In 1992, the BBC debuted Absolutely Fabulous, which followed the luxurious trend-chasing debauchery of publicist Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders, co-creator with Dawn French) and her best friend, fashion-magazine editor Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). The sweetie-darlings are back, Champagne flutes and ciggies at the ready, eurozone crisis be damned, sending up the latest fads, dubious fashion, and marginal celebs with a three-episode twentieth-anniversary special.
For two decades now, Ab Fab has been skewering the fashionista, the has-been, the fame-adjacent. What do you make of the Kardashians?
I came to the Kardashians a bit late, and I’m still just gob-smacked. Who are these people? These kind of near-reality, not-really-realities, reality shows, we have them over here now: The Only Way Is Essex, Made in Chelsea. They’re just full of freaks. There was only one Kardashian and then suddenly we’re interested in three. I just find it so depressing—in a funny way. It’s gotten to a point where even Eddy and Patsy aren’t interested [laughs].
Patsy has a couple of rude awakenings on the show, not least of which is learning that she hasn’t been 39 for many, many years now. How old is she?
Patsy must be seventysomething. She’s a lot older than Eddy; she was much bigger than any other child in the class since she went to school late.
What lurks in that updo aside from her drug stash?
It’s hideous. You wouldn’t want to go into any detail.
And Eddy is now 60, older than you.
Seven years older than me. I like that they’re a bit older. It kind of makes sense because they can almost not give up trying, but they can do it a little less and not worry about it.
She’s still trying to be au courant, thinking she’s down with the Brixton scene, saying things like wa gwan—“What’s going on?”—listening to dubstep.
Eddy still forces herself to listen to a rap record—did you hear I said record? [Laughs.] I actually had to ask what would be a cool thing for her to say.
How did this special come about? Joanna mentioned the possibility when she starred on Broadway in La Bête.
It was mainly because she announced it that we did it. She said, “Darling, I told them in New York that you’re going to do a few more.” I said, “Oh, well, got to tell the BBC.”
Now there are rumors of an Ab Fab movie. Not sparked by Joanna.
Yes, I’m definitely going to do it. I’m aiming to shoot this in a beautiful part of the Riviera. I fancy the south of France in the spring.
• Our Full Interview With Saunders on Vulture
January 8 on BBC America and LOGO.