Absolutely Fabulous (also known as Ab Fab) is a British sitcom created and written by Jennifer Saunders, who also plays the leading character. Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha co-star, along with June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks. Three series and a two-part specials were broadcast on the BBC between 1992 to 1996; the series returned between 2001 to 2004 for two series and two specials, followed by a Comic Relief mini sketch broadcast in 2005. The series is rumored to be returning sometime in 2011.
Absolutely Fabulous grew from a French & Saunders sketch called Modern Mother and Daughter, which starred Jennifer Saunders as the mother (named 'Ariadne') and Dawn French as the unnamed daughter. The series has no connection, other than the character's name, to the earlier film Eddie Monsoon: A Life?, a comedy play written by Saunders' husband Adrian Edmondson in 1984 for the TV series The Comic Strip Presents.... The name Eddy Monsoon is derived from Edmondson's name and is a nickname of his.
According to an article published in The Times the character of Edina was based on Lynne Franks. Franks believed Saunders had observed her and her children in detail after joining them on a family holiday. Josh Howie, Franks' son, reported that his mother was upset because one of her best friends "had taken the piss out of her" in a TV show.
Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone are two immature, chain-smoking, alcoholic, prosperous but preposterous substance-abusing fashion and fad-obsessed Londoners who value fame and style over substance. Saffron, Edina's disapproving daughter, provides the persistently dour voice of disapproval. Edina and Saffy live in Holland Park (although most describe it as Shepherds Bush much to Eddy's annoyance), with Patsy spending most of her time there. Saffy acts as a caretaker to Eddy, who appears incapable of any domestic tasks.
The programme circles around Eddy's ongoing struggle to achieve success and a slender figure amidst the disapproval of her daughter and presence of her increasingly senile mother. Throughout, Patsy is at her side encouraging the behaviours that are constantly causing her conflict. Edina and Patsy's frequent intoxicated behaviour provides much of the comedy. The mutual loathing between Saffy and Patsy, as each tries to guide Edina's behaviour, also makes for many comic situations. Saffy sees Patsy as a bad influence on her mother.
In the first series, Saunders' long term comedy partner, Dawn French guest starred as a morning television presenter in the episode titled "Magazine". French's character was called Kathy and did not actually appear with Saunders. She instead appears in the scene where Patsy must dress Saffy and "Mrs M" in fashionable clothes and puts Saffy in a silver chain link dress with letters hanging off.
The theme song for Ab Fab is called This Wheel's on Fire written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko and performed in this instance by Julie Driscoll and Adrian Edmondson. The song was also sung by Marianne Faithfull and Marcella Detroit for The Last Shout Special in 1996. This version does not appear on the new BBC Video DVD release. Hermine Demoriane sang a French version of the theme song over the closing credits of the episode 'Paris'. At the end of the episode 'Birthday' Edina and Patsy sang the song together using a karaoke machine. More recently, it has been sung by Blondie lead singer, Debbie Harry along with Saunders' husband Adrian Edmondson as well, who also guest-starred in the 2002 Christmas Special "Gay". For series four, the theme tune was augmented with a line by David Bowie, singing "Ziggy played guitar" at the end of each episode. Due to copyright issues, the theme song is missing from many of the US Region 1 DVDs, being replaced by an instrumental version of the song. Also excised from the US DVD release is the musical number from "Chicago" performed by Horrocks, Gaffney and Ryan, during a dream sequence in series 5, "Birthin'". In addition to the official theme song, in 1994, the Pet Shop Boys recorded a song for Comic Relief using excerpts of dialogue from the series put to dance music. The music video featured clips from the show and specially recorded footage of the Pet Shop Boys with Patsy and Edina.
In the United States, Absolutely Fabulous has been broadcast on Comedy Central, PBS, BBC America, and Oxygen Network. In Canada, since 1994, all episodes have been broadcast on BBC Canada, the CBC and The Comedy Network. In Australia, all series were originally shown on the ABC, and on cable it aired on UK.TV and moved to The Comedy Channel in 2007. Repeats of the first three series were also shown on the Seven Network. The ABC continues to show it sporadically and shows Christmas Specials and occasional repeats of series 5 or 6 episodes. In Portugal, it was shown in RTP2. In Ireland, the series aired on RTÉ Two up until its final series. In Serbia, the first series was aired in 1998, through a network of local television stations; in 2004 the series was aired in its entirety on B92 while in the Czech Republic all episodes have been shown. In the Republic of Macedonia, all episodes have been shown a couple of times on Sitel. In the Netherlands and Flanders, the series is popular, still being regularly re-broadcast by the VPRO and Canvas (Belgium), respectively. In Sweden, the show is broadcast by TV4 Plus. In Germany, it was broadcast by the Franco-German TV network arte and is currently shown on TIMM. In France, before it was rerun on terrestrial TV arte, it was successively premiered on Pay TV channel Canal +, cable channel Jimmy and is now broadcast on France 4. In Finland, the series was broadcast by YLE TV1. In Estonia, the series was broadcast by ETV. In Brazil, it was aired on Multishow. In Poland, two series were broadcast by Wizja Jeden, later by TVP3 and BBC Entertainment. New Zealand broadcast all five series on TVNZ One which is free to air and UK.TV Broadcast from 2007—2008 All five series. In India, all five series, including the specials, have been shown on BBC Entertainment.
Absolutely Fabulous inspired a French feature film, called Absolument fabuleux, in 2001. This was written and directed by Gabriel Aghion, and starred Josiane Balasko as Eddy and Nathalie Baye as Patsy. Jennifer Saunders had a small cameo alongside Catherine Deneuve as a spectator at a fashion show. Amanda Lear was asked to play the part of Patsy but turned it down laughingly, saying she'd "already lived it". A proposed American remake that would have starred Carrie Fisher and Barbara Carrera was put into motion by Roseanne Barr but never got off the ground. However, Barr did incorporate many elements of the show into the final series of her eponymous show Roseanne in which her character wins the lottery, Saunders and Lumley reprise their Absolutely Fabulous characters Edina and Patsy. Mo Gaffney also appeared in the episode, but not as her character Bo. It was announced on 7 October 2008 that an American version of the series was in the works. The series was to be relocated to Los Angeles. Saturday Night Live writer Christine Zander worked on the new scripts and would have been executive producer along with Saunders and BBC Worldwide's Ian Moffitt. Sony Pictures Television, BBC Worldwide and indie Tantamount were producing the new series for Fox, which greenlighted the pilot as a possible Fall 2009 entry with Kathryn Hahn as Eddy and Kristen Johnston as Patsy. In May 2009, Fox decided not to commission a full series.
Mirrorball was a show written by Saunders that featured a completely different plot and set of characters, but starred all of the main cast of Absolutely Fabulous. It did not progress beyond the pilot episode; however, it ultimately inspired Saunders to write another series.
Absolutely Fabulous was initially released on VHS in the UK by BBC Video ending with the 8-VHS box set series 1—4 in November 2002. All episodes were later released on DVD including a 5-DVD box set titled The Complete DVD Collection: Series 1—4 in 2002. All releases were distributed by BBC Video and 2 Entertain (after 2004) except for The Last Shout which was released by Vision Video Ltd. and Universal Studios.
In North America, all episodes have been released on DVD by BBC Video and Warner Home Video, including a complete collection named Absolutely Everything. The UK releases The Last Shout and Gay were released together in a collection called Absolutely Special in 2003. Another feature length special White Box was released exclusively to the American market and has never had a UK release.
Other releases include Absolutely Not, a bloopers and outtakes collection, and Absolutely Fabulous: A Life, a mockumentary including 15 minutes of new material interspersed with clips from the series. Both were only released on VHS in the UK, the latter was also released as a special feature on the box set release Absolutely Everything in America.
The pilot of "Mirrorball" is included in the Special Features of the American and UK DVD release of the fourth series. Several jokes and plotlines of the pilot episode were used in the eventual series premiere of the fourth series of Ab Fab, albeit with the original characters.
Jennifer Saunders as Edina Monsoon (1992–2004) :
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. Edina is the owner of a successful metropolitan PR company. It seems that this stems partly from her being at the right places at the right times, and around the right people, from the late sixties to early eighties. In a few episodes, she actually demonstrates the creativity, organisational ability and shrewd business sense that have made her successful. She constantly dresses in the extremes of current high fashion and refurbishes her home to keep up with current trends. She is frequently immature, self-absorbed and lacks self-control and her daughter Saffron is forced to take on the parental role. She is also easily led by best friend Patsy. Several times through the series, she demonstrates genuine affection and concern for her daughter, although her good intention sometimes lead to ridiculous extremes.
Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone (1992–2004) :
Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone, always called Patsy, or Pats – is the last of a string of children born to an aging bohemian mother in Paris. She and Eddy were childhood friends, and since her mother despised and neglected her—regarding her more as a rival than a daughter—she came to rely on the Monsoons for most of her food (though she has only been seen eating twice), shelter and comfort. The first few years of her life were spent locked in a room, and the rest of her childhood was dismal by Patsy's own description, without friends, parties or presents. She claims to have blocked out everything before 1968, though occasionally memories come back to her in the form of flashbacks. She is an outrageous, nymphomaniacal, past-her-prime fashion model and "ex-Bond girl" (although Patsy's only actual "Bond" film was Bond Meets Black Emmanuelle, Joanna Lumley was a genuine Bond Girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service) who drinks like a fish and smokes like a chimney. She shares a codependent parasitic existence with her old schoolfriend Eddy. This relationship usually results in hilarious, albeit dysfunctional, behaviour and over-the-top conflicts. Patsy was born on 30 October, although her actual age is never clearly divulged, she often states herself to be between 39 and 43. In one episode ("Cold Turkey") a nurse guesses that she is around 65 years old. Patsy also has a sister named Jackie, 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 replies "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 her chief rival Saffy, 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. Unlike Eddy, she is usually conservatively, but stylishly dressed, and almost invariably wears her hair in a characteristic blonde beehive. She has a well-paying, do-nothing job as a fashion director for a fashion magazine, which she received after sleeping with the publisher. She then went on to work in "Jeremy's"—an exclusive high street fashion store, with celebrity clients such as Minnie Driver. It is hinted that Patsy has been involved in some questionable activities, such as adult films; she uses her knowledge from that time to blackmail Saffron's prospective mother-in-law. At a party to launch a new Beatles track in the episode 'Schmoozin', Patsy's appearance in the low-budget soft porn movie "Booberella" is shown to the guests, much to her embarrassment. When faced with a situation that someone else might find alarming or disconcerting, Patsy often responds with a cool "right cheers, thanks a lot." During the 1970s in Morocco, Patsy underwent a sex change and briefly lived as a man; but, as Eddy says "It dropped off". In a later episode she becomes one of the few tourists to smuggle marijuana into Morocco. She is very promiscuous up until "The Last Shout", then begins to lose her power over men. In two episodes ("Door Handle" and "The Last Shout"), it is revealed that Patsy lives in the storeroom above Oddbins, a chain of UK liquor stores. She says that she has not eaten anything since 1973, having had a "stomach bypass". She is shown in a flashback in the episode "Magazine" to be eating a plate of food. There are 2 other instances where she does eat. In the episode "New Year's Eve", she painfully chews and swallows a potato crisp, then is visibly shaken from having actually eaten something; and in the Christmas Special "Cold Turkey" she renders the entire assembly speechless by demurely asking for a small slice of turkey during Christmas lunch.
Julia Sawalha as Saffy Monsoon (1992–2004) :
Saffron Monsoon, Edina and Justin's daughter, was born on 17 March 1975 in London. In flashback sequences in the show, it appears that Edina intended to have Saffron adopted immediately after her birth and according to Patsy, they tried to abandon her on many occasions. 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, on the other hand, calls her "you little bitch troll from hell" etc. As the ever-virtuous intellectual, Saffy is the perfect foil for Eddy and Patsy, enduring abuse from both, especially regarding sex. Many times Eddy and Patsy refer to her as being virgin, and even she herself makes comments regarding it but in the chapter "Morocco" it is suggested that she may no longer be one: In the episode Humphrey, a "dirty old man" hedonistic acquaintance of Ed and Pats, after rudely introducing himself to Saffron by fondling her, invites the young lady to allow him to spread a mixture of honey, yogurt and almonds over her body and allow "...a man old enough to be your father to lick it off." Of course she lets the suggestion pass. There is cause to wonder though because, when the episode ends with Eddy and Patsy waking up from a 3 day substance abuse binge needing to return home, mum notices a smell like almond and honey on her daughter and as they leave the good-looking young Moroccan room attendant gives Saffron a knowing wink. You are left wondering how far the young lady may have actually gone, but it is evident she has had some sort of intimate contact. Little matter however as even after the trip to Morocco Saffy is still defending herself by constantly criticising her mother and Patsy, remorselessly assuming the moral high ground and the voice of reason. However, her mother's neglectful ways, innumerable slights, and occasional outright cruelties have taken their toll, making her excessively serious and rather bitter. Saffy is seen to defend her mother, especially from the controlling influence of Patsy. Saffy encourages her mother to have a boyfriend and an active sex life, something Patsy denies her (presumably for fear of losing the constant attention she craves). Saffy performs nearly all the domestic tasks (even for a brief period when she leaves home), due to her mother's complete inability to look after herself. Saffy was also the only one to grieve when her maternal grandfather died, in contrast to the complete indifference to her Mother and Grandmother. She dresses conservatively and almost always behaves responsibly; as a result, many unpleasant chores come her way, and she frequently must rescue Patsy and Eddy from sticky situations. Despite this, Patsy resents Saffy so intensely that once she even sells her into slavery in Morocco. Her mother sometimes treats her affectionately, and in one episode even defends her honour against a married-with-children college professor, who deceitfully tries to seduce her, by punching him in the face. Throughout Edina longs for a more exotic, fashionable daughter, and frequently tells her so. Saffy, for her part, passionately wishes to belong to a more normal family, and is once arrested for spying on a random family for her "Observations Diary." Her older brother Serge ran away from home in desperation as a teenager and never calls or writes; nevertheless, he's Eddy's favourite child, even though she can no longer remember what he looks like. In series 4, after completing her education, she writes a play about her life with her mother called "Self Raising Flower"; she means the play to be tragic and is confused when the audience starts laughing. At one point, she becomes involved with New Labour, and says her role model is Cherie Blair. In series 5, when she 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, John Johnson, 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, Saffron became the legal owner of the house in which she and Eddy live; it had previously belonged to her father. In the final episode, she at last liberates herself from her mother and Patsy by throwing them out.
Josh Hamilton as Serge (2002) :
Serge Turtle appears to be Edina's eldest child and beloved only son, fathered by Marshall, despite being her second husband. He ran away from home as a teenager, in a fit of desperation. He is revered by Edina, her favourite child and often used as an example to Saffy of what an ideal child should be in Edina's eyes. In the earlier series of the show, Serge is an unseen character whose whereabouts are referred to occasionally by Saffy, who seems to be in close contact with him. In the 2002 special 'Gay', Serge, played by Josh Hamilton, makes his first and only appearance, as the story revolves around Edina and Patsy finally taking a trip to New York, where Edina plans to track down her son who, she learns from her mother and Saffy, is gay. Although clearly older than Saffy, since he left home while she was still a schoolgirl, Serge is the offspring of Edina's second marriage (to Marshall), whereas Saffy is the child of her first (to Justin). On arrival in New York, Eddy and Patsy track down Serge to a New York bookstore and at first mistake his partner—a flamboyantly gay American named Martin—for Serge. Eddy is disappointed at first to find her son is actually a more reserved and bookish young man, something of a male counterpart to Saffy. However, she embraces her son, who finally reveals that he left because his of mother's overbearing attitude and because she burnt his beloved books due to a claimed allergy to books (however Patsy says they did it because they were cold). After a somewhat tense stand off, Serge agrees to accompany his mother around New York. The episode eventually ends with a flashback, showing that Eddy adopted Martin as her son in New York.
June Whitfield as Mrs Monsoon (1992–2004) :
Edina's mother, Mrs. Monsoon, is a good-natured woman who often acts rather senile. She is despised by her daughter Edina but much loved by her granddaughter. She has an ambiguous relationship with Edina and seems to regard her with indifference, giving all her motherly devotion to Saffy. In the earlier series, she is a valuable ally for Saffy in her struggle for domestic control, often mentioning embarrassing facts from Eddy's and Patsy's childhood. Edina addresses her, usually indirectly, as "The Old Woman," only very occasionally as "Mother". Edina's insults never seem to affect her; in fact, she usually manages to drop a few hard-hitting but humorous insults of her own. Sometimes she recognises the eccentricities of Edina, Patsy and visitors to the house. At times she even seems to see the dysfunctional qualities in Saffy. In the first episode, she is apparently not in regular interaction with the other characters, appearing only in Edina's flashback to her teenage years. By the second episode Fat she is in evidence visiting Edina's home to see Saffy. By the third episode France when she meets Patsy there it seems the two have not seen each other in many years ("Still blonde then?", remarks Mother); here Patsy seems to resent her and apparently the feeling is mutual. After this it is apparent that like Patsy, Mother is a regular visitor to Edina's home, and that Patsy and Mother seem basically to like one another, despite the odd snide comment. Later episodes reveal that Mother had been a sort of surrogate mother to Patsy, whose own mother neglected her; however, their relationship is ambiguous. Patsy shows her some respect, even helping her and calling her "Mrs M". Mrs Monsoon sometimes makes condescending remarks about Patsy, even in her presence, once telling Edina that "poor dear sad old Patsy" is not a suitable or reliable friend. Mother has occasionally confused a transvestite for Patsy. When Mrs. Monsoon's husband dies ("Death"), Edina infuriates Saffy by responding to the news with a blank stare and the question "Did he leave a will?". Mother doesn't seem to care much either, realising that she'll have a bit more room at her house. Oddly, in this episode, Mrs. Monsoon states that she was married for "nearly forty years". It was established in series 1, episode 5, that Eddy turned 40, the implication thus being that Eddy was born before her parents were married. Mrs. Monsoon displays a kleptomaniacal streak at times, taking random items from Edina's household (mugs, ashtrays, clothing) and donating them to the charity shop she volunteers at. In series 4, episode 5, "Small Opening", she is seen to be stealing larger pieces of furniture and asks for Patsy's help to remove a wardrobe that has become "stuck on the stairs" that she is donating to Sheltered Housing. In only one scene throughout the entire run of the show are she and Edina alone together, and it's an awkward experience for both of them. After series 3, her mental faculties begin to decline and she increasingly inhabits a strange world of her own.
Jane Horrocks as Bubble (1992–2004) :
Bubble is Eddy's personal assistant, played by English actress Jane Horrocks. The character speaks with a strong Lancashire accent, exhibits a daft fashion sense and acts in an apparently foolish manner. She is unable to remember the names of common objects or understand basic concepts. Frequent comedic dialogue between Edina and Bubble involves Edina dragging vital information out of her unresponsive PA. Bubble's function in the PR company is simply to flatter Edina's vanity by comparison. Alongside her usual personality Bubble demonstrates rare glimpses of intelligence, even special abilities. She is revealed to be fluent in French but also speaks in French-sounding gibberish. Bubble has the most eclectic fashion sense out of all the characters. Her outfits are frequently bizarre, overtly theatrical and parodic of fashion. At one point in the show Bubble is made editor of Vogue magazine but it is unclear that she took up the position, eventually returning to Edina's company. Bubble resigns as Edina's PA on two further occasions: Edina dismisses Bubble for gross incompetence but Bubble sues—and wins—the right to keep her job. However, the details of her job are unspecified and she is demoted to Edina's maid. Bubble later abandons Edina when the PR company is on the verge of a takeover. Damon (played by Antony Cotton) replaced her as Edina's PA. Bubble's lookalike cousin Katy Grin (also played by Horrocks) is a slick but aggressive and arrogant television presenter who speaks with standard Received Pronunciation. Katy Grin shows no real affection for any of the characters and gleefully issues bitchy backhanders at the protagonists. She has an unnamed baby son born through artificial insemination from an anonymous father. The creation of Katy Grin was due in part to Jane Horrocks' reluctance to reprise the role of Bubble as the show progressed, turning down the chance to appear in the 1996 special The Last Shout. When the series was revived Horrocks urged Jennifer Saunders to replace Bubble with the character Yitta Hilberstam, an Icelandic waitress Horrocks had played in Saunders' sitcom pilot, Mirrorball. Horrocks ultimately returned to Absolutely Fabulous when Saunders created Katy Grin for series 4. Another character portrayed by Horrocks is the American character called 'Lola'. Lola worked with Bo and Marshall on their TV Ministry. The character appeared in the 2002 Special "Gay" and participated in Saunders' scathing parody of televangelism in the USA.
Naoko Mori as Sarah (1992–2004) :
Sarah, played by Naoko Mori, is a quiet, shy, studious girl and Saffron's best friend since childhood. In the beginning of the series, she rarely drinks, but by series 4, Sarah carried a flask in her jacket, drinking even while working as the stagehand on Saffron's play. Sarah is Saffron's Patsy-figure in tempting Saffy to try drinking alcohol and teasing her about her romantic endeavours, real or imagined. Because of her timid demeanour, Sarah is often the subject of Edina's derision and physical abuse. Edina consistently refers to her as "Titicaca" and once set her hair on fire with a candle. This triggered Sarah to seek professional counselling, which seemed to drive her into a deeper state of imbalance. In the series 4 and 5, Sarah starts to unravel, becoming more and more unstable, and eventually takes to stalking Spice Girl Emma Bunton, another friend of Saffron's. At this point, Saffy realises Sarah needs more professional help and reports her to the police.
Christopher Malcolm as Justin (1992–2004) :
Justin is Saffron's father and Edina's first ex-husband. He is gay and keeps an antique shop with his partner Oliver, a frequent guest in the earlier series. Justin tries hard to be the best father he can to Saffron and the two of them have what is probably the healthiest relationship on the show; however, he sometimes seems quite afraid of Edina, and it is never explained why he left the infant Saffy in her care. Justin and Edina put up with each other for Saffron's sake but are not always successful in carrying out this charade. At times Edina seems to be extremely bitter over the dissolution of their marriage, and she is also jealous of the warm relationship he shares with Saffy. Patsy and Justin have a variable relationship. They often act antagonistically toward each other, but other times seem to get along well. Oliver and Saffy are friends, even though he despises Patsy and loathes Edina. Justin is revealed to be Canadian and usually walks with a cane.
Christopher Ryan as Marshall (1992–2004) :
Marshall Turtle is Edina's second husband and father to Serge, Saffy's half-brother who managed to escape the Monsoon household early on. Numerous references are made to Serge throughout the series, but he is only seen once in a special late in the series. Marshall is an unsuccessful movie producer in Hollywood who later begins pursuing other money-making schemes with his wife, Bo. Bo dominates him easily, and when he is with her he seems more like a young child than a husband. Early in the series, however, Marshall manifests a more masculine, adult persona when he appears with Sondra, a grief therapist, and Cherysh, a classic California airhead. Although Marshall is generally kind to Saffy, perhaps pitying her for having to live with Edina, he does comply with Bo's attempt to steal her baby to be sold through their own private adoption agency to Hollywood actors wishing to adopt. It was hinted later in the series that Marshall had some homosexual feelings, which he explored with a leather daddy.
Mo Gaffney as Bo (1992–2004) :
Bo Turtle (née Chrysalis) is Marshall's wife throughout most of the series, although in series 1, she is one of several of Marshall's L.A. girlfriends. She is a loud and obnoxious American, but with warm and caring tendencies. However, on one occasion, she tried to steal Saffy's baby, but actually made away with the placenta. She is a nurse by training, but we see her in this role only once in the series when Patsy is living in New York. In the episode Birthin', Marshall reveals that Bo is currently a dental nurse, when she was trying to help Saffy deliver. Bo has many wacky wigs and costumes. She tends to have a drug and alcohol problem when she's experiencing hardships. Both Bo and Marshall experiment with different religious groups throughout the show, including Christianity, Judaism, and Scientology. Two of the series highlights for Bo involved her appearing on television. One was an infomercial where she was selling Staylene - "the non fat fat-eating product for the faith community". Later is the special White Box, Bo and Marshall were running an evangelistic Christian channel, scamming viewers out of money. PureGold! "Praise him!"
Bettina & Max :
Bettina & Max are the often mentioned designer friends of Edina's. Bettina is first mentioned in the original French and Saunders sketch 'Modern Mother and Daughter', but the character described in the sketch did not carry over into the series. Bettina is the "Queen of Minimalism" and was friends with Edina when they were youngsters, much to Patsy's annoyance. She married Max, another designer. They first appeared in flashback in series 2's fourth episode, "New Best Friend", when Patsy was injured by an art installation in their minimalist home. This precedes a visit from the couple to Edina's home in the present time. The impending visit infuriates Patsy, leading to a serious falling out with Edina, who is trying desperately to prepare her home for the minimalist designers. However, upon arrival, the couple are completely disorganised, slovenly, distraught and at odds with each other, mainly it seems thanks to the birth of their son, a baby whom neither seems able to cope with. After Eddy sleeps with Max, she ejects them from their home. The two reappear in the 2004 special "White Box", when Edina hires them to redesign her kitchen. Max is now gay and he and Bettina are divorced. Bettina is under heavy medication as a result of Eddy's interference in her marriage. There are several contradictions about these characters. In the series 1 episode "France", it is stated that Edina is in fact designing Bettina's kitchen as the first of her forays into interior design. In "White Box" it is stated that Bettina and Max's only child is a daughter, rather than a son. The daughter had herself taken into the care of the local authority.
Jackie Stone & Patsy's Mother :
Two members of Patsy's family are seen in the course of the series. Her mother, an Absinthe swilling, bohemian nymphomaniac (portrayed by Eleanor Bron), is seen in flashback in three episodes, and was said by Jackie to have given birth to numerous illegitimate children, with Jackie and Patsy being the last of them. This might technically make Jackie and Patsy half-sisters if they did indeed have different fathers, but it's not made clear that they did. Jackie however states "our father", and claims he could have been any of the men in any of the bars in France. In the series 1 episode "Magazine", Patsy recalls the misery of her upbringing for Saffy's benefit, which ends with her mother dying in a retirement home. In the series 2 episode "Birth" Patsy again recalls her relationship with her mother, this time recalling the trauma of her birth. Another flashback sequence in the series 5 episode "Cold Turkey" explains Patsy's aversion to celebrating Christmas thanks to her mother's hatred of the holiday. Patsy's sister "Jackie" appears in two separate episodes. In the series 3 episode "Happy New Year" Jackie (played by Kate O'Mara), visits Patsy and Edina on New Year's Eve 1994, hoping to be able to stay for the long term at Edina's house. Patsy aids her in stealing money and jewellery from Edina, before Jackie returns to Paris to run her charity for unwanted cats. In the course of the episode, it is revealed that there are many other Stone siblings, but nobody knows how many, as their mother "was such a slut". Jackie also forces Patsy to claim that she is the older of the two, by burning her with a cigarette. Jackie admits to being 72 years old when she is alone with Patsy. Jackie later returns in the series 5 episode "Cold Turkey", when she is summoned to the hospital where Patsy is feared to be dying, apparently from the effects of a voodoo doll in Jackie's possession. In the hospital, the two sisters recall how Jackie stole the 'only man Patsy ever loved'. After forcing Patsy to leave her everything in her will, Jackie prepares to murder Patsy through a massive heroin overdose. However, it is Jackie who is discovered dead the next morning, the implication being that Patsy managed to switch the tables and that she in fact murdered Jackie.
Fleur, Catriona & Magda :
Three recurring characters throughout all the AbFab seriess are Fleur, Catriona and Magda, played by Harriet Thorpe, Helen Lederer and Kathy Burke respectively. Initially, the three appear in series one, episode six, "Magazine" as colleagues of Patsy's. Magda is the editor of the magazine where Patsy is Fashion Director, whereas Fleur and Catriona are either editors or directors of other departments—their roles never being specified. Fleur is obsessed with make up, whereas Catriona just wants to feature her friends in the magazine at every opportunity. Magda speaks in headlines in a thick Cockney accent and rarely constructs a complete sentence, whereas Fleur and Catriona seem extremely dim. All three reappear at the beginning of series two, in the first episode "Hospital", when they gather around Patsy's hospital bed, prior to her plastic surgery. When Patsy visits the magazine's office again in episode 4, "New Best Friend", Fleur and Catriona are present discussing expensive beauty treatments that 'don't get you anything', while Magda is only mentioned. In this episode the office is populated by Hamish, the magazine's eloquent restaurant critic, played by Jennifer Saunders' husband, Adrian Edmondson; Carmen, a filthy mouthed travel writer played by Jo Brand; and Suzy, the layout artist who spends all her time playing video games, played by Meera Syal. In the series 3 episode "Fear" the trio meet up in Edina's kitchen, after the magazine has closed. Magda is appointed the new editor of HQ magazine in New York, taking Patsy with her and Edina offers Catriona the job of her PA, having fired Bubble. Fleur states she intends to fall back on her Revlon connections to find work. In the two part special in 1996, "The Last Shout", Catriona is still working as Edina's PA, although this seems to be temporary while Bubble is away editing French Vogue. Fleur and Magda are both guests at Saffron's wedding, which is the last time Magda appears in the series. By series 4, it seems that Fleur and Catriona have now become friends with Edina and Katy Grin. In episode four, "Donkey" they are part of a regular dining group with Edina, Patsy and Katy, and by the final episode of series 4, "Menopause", both are working for Edina in her TV production company. Catriona then joins 'Menopausals Anonymous' and attends a meeting held in Edina's house. The two appear again in the special "Gay", having returned from London Fashion Week with Patsy. In series five, episode six, "Schmoozin'", Fleur and Catriona appear to be working at 'Jeremy's' with Patsy and intend to complain to Jeremy about Patsy's behaviour. They rescind this when Patsy threatens to kill Fleur. Their final appearance is in the 2003 Christmas Special, "Cold Turkey" (aka "Drinkin'") when they visit Patsy in hospital. Like Bubble, the two characters seem extremely dimwitted, but somehow manage to hold down jobs at various magazines or shops. Catriona often appears to be oblivious of any conversations taking place around her, and indeed when the magazine they all work for closes, it isn't until much later, back at Edina's house, that she grasps the news, having been "in the loo" when the closure was announced.
Claudia Bing :
A rival played by Celia Imrie running a more successful PR agency (Bing, Bing, Bing & Bing) who seems to pick up her remaining clients. Claudia generally seems to have relatively unoriginal ideas and is probably less creative and talented than Edina - however, she often beats her by working hard. She manages to poach many of Edina';s clients when Bubble accidentally leaks their information through an email. With Edina's PR company on the brink of collapse, she manages to dupe Claudia into purchasing TV company - which has no programmes developed - and giving her back several high profile clients.
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