Veteran comedian Jennifer Saunders can currently be seen fronting a campaign for (well, more of a rant against) chocolate Philadelphia - in the interests of in-depth reportage we called her up for a chat which took in fashion, Absolutely Fabulous, autobiographies, bizarre stories about her marriage as well as her involvement with the spread...
Did working on Absolutely Fabulous spark a personal interest in fashion?
"I suppose it gave me more of an eye for fashion rather than an interest in it - I wasn't really interested before. You know what designers do what. I suppose that is a bit of an interest, really, yes."
Who are your own favourite designers?
"Betty Jackson, who's my friend, was always my favourite designer and she still does her range for Debenhams. I do like Stella McCartney a lot [Stella actually makes a cameo appearance with Kate Moss in a Sport Relief special of Absolutely Fabulous - you can see a clip below] but her stuff is a little bit too small for me sometimes - I like people who cut big! [laughs] I love Donna Karan - I think DKNY is fantastic."
And how would you describe your Absolutely Fabulous character Eddy's style?
"Eclectic, bonkers, enthusiastic. She has no style, she just buys it in."
What's your favourite Eddy outfit?
"Most of them are quite uncomfortable. I have the odd pair of shoes I liked and she did once wear the coolest leather jacker which was gorgeous - I can't remember who did it - and
a big hat made of brown feathers - it was terrific. Oh! I'll tell you what - she wore a full-length silk Jean Paul Gaultier embroidered jacket with a zip up the front that was honestly divine. I've got the same jacket but in the short version but I always think 'That long version was terrific'."
Can we look forward to an exhibition of Eddy's outfits?
"They don't exist anymore. The BBC in its stupidity sold off the whole of the BBC costume department for no money at all to Angels. You'd never know how to get hold of it anymore. It was disastrous really."
Why do you think Eddy and Patsy have stood the test of time so well?
"I think they were slightly ahead of their time. It feels fresh now because some stuff we were talking about hadn't really happened then but has happened now. I remember doing an episode about celebrity culture and all the magazines and it was very new at that time. [But] it's more about people and character than it is about a particular thing. it's not really about fashion, it's about how people are."
Both Dawn French and Joanna Lumley have released autobiographies - is that something you're planning to do?
Not at all?
"It doesn't really interest me at all actually. I know someone's doing an unauthorised one at the moment which will be a load of rubbish. It seems slightly pointless - it's a bit haphazard and just cashing in really. I can't be bothered. I don't think Dawn would have done hers if that ghastly woman, Alison Bowyer, hadn't brought out a book about her. I think it was to try and rescue herself from what was written in there. People read these unauthorised bits of crap and think they're real - it's just wrong."
What's the strangest thing you've ever read about yourself?
"There was a point when we'd bought a building - a little office in Richmond - just up from our house and because we moved some furniture up there the papers wrote that Ade [Edmondson] had left me and was now living up the road. It was hilarious!"
Are you ever tempted to set the record straight?
"I think that way lies madness. The problem about all this crap nowadays is that whereas it used to be literally in the newspaper and then not, now it exists online for ages. We have Twitter now!"
And how did you get involved with chocolate Philadelphia?
"Just because they asked me - they sent me some stuff, they sent me some scripts which were funny and it was a no-brainer really."
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