Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders to star in Absolutely Champers

The stars of the BBC hit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous are returning to our screens for a fizz-fuelled trip to France which includes a visit to their favourite Champagne house.

Image: BBC

The programme celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first episode of Absolutely Fabulous which aired on 12 November 1992 and saw Lumley and Saunders play Patsy and Eddy, two high-powered women in London’s fashion industry who regularly overindulged in alcohol and recreational drugs. Absolutely Champers will air tomorrow (21 December) on BBC2 at 9pm.

Patsy in particular was known for her penchant for Bollinger, or Bolly as it was referred to, and therefore it comes as no surprise that a trip to France would be incomplete without visiting the Champagne house.

In true Ab Fab style, the pair begin drinking before leaving the UK, sampling some Champers at Searcy’s Champagne Bar at St Pancras before boarding the Eurostar for Paris. From the French capital, they then travel 130km north-east to Reims, one of the centres of Champagne production.

Behind the wheel of a vintage Citroën DS, they explore Reims, Epernay and its Avenue de Champagne, which is home to, among others, Moët et Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier Jouët.

Their first stop is the Georges Laval vineyard in Cumières, north-west of Épernay. Certified organic since 1971, the winery produces Champagne from just 2.5ha of vineyard parcels. Visiting the vineyard at 7am, Lumley and Saunders are taught how to pick grapes followed by a Champagne breakfast.

They then travel to Hautvillers to see the the tomb of Dom Pérignon, the Benedictine monk and cellar master of an abbey who was known for his exacting approach to wine production, though not for the invention of Champagne as has been widely proclaimed. Royal permission was not granted to bottle wines in Champagne until 1728, 13 years after Dom or Pierre Pérignon had died.

Image: BBC

And naturally sweetie darling, it wouldn’t be a proper Ab Fab-esque trip to Champagne without a visit to Bollinger.

Having never visited the house before, Lumley and Saunders are welcomed by Jérôme Philipon, the former president of the house and now chief operating officer of the Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB), the holding company for Bollinger as well as Champagne Ayala, Burgundy’s Chanson, the Loire Valley’s Langlois-Château, and Cognac’s Delamain.

Philipon said: “Ab Fab is part of the DNA of Bollinger” though did admit that the association was at first “a bit of a shock” for the well-respected, family-owned Champagne House.

He takes Lumley and Saunders on a tour of the Bollinger cellars which stretch for five kilometres under its base in Aÿ and store bottles dating back to 1830. The pair are then treated to lunch in Madame Bollinger’s dining room where they are given a magnum of Bollinger La Grande Année 1992, a nod to the year that Ab Fab was first broadcast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Regional Account Manager

Scotland, UK

Retail Assistant Manager

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Supervisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Sales Advisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Manager

Friarwood Fine Wines
SW London, UK

Assistant Manager

Seven Cellars
Brighton, UK

Key Account Manager

MMI Dubai
Dubai, UAE

Head of Supply Chain

Lanson International UK Ltd
London W1, UK

National Account Executive

Home Based working in Central Belt. Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
13th Apr 2018

Prosecco Springs

London,United Kingdom
26th Apr 2018

Spirits & More

19th May 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more