The Radio Times reports from the set of Ab Fab as a nation awaits series five.
St Mary Abbots Church hall, slap-bang in the middle of London's Kensington, has a village feel. On a glorious summer afternoon, the local WI appears to have overrun it, rehearsing their summer revue. In the kitchen are the remnants of a mound of Jaffa Cakes. If the ladies started making jam (or whipping their kit off), it would seem thoroughly in keeping.
But hang on, isn't that Julia Sawalha? And Jane Horrocks and Joanna Lumley? And that looks suspiciously like One Fat Lady Clarissa Dickson Wright, with former Spice Girl Emma Bunton. Film star Minnie Driver was here the other day, says Sawalha. 'Told us lots of Hollywood stories, which we liked,' she enthuses. Welcome to the world of Absolutely Fabulous - the whiff of oestrogen, and sisters doing it for themselves.
In the main hall, surrounded by jumble-sale props and a pile of scripts in the middle of a floor marked out with sticky tape, sits a lone woman scribbling furiously. For all Ab Fab's success, it's a show that, like Edina Monsoon, flies by the seat of its Alexander McQueen pants. Where TV execs usually balk at the prospect of a show's lone writer/star rolling up on a Monday morning with only the vaguest notion of what will go before the cameras on Friday night, Jennifer Saunders is cut a little slack.