Joanna Lumley defiantly says woke mob ‘wouldn’t dare’ cancel Ab Fab

Joanna Lumley defiantly says woke mob ‘wouldn’t dare’ cancel Ab Fab


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With the news John Cleese is hoping to reboot the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers, Joanna Lumley found herself explaining why BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous wouldn’t follow suit. Nadine quizzed Joanna, in an interview set to air on Friday, about the possibility of her iconic character Patsy being “cancelled”, to which Joanna had the perfect response.

Patsy (played by Lumley) and her pal Edina (Jennifer Saunders) were staples in homes across the UK in the ‘90s thanks to their outlandish behaviour and controversial antics on Absolutely Fabulous. 

The duo’s risqué and often foul-mouthed scenes are exactly why Ab Fab proved to be such a hit three decades ago and to this day, but Lumley admitted it would probably fail to comply with today’s PC standards.

“What [Jennifer] wrote then, and the characterisation of Patsy, would she have been able to write that today?” Nadine asked Joanna in the pre-recorded interview. 

“That characterisation and to write the series as she wrote it then in today’s politically correct world?” Nadine reiterated.

Joanna was adamant as she replied: “No. Because this started in 1991, and the world’s changed so much since then. 

“I mean, you wouldn’t be able to smoke, you wouldn’t be able to drink, you wouldn’t be able to snort coke, even though it was… 

“I mean it was high satire on revolting people and it was just dreadfully funny and the wicked things Edina could say about people and the ghastly behaviour of Patsy – wouldn’t be allowed to do it now.”

Nadine then asked if Patsy would be “cancelled today”, to which Joanna emphatically answered: “They wouldn’t dare!”

Elsewhere in the interview, Nadine focussed on Fawlty Towers’ reboot with John Cleese at the helm.

Joanna weighed in on whether Ab Fab could enact similar plans, stating: “No. Jennifer said not, as she wrote it, no. 

“I think the thing is, that if something is stuck in your minds, like the 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers, which have become so legendary, it seems… It’s very interesting. 

“John is a very interesting and complicated person. And if he wants to have a crack at it, I mean it’s his show as much as it’s Connie Booth’s show, who apparently it was a bit of a shock to find it was being done.

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“But anyway that’s up to them,” she continued. “It won’t affect the 12 episodes people have grown to love. 

“But Jennifer is a very, very wise woman, apart from being a brilliant writer and a beloved friend and she just said no. No more.”

Ab Fab did run for slightly longer than Fawlty Towers did after first gracing screens in 1992.

The first three seasons spanned from 1992 to 1996 before taking a few years off the air.

It wasn’t until 2001 that the series returned for another six-episode season and a Christmas special, which featured a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg.

2003 welcomed another season of Ab Fab but this would be the last time Patsy and Edina would be on-screen together in the Noughties.

Joanna and Jennifer reprised their roles for the final time in a 2011 Christmas special and an Olympics special in 2012.

Friday Night with Nadine on TalkTV airs at 8pm. Available on Sky 522, Sky Glass 508, Virgin Media 606, Freeview 237 and Freesat 217 as well as on DAB, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Samsung TV Plus, YouTube, the Talk.TV website and TalkTV iOS and Android apps. 

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