Absolutely Fabulous returns with BBC anniversary shows

Edina and Patsy Absolutely Fabulous will resume in the present day, building up to the London Olympics

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Hit comedy Absolutely Fabulous is to return to BBC One later this year with three specials to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary, the BBC has said.

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley will return as Edina and Patsy along with other original cast members.

Julia Sawalha will resume the role of put-upon daughter Saffy, June Whitfield as Edina's mother and Jane Horrocks as personal assistant Bubble.

The award-winning series ran from 1992 to 2003 with a special in 2004.

It depicted the raucous, fashion addicted lives of PR guru Edina, with her constant weight battles, and her best friend, the glamorous sex-mad magazine editor Patsy.

Saunders, who is also the show's creator, said: "Like a good bottle of champagne we hope that we have got better with time without losing any of our sparkle.

"Last week when we started filming in dear old west London, it was as if nothing had changed. It was raining.

"Nevertheless, we are so happy to be working for an audience that has grown just a tiny bit older like us, but is still willing to let us fall over on TV in the name of PR."

'Surprising guests'

In the first episode, audiences will rejoin the ensemble in the middle of a "life-changing experience for one - which affects them all".

In the second show, Edina sets her sights on changing the career of someone described by the BBC as "a very big fish indeed".

In the concluding episode, Eddy and Patsy play their own part in the 2012 London Olympics.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

Jon Plowman, executive producer of BBC Comedy and original producer of the Absolutely Fabulous series, said: "Viewers have been fantastically loyal in their devotion to our show, so we're really thrilled to say that it's coming back for three new shows to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

"All of the originals who are back together again are still truly absolutely fabulous and the new adventures of Edina, Patsy, Saffy, Bubble and Mother, plus a few surprising guests, will be a real treat for viewers."

Since the show ended, the show's stars have been kept busy with diverse different roles and activities.

Saunders is involved in a one-off return of the Comic Strip for Channel 4 and is also writing a musical about the Spice Girls. She has also had to battle breast cancer.

Lumley has been very much in the public eye politically due to her campaign to help Gurkhas who retired before 1997 win the right to settle in the UK.

On TV, Lumley's career has continued to flourish, with shows such as Jam and Jerusalem, Mistresses, Marple and the ITV1 documentary series Nile.

Meanwhile, Sawalha has had success with the BBC One costume drama series Lark Rise to Candleford.

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