Absolutely Fabulous – The New Statesman – tape 1352

With this tape, we reach a small milestone for this blog. This is the last tape on my third 4TB hard drive of recordings. That’s 12TB of video watched wince this blog started. And there’s plenty more to come.

This tape opens with the end of an old-style Top Gear with Tony Mason looking at some bike racing, the kind of thing the programme never bothered with in its later incarnation.

There’s a trailer for We Have Ways of Making You Think, looking at Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. “Goebbels almost never tried to change the Germans’ view about anything. His secret was to reinforce previously held prejudices in an entertaining way.” Scary, given the news these days.

Then, Absolutely Fabulous, with what appears to be the first ever episode. It’s odd that the first tape and the last tape on this hard drive were both Absolutely Fabulous.

Eddy and Saffy

“I’m going down in history as the woman who put Princess Anne in a Vivienne Westwood basque.”

Now, it’s not that I dislike Absolutely Fabulous, but it’s not one of my favourite things, and I think that’s because it doesn’t really rely on having any plot, just lurching from one drunken scene of Patsy and Eddy to another.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th November 1992 – 21:00

In the next episode, Eddy is worried about her weight. We learn that Patsy is an admirer of Ivana Trump.


BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th November 1992 – 21:00

In the next episode, Eddy’s in France with Patsy, Saffy and Bubble. It’s a bit early in the series for the sit-com to take a holiday, isn’t it? They normally wait for the movie spin-off…

A relaxing holiday in France

Geoffrey McGivern plays a customs officer.

Geoffrey McGivern Absolutely Fabulous

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th November 1992 – 21:00

Saffy has some friends around studying. They’re all desperate to pretend they’re not massively well off.

Saffy doesn’t want Eddy to go to her school open day. But when they do go, they have flashbacks.

School flashbacks

Eddy accidentally adopts a lot of Romanian babies, but then we discover the whole episode was a dream, as Eddy was floating in an isolation tank.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 3rd December 1992 – 21:00

In the next episode, Eddy joins Patsy at her job at a magazine. Guest starring Kathy Burke as Magda the editor.

Kathy Burke as Magda

Helen Lederer also appears.

Helen Lederer in AbFab

Ade Edmondson too

Ade Edmondson

Eleanor Bron plays Patsy’s mum in a flashback

Eleanor Bron in AbFab

Dawn French plays a Morning TV presenter

Dawn French

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 10th December 1992 – 21:00

Next, it’s Edina’s 40th birthday and she’s not happy about it. Mo Gaffney and Christopher Ryan guest star.

Mo Gaffney and Christopher Ryan

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th December 1992 – 21:00

After this episode, we switch to LWT for an episode of The New Statesman. This is The Irresistible Rise of Alan B’Stard. Alan is on an anti-Europe tear.

Euro B'Stard

He persuades the party to leave the Common Market, and the Conservative party is going to split in two. Good grief, this is Brexit, except that it’s the Tories who are imploding in this one, and not Labour.

There’s even a Hillary Clinton reference to tie it further to today’s news.

And Piers’ baby is called Gervais.

Alan’s anti-Europe coalition wins a landslide. This is all seeming very familiar.

Victorious Alan

After this, recording continues. There’s a brilliant little Christmas interstitial with Enya giving us a Christmas greeting in Gaelic. Entirely in Gaelic (apart from “Hi this is Enya” at the start. She lives in a castle, and she does whatever the hell she wants.

ITV: “Hi Enya, this is ITV, we’re shooting some Christmas greetings, could you do one for us?”
Enya: “OK, but I’m doing it in Gaelic.”
ITV: “But Enya, this is for the UK, nobody speaks Irish Gaelic here.”
Enya: sings Orinoco Flow
ITV: “OK, Enya, let’s go for a take.”

Then there’s late news, leading with a prison riot. This is followed by some very christmassy weather. This broadcast was on Christmas Day 1992.

Christmas Weather

Following this, there’s the start of The Godfather, and the tape ends during the start of the film.


  • Naked Gun 2 1/2 on video
  • Thomson Directory
  • MFI
  • Holsten Pils – Jeff Goldblum
  • Thames Ford Dealers
  • TV First – rather marvellously, they use an actual page of actual listings. Here’s the Genome page.
  • dd
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Liberty
  • Intercity
  • Tilda Rice
  • trail: Late Saturday Movie
  • Yellow Pages
  • Comet
  • Renault Clio
  • Cobra
  • John Smith’s Bitter – Jack Dee
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • B&Q – Michael Elphick
  • News of the World
  • trail: The Godfather
  • trail: London Tonight
  • Texas
  • Burger King – Ben Chaplin
  • Lenscrafters
  • Martini
  • Fiat – Mark Strong
  • Daily Express
  • trail: New Season Drama

One comment

  1. Ah, TV First! This was the Sunday People’s TV guide with the big attraction being that it was for the following week, starting the next Saturday, so you could get all of next week’s telly two days before the Radio Times came out on Tuesday. This was hugely exciting at the time, the best thing about the People by absolutely miles, although inevitably it was full of errors because of late changes they’d gone to press too early to pick up. I can’t remember when they stopped doing it, it didn’t last that long.

    I was an adolescent at the time but I was a big fan of the Sunday papers, we used to get the People and the News of the World, and I know they were hardly recommended reading for that age group, but I read the latter for Charlie Catchpole, Captain Cash and the comic strips in the Sunday magazine, and the former for the TV guide.

    I would agree that Absolutely Fabulous went off the boil very quickly, it rather went from satirising the industry to being a part of it. I remember David Quantick reviewing series one and two on video in Q magazine and saying you could tell the difference by just looking at the covers – in series one the design is clearly deliberately ridiculous and gaudy and Saunders and Lumley look suitably daft and embarrassed, and then in series two everything’s in a self-consciously stylish typeface and Saunders and Lumley look like they’ve decided they quite like this kind of thing.

    It didn’t help that every clip show used to include a montage of the pair of them falling over, as if that was the whole point of the programme. I remember one show on the history of the sitcom only using that to illustrate the series, which not only hardly explained the point of it but also made it look a hundred times more repetitive than it actually was.

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