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Inside Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders' friendship 

The pair are sitcom stars

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Nicky Morris
Nicky MorrisTV and film writer
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TV icons Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders have been friends for almost 30 years. After meeting during Joanna's audition for the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, the pair hit it off and have been pals ever since. 

MORE: Inside Joanna Lumley's relationship with her famous son

Read on to take a look inside the friendship of two of Britain's best-loved comedians…

WATCH: Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on the red carpet of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Joanna and Jennifer first met during the former's audition for a pilot episode of what would become one of the UK's most popular sitcoms. 

Appearing on The Graham Norton Show back in 2016, Joanna revealed how there was a lack of chemistry between the two at the first script read. 

"Everybody knew about French and Saunders," she said. "I'd been sent this unbelievably funny script and I was longing to do it. I couldn't believe it. I laughed out loud. 

MORE: Everything you need to know about Joanna Lumley: husband, children and more

MORE: Joanna Lumley's home is remarkably like Prince Charles and Camilla's – take a look inside

"So I went round to meet Jennifer for the first time ever at the BBC and we sat in an odd little office and we set together on two little chairs as if we were sitting at the back of a taxi. We opened up the page and started to read and I didn't know who Patsy was because it hadn't been explained who she was."

joanna lumley jen© Photo: Rex

The comedy duo have known each other for almost 30 years

Jennifer added: "You weren't the idea I had for Patsy. You made it better."

Joanna continued: "We read it through a couple of times and Jennifer just sat there, just staring and I thought, 'Oh, this is awful.' So we tried again and I almost said, 'Shall I do it Scottish or something?' I didn't know what to do!"

She then revealed how she went home later that evening and told her agent: "Get me out of it! She hates me, She said nothing to me!" to which her agent replied: "It's only a pilot. Just do it."

Commenting on the show's success, Jennifer gave an insight into the pair's bond. "I think what happened was that we got on and we just had such a good laugh," she said. 

ab fab© Photo: Getty Images

Absolutely Fabulous ran from 1992 to 2004

Absolutely Fabulous ran for five series between 1992 and 2004. The pair stayed firm friends through the show's run and later reunited for three new episodes between 2011 and 2012. They also aired two sketches for Comic Relief and Sports Relief before taking the beloved sitcom to the big screen for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie in 2016. 

The pair then came together once again in 2017 for their documentary programme, Joanna & Jennifer: Absolutely Champers, in which they explored the Champagne region of France together.

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