Right, I’m going to be slightly undignified and spit the dummy! I am not, not, not, not, N-O-T, NOT going to blather on again about what Ab Fab’s all about – seriously, if you don’t know by now then you’re simply not fashionable enough to be reading this, OK darlings? You can either toddle off and read a Doctor Who review, chrome plate your pocket protector, click this link thingy for the review of Series One, or something...
Now for those that are still here, the simply gorgeous news is that in one appealingly slim and petite package we have a whole another series documenting the lives of Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley). Also tagging along are that frumpy little whatsit Saffron (Julia Sawalha), bubble-headed Bubble (Jane Horrocks), Eddie’s mum (June Whitfield) and... hey, has anybody ever noticed that everybody here has a name starting with ‘J’? Now THAT’s coordinating your life...
Elsewhere all manner of special guests clamber to get their faces on, from Britcom stalwarts such as Miranda Richardson, Adrian Edmondson, Jo Brand, Christopher Ryan, Kathy Burke, Mark Wing-Davey and Eleanor Bron, to those from the wider world such as Lulu, Britt Ekland, Suzi Quatro, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Lady Penelope and some elitist cow named Germaine Greer. Ahem. And so darlings, on with the shows!
After attracting tabloid attention over a sordid and somewhat drunken affair (the best kind, of course darling) with an MP, Patsy goes into hiding after her age is disclosed. Perhaps it’s time for some Hello! therapy? Meanwhile, Eddie’s off to hospital after stubbing her toe – so Pats tags along for moral – and facial – support.
While Saffy’s understandably upset at the passing of her grandfather, Eddie’s too busy worrying about her own mortality. Whilst amidst the chaos her daughter tries to organise the funeral, a spot of retail therapy is the order of the day for Eddie, after all darling, she has to have something to bequeath to the nation upon her death!
Edina is promoting a range of sunnies called ‘PopSpex’, and convinces Pats to run a feature on them in the magazine she occasionally wafts by under the pretence of working for. So, it’s off to Marrakech (it’s in Morocco, darling) for a photo shoot, with Saffy tagging along – although if she knew she’d be sold into slavery then she may not have been so eager...
New Best Friend
Old friends of Eddie’s are coming to stay, so in an effort to tidy up Pats is left on the outer. Jealous and feeling neglected, she searches for a new best buddy, until Edina escapes the no fun baby world disaster her house has become and tries to make amends. A flurry of oneupwomanship is then on for young and old – who can land the most famous new pal?
It’s a crisis, darling! Harrods have stopped delivering, and with times becoming a little tight with no maintenance payments coming in, Saffy sends Edina and Patsy off to face one of those curious ‘supermarket’ thingies. Heavens no, could Eddie actually have to adjust to being p... p... p... fiscally challenged?
Ooh, does Saffy actually have a pulse? She’s planning a night in with her boyfriend (!), however it all goes horribly wrong after Patsy kind of burns down Eddie’s kitchen, everybody moves into the sitting room and then kind of get locked in by Gran. It’s time for some mother and daughter bonding and a touch of introspection – and we’re not talking about a Pet Shop Boys album sweeties...
Visually things are hardly the height of fashionable chic, as with this series dating back to 1994 things like widescreen television transmission and DVDs were all but twinkles in they eyes of techno-boffins. As you would expect then, all is full frame and not 16x9 enhanced.
Like most every other BBC show that has made the journey onto little shiny disc, the picture is about the best you’ll ever see it, without being super-fab. Almost entirely shot on video, save for the occasional outdoors scene, while colour is generally gorgeously vivid – sometimes almost blindingly so when it comes to many of the more creative ensembles Edina wears, detail is only really so-so and there’s a bit of aliasing here and there that tends to be quite noticeable. Whilst most episodic releases such as this manage to hide the layer change between episodes, this disc plonks it at around the eight and a half minute mark of the fourth episode – and mid-scene as well. Needless to say it is more obvious than Patsy in a nunnery.
If any surround speakers or subwoofwoofs are reading this, and are looking to take a vacation – may we suggest this disc? Yep, not surprisingly it’s bog (oh, such an un-pretty word, sweetie!) standard Dolby Digital stereo on this one, and whilst it may not be particularly exciting, it does at least do its job well – delivering everything as clearly as it is indeed possible to deliver sometimes hysterical or drunken outbursts. It’s all synched perfectly, the flange-o-rama cover of Dylan’s This Wheel’s On Fire by Julie Driscoll and Ade Edmondson returns as the theme song once more and, well, let’s move on, shall we?