy's younger years.

Watch Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger and The Trinity

 

 

5. The alternative Saffy

Dawn French was originally supposed to play Edina's daughter Saffron. French only made one appearance in the first season of Ab Fab, "Magazine".

 

 

6. The age difference

Despite playing mother and daughter, Jennifer Saunders is only ten years older than co-star Julia Sawalha.

 

 

7. Patsy's full name is ridiculous

Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.

 

 

8. Patsy's Bond Girl days

In the episode "The Last Shout" Patsy says "when I was a Bond Girl". Joanna Lumley was indeed a Bond girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

Joanna Lumley as a Bond girl

 

 

9. The future Mr Bond

Idris Elba had his first speaking part in the episode "Sex", in which Joanna Lumley's character compares him to Sean Connery. A little foresight into the future where it's looking likely that Elba may well be the next Bond.

 

 

10. Born in the 1870s

It is revealed that Patsy's sister, Jackie Stone, was born in 1922. It is also stated that their mother gave birth to them when she was around fifty, meaning Patsy's mother was born in the 1870s.

 

 

11. Patsy is transgender

In the season two episode "Morocco" it's revealed that Patsy spent a year living as a man until, as Edina so eloquently puts it, "it fell off". Also in the series five episode "Schmoozin'", during a flashback to the sixties where The Beatles are recording Sgt. Peppers, Patsy is seen as a man. In interviews in the run up to Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, Joanna Lumley has said that Patsy Stone is indeed transgender. Making her the original over-50 transgender icon.

 

 

12. Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys created an homage to the show for Comic Relief in 1994, entitled "Absolutely Fabulous".

Watch the Pet Shop Boys' tribute (featuring Eddie and Patsy)

 

 

13. Bananrama's unlikely influence on Patsy and Eddie

It turns out that Bananarama was a huge inspiration for Ab Fab antics. In Saunders' words: "The nights with Bananarama were some of the best nights of my life, and I got a lot of gags from Bananarama because they were big vodka drinkers...when I started doing Ab Fab, I remembered all of the falls that I saw Bananarama do. I once saw one of them coming out of a cab bottom first and hitting the road, and I thought 'that's class'."

Watch Bananrama with French and Saunders' Lananeeneenoonoo

 

 

14. Jennifer Saunders is a procrastinator

Ruby Wax, the show's script editor, later revealed that Jennifer Saunders would write the script the evening before filming, and the only time Saunders produced an entire script was for the pilot episode, which she had written in pencil in an exercise book.

 

 

15. And finally, the film

Saunders had been planning on writing a film since 1995. She finally announced she had started the script in 2012, however, she had reservations as she felt the cast were too old. However, she succumbed to peer pressure saying, "Joanna Lumley kept announcing it and saying, 'Yes she's going to do it,' and then Dawn French on our radio show at Christmas said, 'I bet £100,000 that you don't write it,' so now I have to write it, otherwise I have to pay her £100,000'"

 

Buy Absolutely Fabulous box set here

 

Watch the Absolutely Fabulous movie featurette

 

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