Celebrity appearances abound in the second of the Absolutely Fabulous twentieth anniversary special episodes, but I found this New Year’s Day installment less captivating than the Christmas Day episode. The humour seemed less sharp and the plot less well-developed, and all in all the excitement that I initially felt at the show’s return has now fallen a little flat.
As may be obvious from the title, this episode focuses on Eddy (Jennifer Saunders)’s job as daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) serves up some harsh truths, accusing her of never doing any work. Eddy sets out to prove her wrong, and before long she is representing chain-smoking Frenchwoman Jeanne Durand (Lindsay Duncan), one of Saffy’s favourite film stars. However as this, like most of Eddy’s ventures, seems doomed to failure, Jeanne is supposed to be singing at the Royal Albert Hall, yet not even coaching from Emma Bunton and Lulu can get sound to pass her lips. Weaved into the episode are countless intern jokes, appearances from Patsy (Joanna Lumley)’s colleagues Fleur (Harriet Thorpe) and Catriona (Helen Lederer), jokes about the recession and Duran Duran, and a surprise admission from Saffy. Plus the celebrities (alongside Lulu and Emma Bunton we have La Roux, Kirsty Wark and Mark Kermode), who seem to be there, like always, simply to be insulted by Eddy and Patsy.
It may not have been as dazzling as Identity, but any episode of Absolutely Fabulous will struggle to truly disappoint me, and Job is well worth half an hour of your time, if only to indulge in some traditional French-bashing (we’re British, it comes naturally to us)!
“Job” will be repeated on BBC One at 22:35 on Thursday 5th January, or can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until Thursday 12th January.