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Saffy arrives back from her home in Africa to find Eddy and Patsy preparing (sort of...) for the 2012 Olympic Games... Julia Sawalha, who plays Saffy, tells TV Choice more.
Eddy and Patsy are planning to rent out their home for the Olympics — so what’s the problem?
When Saffy arrives the place is in chaos. There’s a mess everywhere. Saffy’s mum Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are under the impression that the Olympics is still weeks away. But then they learn that Michael Douglas, the Hollywood royalty they are renting to, is on his way from the airport! Nothing ever changes with them!
But plenty has changed in Saffy’s life hasn’t it?
Oh yes! Eddy has been to prison — she served two years for fraud, having innocently got caught up in a scam providing fake passports for asylum seekers. And Saffy’s married — she’s husband John’s ninth wife — and she has a daughter Jane. And she lives part of the year in Africa. Plenty has happened to Saffy!
So what is she doing back home in London?
There’s always huge subtext going on for all of the characters in Ab Fab. We have discussions about the characters’ back stories that go on for hours, but you don’t see any of that in the script. We had a long debate about Saffy and why she says she plans to be in the UK for six months and then spend the next six in Nigeria. I think it’s that she doesn’t actually like being a mother and, furthermore, she’s not that brilliant at it. But then would she be? She’s not exactly had the best role model growing up with such a dysfunctional mother as Eddy!
But doesn’t she love living in Africa?
As much as she says she loves volunteering and doing great works, I think she really likes her home comforts. Saffy needs to come back and live in London with her luxuries — and a decent toilet! — for a while just to keep her going. Eddy, Patsy, Bubble, Mother and Saffy — they are all like homing pigeons. They always come back to that kitchen.
There’s been talk of an Ab Fab movie — maybe Saffy’s story will get more of an airing in the film?
Jennifer has talked about it but whether it will come to pass we'll have to wait and see. But it would be fun to do!
Will you be watching the Olympics?
I haven’t enjoyed the hype. I was like that about the Royal Wedding. I wasn’t interested but when it came to it you couldn’t peel me away from the TV! I was just going to turn on to see the dress. But I stayed and watched for hours. I know it will be the same with the Olympics. I’ll be glued to it.
What will you be watching in particular?
I don’t watch too much of the athletics. I like the gymnastics. How they perform on the beam and the bar and those rings. The strength and stamina they have is phenomenal. I know that I will be sitting there in awe.
Did you try for tickets?
I didn’t. I know what it’s like to try for tickets because I go to the Glastonbury Festival and that’s tough enough! I love the atmosphere of big live events but the television coverage is so good I’ll be happy to let someone else have the tickets and watch it at home in comfort.
Were you ever athletically inclined?
I did want to do gymnastics but my mother explained that it was different from ballet which I loved and that it would completely interfere with dancing which I’d been doing since I was little. Then I went to stage school — we didn’t even have a playground there! Now I go to the gym. I never want to go training but I always feel better afterwards. If I leave it three days my body feels very weak and out of stamina — I always feel fantastic when I have done it though. It’s good medicine.