Absolutely Fabulous Review: Over The Line With a Bang

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: Monday 23rd July, BBC1, 9.30pm

The coupling of Absolutely Fabulous and London 2012 seems like an odd one, especially considering that this could be the last-ever episode. After the two that aired over the Christmas period, this is the final of the three specials.

In this instalment, Edina rents her home to a Hollywood A-lister, unaware that they’ll be staying during the games. Not that she’s even aware that the Olympics start this week, of course. Her and Patsy have disliked sport ever since their school days, when they were forced to wear dreadfully unflattering PE uniforms.

Perhaps it’s far-fetched that Edina wouldn’t be aware of when the games start. After all, she lives in the London, where every last centimetre of solid matter has long been plastered with the child’s drawing-inspired London 2012 logo. However, she actually has a decent enough excuse for not knowing. It’s been everywhere for the past five years, she says. It’s like tinnitus; eventually you just learn to block it out.

Michael Douglas is the celebrity who’ll be staying and Edina is eagerly awaiting his arrival, certain that she can seduce him. Nobody has told her that she’s actually supposed to move out before Michael gets there, and to make matters worse, her home is unusually crowded. Saffy is back from Africa and Marshall and Bo turn up unannounced for the games.

It’s a fun and typically silly half-hour of comedy, with cameos from Edina’s new favourite fashion designer Stella McCartney, paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dame Kelly Holmes — although, amusingly, not Michael Douglas.

These cameos occur when Edina and Patsy, who is struggling to fend off the increasing signs of old age, crash a celebrity reception in the Olympic stadium. These bit-parts do perhaps border on the gratuitous side, but they are, fortunately, very funny.

“Dame, is it?â€? Edina asks Kelly Holmes, “What’s that for? Bit of running, was it?â€?

The episode isn’t overly kind to the games nor is it particularly mocking of them either. It strikes a reasonably good middle ground, with Saunders proving that she’s not afraid to poke fun at the guest stars.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a tenuous link for Absolutely Fabulous to have an Olympic games special—elite athletics and the world that Edina and Patsy inhabit don’t seem particularly well paired—but nevertheless, all things considering, it works surprisingly well. If this does indeed turn out to be the final episode of Absolutely Fabulous, then thankfully it’s a good one.