The 12 months was 1992 and I used to be at a lavish occasion thrown by Vogue journal in Princess Diana’s favorite restaurant, San Lorenzo in London’s Knightsbridge. All the highest designers and fashions had been there, posing and mainlining champagne. 

On the entrance of the restaurant, there was a tiny bar with a tv. As quickly because the unmistakable theme tune of a sure new sitcom was heard, everybody flocked to the display screen — and I discovered myself getting as a lot consideration because the programme itself. 

The present was Completely Fabulous and though it was solely the second episode, phrase had received out that, because the main style PR of the day, I used to be the inspiration for larger-than-life character Edina Monsoon. Every time she did or mentioned one thing ludicrous, all eyes had been on me, checking my response. I all the time thought the collection intelligent and hysterically humorous, however the comparability harm. In any case, Edina was typically drunk, drug-addicted, ate compulsively and was incapable of taking care of herself. (These weren’t all true of me, I hasten so as to add.) 

What’s extra, I had thought of Jennifer Saunders, who created and wrote it, a very good pal, and at first it stung that she had portrayed me like that; why couldn’t I be a part of the joke not the joke? 

Loved series Ab Fab that ran from 1992 to 2004 is marking its 30th anniversary. 1990s leading fashion PR of the day, Lynne Franks (pictured)  reveals that she was the inspiration for the larger-than-life character Edina Monsoon

Cherished collection Ab Fab that ran from 1992 to 2004 is marking its thirtieth anniversary. Nineteen Nineties main style PR of the day, Lynne Franks (pictured)  reveals that she was the inspiration for the larger-than-life character Edina Monsoon

Now, because the much-loved Ab Fab celebrates its thirtieth anniversary — it ran for 5 collection between 1992 and 2004 and spawned a film — I want I hadn’t been so sniffy. I significantly remorse turning down the possibility to do a visitor look in an early episode. It will have been nice to point out my seven grandchildren now. 

It’s solely with the knowledge of hindsight that I can see and admit the robust resemblance to Edina — from my state-of-the-art West London basement kitchen, with its wine fridge and stainless-steel models, to my eccentric high-fashion garments and tree-hugging tendencies. And solely now do I actually admire the truth that Jennifer’s good satire was written with nice fondness. 

She later wrote in her memoir: ‘Lynne was into every part that was new: garments, music, golf equipment. She was a whirlwind of zeitgeist.’ 

It was true. I actually was on the centre of London life. And it was completely fabulous. 

However on the time I denied the similarity strenuously. I noticed myself as a severe businesswoman with 50 staff and a multi-­millionpound annual turnover who was additionally a champion of ladies’s rights. I used to be irritated at any time when a photograph of Edina and her much more eccentric sidekick Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) accompanied any article written about my enterprise and extra severe work. 

Lately, nevertheless, I’m proud to have impressed such ground-breaking TV. It was so splendidly outrageous and completely un-PC — we have to see extra of this type of comedy today, particularly led by girls. In these inhibited instances, the place comedians dwell in worry of being ‘cancelled’ for inflicting the slightest offence, we may actually do with fun on the outrageous antics of Eddie and Patsy. 

Pass the Bolly: Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Ab Fab’s loveable Edina and Patsy

Cross the Bolly: Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Ab Fab’s loveable Edina and Patsy

Whether or not it’s the cost-of-living disaster or the battle in Europe, we’re all a lot extra severe today, and understandably so. 

Certainly, over time I’ve turn into extra Saffy — the sober, severe daughter — than Edina. The heavy ingesting and exhausting partying is lengthy gone. I now dwell in Wincanton in deepest Somerset, the place I run a B&B and vegan cafe and mentor teenage ladies. 

I’ve discovered that Technology Z, little doubt affected by all of the lockdowns, are much more severe and clean-living than their dad and mom or grandparents ever had been. There’s not one of the extreme ingesting and drug-taking: it’s all about dwelling a caring, sustainable life. And I discover myself in complete accord with them. So far as I’m involved, my new life is something however boring — I’m doing a lot rewarding new work — however maybe my youthful, extra exuberant self would have begged to vary. 

Ab Fab takes me again to a loopy however deliriously joyful interval in my life, when individuals actually did occasion on a regular basis — one other universe…and, sure, on reflection, Edina and I actually did have loads in widespread. 

She mentioned I used to be ‘a whirlwind of zeitgeist’ 

The Eighties had been a increase time for London style. My company, Lynne Franks PR, which I began aged 21 from my kitchen desk, organised the catwalk exhibits for the very first London Style Week in 1984. We additionally represented lots of the nation’s prime designers, similar to Katharine Hamnett and John Galliano, and the buzziest garments outlets, together with Edina’s favorite retailer, ‘Harvey Nicks’ in Knightsbridge. 

As a PR, it was my job to work with shoppers — luminaries of the style world, together with Jean-Paul Gaultier and Jasper Conran, singer Annie Lennox and comedian Ruby Wax — on all elements of their picture. 

I might introduce designers to the celebrities who wore their garments, as an illustration organize who sat the place on the allimportant entrance row on the exhibits, and safe flattering publicity within the media. And all with out social media — think about! 

As each a pal and a consumer, Jennifer Saunders got here to my events and frolicked at my home along with her comedy accomplice Daybreak French (whose then-husband, Lenny Henry, I additionally did PR for). At the moment I used to be obsessive about acid home music — I wore a primary-coloured tracksuit and cap and had very quick orange hair, regardless of being in my late 30s and a mum of two. Not my finest look! 

And, like Eddie, I all the time threw myself into each scenario 150 per cent. I by no means wore ‘Christian Lacroix, darling’ as she did, however I used to be recognized for altering my outfits thrice a day or extra throughout the London Style Week catwalk exhibits. 

bsolutely fabulous: Patsy, Saffy and Edina. Lynne says that these days she's more like Edina's daughter Saffy

bsolutely fabulous: Patsy, Saffy and Edina. Lynne says that today she’s extra like Edina’s daughter Saffy

I noticed this as a approach of supporting my many designer shoppers, a lot to the mirth of the style editors. Trying again, I’m undecided I all the time did the designers any favours. Katharine Hamnett’s mini tulip skirt, though beautiful on younger, skinny fashions, undoubtedly didn’t look proper on my ‘mum bod’. However like Edina, I used to be in full denial. Jennifer, who grew to become near a few of the designers, significantly Betty Jackson, was clearly taking be aware. 

I used to be nothing if not spontaneous — similar to Edina. Events would simply spring up at my house, workplace or whichever stylish venue I occurred to be in. I bear in mind enjoyable nights with shoppers similar to movie star hairdresser Sam McKnight (who did Princess Diana’s hair), prime photographer Tony McGee, and each mannequin, clothier, DJ and pop star who was anybody. We might dance the night time away, typically alongside Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Tradition Membership or my consumer, singer Lisa Stansfield. 

Events would spring up wherever I used to be

There have been all the time queues of younger gatecrashers from the very best artwork faculties and universities making an attempt to get in. I discovered this fairly gratifying, having left college at 16 myself. It was the age of alternative in spite of everything — fairly not like the stifling, box-ticking tradition of as we speak. 

One among our most memorable events ended with Jennifer and Daybreak’s husbands, Ade Edmondson of The Younger Ones and Lenny, DJing and me drunkenly crying my eyes out within the bathroom about nothing specifically, watched askance by Daybreak and Jennifer. I wakened the following day with the kind of hangover we noticed Edina and Patsy undergo in Ab Fab — though, with two younger youngsters, staying in mattress all day wasn’t an choice for me. 

There’s a basic scene in one among the primary episodes, the place Patsy and Edina are backstage at what regarded just like the British Style Awards, with Jerry Corridor and Marie Helvin, ogling all of the beautiful male fashions. 

Lynne Franks and Joanna Lumley at the UK Fashion Export Awards 2009 at the Landmark Hotel, London

Lynne Franks and Joanna Lumley on the UK Style Export Awards 2009 on the Landmark Lodge, London

This was clearly based mostly on the time I invited Jennifer and Daybreak to be judges at one of many first ever British Style Awards. (Relatively than ogling male fashions in actual life, nevertheless, they had been busy telling me their husbands had been much more engaging.) 

Diana Ross was one other of my shoppers. She flew me out to Las Vegas by personal jet to be interviewed and was terrifying. In 1989, Diana needed to be hip once more so I organized for her to do a shock look at London’s coolest venue (one other consumer) Brixton Academy. 

In these days earlier than social media, our transient was to pack the venue with Press with out formally asserting her look. It was powerful, however we received the new radio DJs to begin the hearsay that Ross could be there, and the phrase received out. 

Daybreak and Jennifer would stand in entrance of my Buddhist altar chanting “French and Saunders” — with me in stitches

Diana turned up wanting sensational in a black leather-based biker’s jacket and a inexperienced leopard-skin, figure-hugging gown. After doing three numbers to large applause, she ran out the again door to her limo. We made the entrance web page of the newspapers and she or he was the discuss of the city. 

I additionally labored for Dolly Parton, who was beautiful — regardless of her aggressive supervisor hitting me around the face for protecting him ready (sure, actually!). In fact, I ought to have sued him, however in these pre-MeToo days I simply saved my head down. I heard Dolly parted firm with him shortly after — he actually wasn’t good for her repute. 

There was one other aspect to me that Jennifer additionally used to comedic impact — my curiosity in different religious practices. Sure, like Edina, I used to be recognized to hug bushes and practised my Buddhist chanting day by day. 

In a single well-known episode, Edina comes into her workplace on her clunky (however then state-of-the-art) cell phone, saying to her hapless PA Bubble (Jane Horrocks) the basic line: ‘I’m chanting as we communicate.’ 

This was instantly adopted by my fellow Buddhists in all places with nice humour and was even made right into a badge by followers within the U.S. 

I bear in mind Daybreak and Jennifer would stand in entrance of the Buddhist altar at my house, chanting ‘French And Saunders’ time and again — with me in stitches. 

One aspect of the present that undoubtedly wasn’t based mostly on me was Edina’s relationship along with her daughter, Saffy. It has been claimed that it was impressed by a row Daybreak witnessed once I took her to go to Ghost, then one of many nation’s largest style labels. After we had been there, the label’s flamboyant proprietor was arguing along with her teenage daughter. 

My daughter, Jessica, was extra of a wild youngster, who took to hanging out with me. It was my son, Josh, now a comic, who claimed he was extra like straitlaced Saffy. 

Within the phrases of Patsy and Edina… 

Edina: ‘Couple of weeks I’ll be flexible like Madonna, darling. Then I’ll have the ability to kiss my very own a*** from each instructions.’ 

Patsy: ‘One snap of my fingers and I can increase hemlines so excessive, the world’s your gynaecologist.’ 

Patsy: ‘It’s so lengthy since I truly bear in mind going to sleep as an alternative of passing out.’ 

Edina: ‘You’ve given up ingesting earlier than.’ 

Patsy: ‘Worst eight hours of my life.’ 

Patsy: ‘I do know what you’re feeling, darling, however actually, I don’t even care.’ 

Edina: ‘We’ll go on public transport, Pats.’ 

Patsy: ‘Are you mad? I’ve received nothing to put on on public transport.’ 

Edina: ‘I’m sorry if that sounds egocentric, nevertheless it’s me, me, me!’ 

Saffy: ‘You’ve been getting dressed for 3 hours and you continue to appear like a bloated citrus fruit.’ 

Edina: ‘When you’re a bloody psychic psychologist, how come I’m all the time having to cellphone you?’ 

Edina: ‘Cancel my aromatherapy, my psychotherapy, my reflexology, my osteopath, my homoeopath, my naturopath, my crystal studying, my shiatsu, my natural hairdresser. And see if I might be re-birthed subsequent Thursday afternoon.’ 

Patsy: ‘The final mosquito that bit me needed to examine into the Betty Ford Clinic.’ 

He actually disapproved of a few of my youthful boyfriends following my divorce from his father, Paul Howie, an Australian designer, within the late Eighties. Trying again, Josh had a degree. In my 40s, my relationship with a beautiful 22-year-old German fire-eater one summer time at our vacation house in Majorca was undoubtedly more durable on teenage Josh than it was on me! 

There are, although, different similarities. My mom was recognized to make sardonic remarks within the background, very similar to June Whitfield’s character as Edina’s long-suffering however acerbic mom. And my PA was the spitting picture of Bubble, too — although in actual life she was extremely environment friendly. 

There’s a scene in a single episode the place Edina wanders around the grocery store with three trollies, overflowing with pineapples, coconuts and alcohol — that was undoubtedly paying homage to me searching for yet one more occasion. 

We actually had plenty of enjoyable however after I bought my PR enterprise within the late Eighties, I moved to LA for a extra relaxed, hippy way of life. I’d be out on the seashore at 7am, watching the dolphins. 

All of the sudden I used to be consuming much more healthily, climbing mountains and occurring retreats. You don’t drink on the market since you drive in all places — there have been events however they had been far calmer affairs. And I used to be busy beginning a brand new California-style PR enterprise and writing transformational self-help books for girls. 

I returned to the UK in 2003 to be nearer to my household and threw myself into a brand new enterprise, the SEED community which creates a supportive neighborhood for girls. Via group conferences and one-to-one teaching periods, I encourage them to discover their potential. 

Nevertheless, some Edina aspects of my life endured. Within the last collection, Saffy returns pregnant from some humanitarian work in Uganda. She names her child Jane, however Edina insists on calling her Lola — which is the title of my 18-year-old granddaughter, born across the identical time. 

Now 18, my beautiful Lola is an excellent singer and artist — and like a lot of her Gen Z contemporaries, she is stuffed with knowledge. We’re very shut and similar to the Ab Fab movie of 2016, when Edina goes to the South of France with granddaughter Lola, I just lately went to Ibiza with my Lola. 

I’ll have white and purple hair, put on lengthy, vibrant clothes and nonetheless dance at Glastonbury, however my social conscience now places me firmly on the Saffy aspect of life. I’m in mattress most nights by 10pm, not throw cash round and I’m extra probably discovered on a girls’s march or teaching feminine management and enterprise abilities on journeys to Kazakhstan or South Africa than getting drunk in nightclubs. 

There are conversations in the mean time about turning my story right into a documentary, however they’d need to embody the complete spectrum — from peak Edina to softer, extra circumspect Saffy. My life has actually been one among extremes.