Belfast Telegraph

Lumley: I could've quit Ab Fab

Joanna Lumley has revealed that she tried to get out of playing Patsy Stone when Absolutely Fabulous first started.

The 65-year-old played the boozy best friend to Jennifer Saunders' Edina Monsoon for six years, and the gang have just reunited for some special episodes.

But recalling the first read-through, she said: "I couldn't seem to make my character Patsy sound like the person Jennifer was hoping for. Jennifer wasn't very communicative and I thought she didn't like me.

"To save embarrassment I thought I'd better see if I could back out of it so they weren't stuck with someone they'd hate. I've quite a low opinion of myself in that sense. But that wasn't the case."

"Jennifer was shy, which is strange when you see people who can be so desperately funny."

Joanna's agent, however, persuaded the actress to stick with it.

"All I can remember is inventing a person, largely based on a cartoon version of me, who had her own life and history, and a way of walking with a hunched back and a sneery voice, and trying it out in scenes with Jennifer. Rehearsing for those shows was easily one of the happiest times of my life because we just laughed till we cried, day after day."

Yet she can't see any of herself in the hilarious, ghastly character she has developed.

"I'm not a party pooper but I can't bear drunkenness or people being drunk. It's great to make fun of it through the ghastly way they behave, falling around with their pants coming down," she said.

:: Absolutely by Joanna Lumley, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, is available now priced £20.

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