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Co-stars Lumley and Saunders reveal initial Ab Fab tensions

Published 24/06/2016

Joanna Lumley (right) said she did not immediately hit it off with Ab Fab co-star Jennifer Saunders (left)
Joanna Lumley (right) said she did not immediately hit it off with Ab Fab co-star Jennifer Saunders (left)

Joanna Lumley had reservations about doing Absolutely Fabulous and did not "hit it off" immediately with her co-star Jennifer Saunders, she has said.

The actress, best known for playing Patsy Stone, told of the awkwardness of the first script read-through with Saunders for the show's pilot.

The BBC sitcom first broadcast in 1992, introducing viewers to Saunders' PR character, Edina Monsoon, and her boozy magazine editor friend, Patsy.

Lumley told Graham Norton: "It was very awkward at the read-through. It was just the two of us and she just stared at me. I told my agent I didn't want to do it and she said 'It's just a pilot, just do it'."

Saunders added that initially Lumley was not "what I had in mind for Patsy".

"I saw her as a low-life journalist," she said, "But Joanna brought so much more to the role and we had fun inventing the character."

Absolutely Fabulous The Movie will be released on July 1 and features a number of big-name celebrity cameos from the likes of model Kate Moss and Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

Saunders said: "The funny thing was I had sold the idea of the movie to the studio and the BBC and then realised I hadn't actually asked Kate. Luckily she said yes and was really cool about it."

Australian actress Rebel Wilson, who also has a cameo in the film, said she wrote a letter to Saunders begging her for a part.

She told Norton: "I had hoped to be Patsy's long lost child - the one she forgot she'd had!"

American singer Iggy Pop, 69, spoke about retiring, telling Norton: "I will step back at some point. Another album would be a big undertaking from an old git like me!"

:: The Graham Norton Show is on BBC One at 10.55pm

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