Jennifer Saunders: The world has gone too politically correct for Ab Fab

Jennifer Saunders has said Absolutely Fabulous would not work today because “people are so politically correct now”.

The actress, 58, who played fashion PR Edina Monsoon in the sitcom and also wrote it, was speaking at the BBC Worldwide Showcase to celebrate 25 years of the series.

Jennifer and her co-star Joanna Lumley, 70, known for playing Edina’s sidekick Patsy Stone, also ruled out the show returning to screens again.

The champagne-sipping, chain-smoking duo delighted fans last year on the big screen for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, but Jennifer said that was their swansong.

Joanna and Jennifer attend BBC Worldwide together (Peter Byrne/PA)

She said: “I think it’s a very happy resolve.”

New Avengers star Joanna said it was best to “leave it where it is”, adding: “Also the world’s a bit funny now, it’s gone a bit strange, it’s a bit harder to parody.

“Because so much of the world right now is so grim, and hard and fearful, and people so take affront at everything.”

Jennifer added: “People are so politically correct now, we couldn’t get away with anything, you can’t even get away to be a politically incorrect character, because that is seen as being politically incorrect.

“Everyone’s down on everyone for everything.”

For Jennifer, going back to watch old episodes is a “joy” due to having forgotten so much of the characters’ on-screen antics.

Remember these faces? (Ian West/PA)

“There’s so much I’ve forgotten, some of them come as a complete surprise,” she said.

Jennifer said she thinks the appeal of Ab Fab has lasted because it is not stuck in time, and also partly because Edina and Patsy are great hen party fancy dress options, giving people a chance to free themselves.

She said: “If you pretend to be Eddy and Patsy, they give you an excuse to have a hen party every night of the week.

“People enjoy the fact that they don’t care and it gives them a chance to not care.”

Joanna said: “Because they’re pretty extreme it means gay people can dress up as them and it’s funny and lovely.

“The thing is, it’s high satire, and it’s just very funny and I think one thing I love the human race for is its sense of humour.”

She added: “And it is a bit extreme, I think some of the best things are Edina’s costumes.

“If I ever feel blue I just think of some of the things Eddy has worn.”


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