With its first three series, the popularity of Absolutely Fabulous just grew and grew. Millions tuned in every week for an outrageous helping of their favourite comic duo who drink, smoke and refuse to grow any older. Jennifer Saunders is once again superb as the evil and self-obsessed Edina Monsoon as is Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone. Julia Sawalha is brilliant as Edina's long-suffering daughter Saffy, but seems a little distracted from her performance; she was spot-on and perfect in Series 2. June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks are also excellent as Edina's mother and Bubble respectively. The two became big stars after their career-revival through Absolutely Fabulous, and rightly so! There is a big list of celebrity guests in Series 3, ranging from Kate O'Mara, Gary Beadle, Naomi Campbell, Lulu, Celia Imrie, Kathy Burke, Ruby Wax and Josie Lawrence.
Doorhandle is the first episode of Series 3 and a superb one to start it off. Edina's got an electronic organiser which controls her life. Apparently she got it free because, "It's the latest thing!" Since Patsy burnt down their kitchen in the Series 2 finale, Edina and Saffy's kitchen has been left in ruins. To begin with, Edina and Patsy fly to New York to buy a doorhandle! Happy New Year is just a classic episode, and one of the best in the show's history. It's New Year's Eve and Edina's house is full of all the people she hates - her mother, her ex-husband and his boyfriend Oliver, Bubble and Sarah (Saffy's best friend). Things only get worse when Patsy's older sister, Jackie, arrives on the scene. It's the first time they've seen each other in 20 years and she spoils Edina's plans in a big way for a night out on the town. Kate O'Mara plays Jackie as Patsy's older sister incredibly well and she gives some of the most hilarious scenes in the episode. For example, she says to Edina when she first meets Saffy, "Oh well, too late to flush her now!" In the end, Patsy discovers a whole different side to Jackie than she had ever dreamed of, and the revelation that she's 72 makes Patsy seriously question how old she is! Sex is an episode loved by a lot of people, but I don't quite see what the appeal is. After discovering a filthy magazine in her son's bedroom, Edina plans an orgy with a man of her choice - along with Patsy and her man! As usual, things go totally wrong and they're forced to race around to find Saffy's college lecture to recover the two tapes that are mixed up - one on science DNA, and the other one of Patsy's dirtier ones!
Jealous is one of the best episodes in Series 3. Edina and Patsy are attending the PR PR Person's Awards Dinner Of The Lunch Month. Edina hopes to win the top award, but fails against her arch-rival Claudia Bing. Even after choosing and bribing the judges, she still looses to that Bing woman! Naomi Campbell also stars in this episode as the stuck-up and very difficult supermodel who is pestered by everyone every minute of her life. Meanwhile, Saffy has a new love interest in a college lecturer. When the revelation that he is married with four children comes out, Edina's punch to the face sorts him out! Fear is probably the worst episode of Series 3, in which Saffy has now left home to attend college and after a bust-up with Edina, Patsy moves to New York, while Edina resides to the country to "find herself." The episode is good, but not much happens. The End is the final episode of Series 3. Edina and Patsy aren't finding much happiness in their new homes, and if the truth be told, they miss each other dearly - not that they'd actually confess to that. Edina decides to track Patsy down in New York, and the reunion on top of a skyscraper is a great moment to see these two life-long friends reunited at last. The two return home and are the subject to a screaming lecture from Saffy, before a hilarious look at what the whole bunch of them will be like in 25 years' time!
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
Series 3 of Absolutely Fabulous is a lot more sophisticated and aware of its popularity than Series 1 and Series 2 were. The jokes and gags keep on coming, almost at five-second gaps! The guest-stars are all superb, and the storylines which happen in each episode seem to be at their peak in Series 3 more so than in any other series of the show. The selection of 15 Minutes Of Out-Takes is brilliant and are almost as funny as the episodes themselves. Don't hesitate, buy Absolutely Fabulous Series 3 DVD now!