Joanna Lumley: Absolutely Fabulous would be “too offensive” to make in 2021

6 November 2021, 09:00

Julia Sawalha, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous
Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous. Picture: 1. Edward Hirst/Shutterstock 2. Sipa/Shutterstock

The national treasure has looked back at the show, in which she starred alongside Jennifer Saunders, and said some of their jokes wouldn't be allowed today.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...
Radio X

By Radio X

Joanna Lumley has said Absolutely Fabulous would be “too offensive” to make now.

The 75-year-old played Patsy Stone in the iconic sitcom - which began in 1992 - a fashion director famous for her eccentric, chain-smoking, all-day boozing ways, starring in the show alongside Jennifer Saunders as PR guru Edina Monsoon.

Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha and Jennifer Saunders in the third series of Absolutely Fabulous in 1995
Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha and Jennifer Saunders in the third series of Absolutely Fabulous in 1995. Picture: Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

The show has many fans even decades after its release, thanks to the duo’s outlandish on-screen friendship, but Joanna says she believes some of the show’s more outrageous jokes would mean it wouldn’t get made in 2021.

She explained: "Some of Edina's language and some of her attitudes to things ... I mean they were just scandalous. You couldn't get away with it!"

READ MORE: Simon Bird reveals why Inbetweeners reunion will "never" happen

Although she accepted that society changes and therefore comedy must evolve with it, she did express frustration at how it limits what work comics can produce.

Speaking at the Henley Literature Festival, she added: "I know a lot of comics have felt that it's really making things difficult because you can't even joke about a mother-in-law anymore. So I don't think we could do it again."

Previously, her co-star Jennifer Saunders has spoken about her views on the future of comedy, which shares similarities to her former co-star’s opinion on “woke” culture.

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in the fourth series of Absolutely Fabulous in 2001
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in the fourth series of Absolutely Fabulous in 2001. Picture: AA Film Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Saunders previously said: "This is a modern thing, isn’t it? If someone says something it always has to be, ‘Oh, but sorry, you can’t say that’. I say, ‘Oh f--- off’. It’s not a crime to have an opinion or say something. It is always petty and small-mindedness that p**es me off — bigotry and small-mindedness.

“I think it has changed comedy like what we used to make. I think we would probably talk ourselves out of most of it now. It would be like, ‘We won’t have a good answer so let’s not do that.' I think people do talk themselves out of stuff now because everything is sensitive.”

Absolutely Fabulous ran for five series between 1992 and 2004 and later released three special new episodes between 2011 and 2012. It came to the big screen as Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie in 2016.

TRENDING ON RADIO X

Arctic Monkeys have announced European tour dates for next year

Arctic Monkeys announce 2022 European tour dates

Adele reveals 30 album release date

An Audience With Adele: ITV's release date & how to watch

Damon Albarn in November 2020, shortly before the finger-severing incident

Damon Albarn severed his finger while making pesto

An aerial view of the huge Oasis shows at Knebworth House, August 1996

10 of the biggest gigs in history