How Ab Fab helped the NHS, ever so slightly |

How Ab Fab helped the NHS, ever so slightly

comedyEveryone knows that the NHS is struggling financially. But who knew the alcoholic fashionistas of Absolutely Fabulous were helping to prop it up?

Lee Nelson creator Simon Brodkin was still working as a doctor when he landed his first television role in the series in 2003. He played, appropriately enough,  a doctor, in two episodes of the sitcom's fifth series as Patsy lingered near death's door.

'It was just as hard pretending to be a doctor as it was being a doctor,' Brodkin told Richard Herring on his RHLSTP podcast.

And he added: 'It was being filmed in an actual hospital and for part of one of the scenes, they needed to shoot in a reception area. But this hospital didn't have a proper reception area.'

He learned that staff had been 'waiting for this to be built for years and years' – but  within two hours producers had built the reception area they wanted.

'It was only meant to be a temporary little scene for that one thing,' added Brodkin. 'But in the end, there were pleas from the hospital, "please can you keep that for us because we can actually now use that as our reception area". It was tragic.'

Here's Julia Sawalha in a scene from the episode set in a reception area, and Simon Brodkin's character attending to Joanna Lumley's Patsy.

Published: 18 Dec 2017

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