Archer in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Date posted: 02.08.2016
25 years after debuting on BBC, Absolutely Fabulous has returned - this time on the big screen.
The long awaited feature film adaptation of the hit series reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the irreverent and age-averse Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone.
The film had an ab fab start, scoring the biggest opening weekend for a British film at the UK box office since Spectre last year. The BBC-backed project was directed by Mandie Fletcher (Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses) and produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, Belle) and Jon Plowman (The Office, Little Britain).
From sitcom to cinema
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie sees Edina and Patsy still refusing to play by the rules and living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing in London's trendiest hotspots. Eddie's career is going through a rough patch whilst Patsy's is surprisingly intact.
However, after a disastrous party, the pair become entangled in a media storm and are pursued by the paparazzi, escaping London to seek refuge on the glamorous French Riviera.
"This is Ab Fab on a completely different scale" says producer Damian Jones. "Fans of the TV show are in for quite a treat because they are going to get all the outrageousness and hilarity that they first fell in love with, wrapped up in a very glamorous package".
Fabulous living on the big screen
Filming on Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie began in October 2015 in the South of France, then moved to on to London with iconic city vistas, modern glass constructions, and the banks of the River Thames setting the scene. London locations used in the film included a penthouse on Bankside, a Victorian pump house in Wapping, and Archer in Hampstead, which was used as Eddy's ultra-glamorous home.
"Finding Archer turned into a long process" says location manager Ian Hutchinson. "I looked at over 100 properties in the end, and finally discovered Archer on 1st Option's website. They provided a first class service from start to finish."
One major issue was finding a location with a feature staircase, to reflect the iconic staircase that led to the kitchen in the previous television series of Ab Fab.
Alan Hanson of 1st Option agency says "the production team had one very specific requirement; a flight of stairs leading into the living room." Luckily Archer had recently come onto 1st Option's books, and matched the brief perfectly.
Homeowners can sometimes be wary or daunted by letting their property to be used as a filming location for the first time, however again they were in luck - Hanson explains "the owner of Archer is a huge Ab Fab fan, and was not in any way alarmed at the prospect of potential wild behavior or offended to be told that his taste matched Eddy's.
About the location
Archer is a state-of-the-art luxury house in Hampstead, featuring huge glass walls, an indoor swimming pool, modern furniture, sweeping staircase, cinema room, wine cellar, generous outdoor space, and sauna.
This is the first time the house has been used in a film, however it has previously played host to many fashion shoots - which is, of course, very Absolutely Fabulous indeed.