Absolutely Fabulous is or isn’t, depending on your opinion. I couldn’t quite get into the show, occasionally hitting the mark but to me it had more misses than hits and watching this disc hasn’t changed my mind. Written by Jennifer Saunders, she also plays the decidedly off-the-wall Lacroix-obsessed Edina. She has a persistently drunk friend, Patsy (Joanna Lumley) with whom she runs a fashion business of dubious description and her daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha) is a frumpish teenager with a moustache affliction. Jane Horrocks turns her hand to the ditzy fashion receptionist Bubble, while June Whitfield, who never appears to age a day, is Edina’s mother.
It’s certainly been a huge success for all involved with three full series made so far and a “final” one-off special, “The Last Shout”, shown in two parts and also available on DVD, released before this disc and by Universal instead of the BBC.
Mirrorball was set to be the next big thing for Saunders and co., a pilot having been made last year which was shown in the US before we got to see it on Xmas Eve. It flopped and the prospect of a full series was cancelled, so the cast should be returning in something that Saunders said she would never write – a fourth series of AbFab.
All six episodes from series 1 are present: Edina and Patsy have too much to drink before their prestigious celebrity Fashion show, one thinks one is too Fat, sweetie, when it’s time to diet and France is an ideal getaway for a trip to Provence. Edina buys an Iso Tank to while away the frustrations, wants to adopt a Romanian baby and find out a way to attend Saffy’s college open day because she’s not welcome. In Birthday, Edina finds that anything but life starts at 40, while she finds a new man in Magazine, leaving Patsy jealous as she makes her trip to work, if only she could remember where it is.
The picture is in standard 4:3 fullscreen as filmed, but looks a little too soft without the series. It’s certainly watchable though. The average bitrate falls between 4.2-4.8Mb/s, depending on which episode you’re watching. The stereo soundtrack is purely functional, giving clear English dialogue, but nothing else is necessary.
There are 36 chapters to the series, the menus are static and silent and subtitles come in English only.
The extras are brief – 15 minutes of Outtakes, previously used on the Absolutely Not video release, the Original French and Saunders sketch from their show which runs for 8 minutes and a 12-strong Photo Gallery – but fans will find the DVD quality much improved over the VHS releases.
Running time: 195 minutes
Released: November 20th 2000
Region(s): 2, PAL
Disc Format: DVD 9
Director: Bob Spiers
Producer: Jon Plowman
Screenplay: Jennifer Saunders
Music: Simon Brint
Edina: Jennifer Saunders
Patsy: Joanna Lumley
Saffron: Julia Sawalha
Bubble: Jane Horrocks
Mother: June Whitfield
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.