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Jennifer Saunders recalls a champagne war she started by writing Ab Fab

Jennifer Saunders went to war with champagne brands while writing Absolutely Fabulous – her iconic sitcom focused on the life and trials of a fizz-soaked public relations guru.

The 62-year-old played lead star Edina “Eddy” Monsoon across all 39 episodes of the comedy smash – while 75-year-old icon Joanna Lumley played chain smoking side-kick Patricia “Patsy” Stone.

The duo famously knocked back bottles of Bollinger champagne, but Jennifer has now revealed she had a secret clash with the bubbly company as they refused to send free bottles to be features on the show.

Jennifer exacted her revenge by giving a spotlight to rival champagne brand Veuve Clicquot – before Bollinger ultimately came to their senses.

Jennifer Saunders had a secret war with champagne companies while making Absolutely Fabulous

The Sun on Sunday quotes the comedy icon explaining: “Bolly wouldn’t send us any for the first couple of series.

“They were this sort of posh French house and didn’t do that sort of thing.

“There was a series where we went to Veuve and that was because Bolly was p***ing us off.”

Fortunes changed when Bollinger ultimately realised they were missing out on a huge marketing opportunity by snubbing the show.

Veuve Clicquot
Jennfier wrote scenes for Veuve Clicquot to get back at Bollinger after they shunned the show

Jennifer said: “Someone young took over and just went: ‘Are you crazy?’ So then they started sending us some.”

Ab Fab ran for five series, 32 episodes, and seven specials between 1992 and 2012 – and even enjoyed a successful spin-off movie in 2016.

The series was a ratings smash – pulling in almost 10 million viewers at it’s peak – and spawned a spin-ff show called Mirrorball and a French version titled Absolument Fabuleux.

Jennifer recently said she thinks Ab Fab wouldn’t be made if it was launched today as she feels the writing would be considered too offensive for modern day viewers.

She said earlier this week: “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’.”

Jennifer hints sensitive viewers could be stifling comedic writing.

She said: “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.”

Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer fears comedy is being undermined today by ‘sensitive’ viewers

Jennifer described how there were many more alternative comedians in her early days and her comments come after a host of classic comedies were hit with “woke” discriminatory language warnings on the BBC.

Shows to receive the “treatment” so far include Dad’s Army, Blackadder and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Fawlty Towers has also had scenes removed, much to the anger of it’s creator John Cleese – who has blasted the broadcasters in the past for editing his work.



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