Edina Monsoon

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Edina Monsoon
Absolutely Fabulous character
First appearance "Fashion" (1992)
Last appearance Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)
Created by Jennifer Saunders
Portrayed by Jennifer Saunders
Nickname(s) Eddy, "The Shredder"
Aliases Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon
Gender Female
Occupation Owner of Monsoon PR
Family "Mother" (name unknown), Unnamed father (deceased)
Spouse(s) Justin (divorced)
Marshall Turtle (divorced)
Patsy Stone (unrecognised)
Children Serge Turtle (first marriage)
Saffron Monsoon (second marriage)
Relatives Jane Monsoon-Johnson ("Lola")
(granddaughter, via Saffron)
Religion Buddhism

Edina Monsoon is the main character in the BBC programme Absolutely Fabulous, played by Jennifer Saunders, who is also the creator of the show. The character is known for her extravagance and various attempts to follow new crazes and trends.

Character history[edit]

Edina was born Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon on 6 August 1951 in London; her parents' only child. She later changed her name to Edina and is nearly always called Eddy; only her mother and ex-husband Justin call her Edwina. It is never established whether Monsoon is her maiden or married name. Her mother is only ever referred to as "Mrs M" and her second husband Justin's last name is never revealed. As his daughter also goes by the surname Monsoon, it's possible it's Edina's married name. In the episode 'Gay' she has completely forgotten that her first husband's surname was Turtle. According to Patsy, Edina's teenage nickname was "The Shredder" due to her addiction to eating "huge amounts of tissues" and "whole toilet rolls" which Edina's ex-husband Justin verified.

Edina is the owner of a (barely) successful metropolitan PR company. It seems that this stems partly from her being at the right places at the right times, and around the right people, from the late sixties to early eighties. In several episodes, including "Fashion" and "The Last Shout", Edina demonstrates the creativity, organisational ability and shrewd business sense that have made her successful. In the first episode, "Fashion" she prides herself as "going down in history as the woman that put Princess Anne in a Vivienne Westwood basque." However more often than not, in numerous episodes her ventures fail rather than triumph. In the episode "Small Opening", Edina asked her assistant Bubble, "How would I normally ensure a flop?", and Bubble replied, "Promote it."

In the third episode, "France", she attempted to start her own interior design company, with her first client being her lifelong friend, Bettina, but for unexplained reasons, the company failed without Bettina's apartment ever being decorated. She also runs her own shop which sells ethnic ornaments, but the shop is largely unsuccessful: Edina takes most of the stock home with her instead of actually selling it.

A self-loathing yet self-obsessed neurotic, Edina's self-image is based on 1960s counterculture and the world of fashion and celebrity. She is fixated on self-indulgence and her ideas of self-actualisation. Edina subscribes to every trend that arises, including New Age spirituality—she calls herself a Buddhist—and feng shui. She aspires to move in the highest circles of creativity, fashion, and celebrity. She considers herself a follower of the latest trends, but, having no real sense of style of her own, Edina is actually a fashion victim, parading the latest fashion trends without understanding them or understanding what looks good on her. She is a die-hard fan of Christian Lacroix and is quick to point out "It's Lacroix, sweetie, Lacroix". Edina is mildly overweight but not nearly so much as she believes herself to be and frequently attempts to conceal her bloated body with heavy, swaddling clothing which only adds to her absurd appearance. Others often draw attention to Edina's weight, aware of her obsession with it which only adds to her neurosis.

She lives in a nice Holland Park house,[1] which she claims cost £1.5m, (see episode 'Hospital' series 2) with her daughter Saffron (Saffy), and owns a public relations firm whose only steady client is 1960s pop singer Lulu, whose professional relationship with Edina is hanging by a thread. In later years, this was switched to model Twiggy and Spice Girl Emma Bunton, who also went to school with Saffy.

Edina is desperate to give off the aura of success, wealth and fabulousness. Her outrageous but always expensive wardrobe is one of her ways of doing this, as is the constant renovating of her home. She is extremely status conscious, loudly clarifying that her house is in Holland Park whenever someone identifies the neighbourhood as Shepherd's Bush.

In an early episode, Edina says that she has always voted Labour, but she notes her disdain for New Labour in the 4th season. She collects hefty alimony payments from her two ex-husbands, Justin and Marshall, until they are cut off in the episode "Poor". Saffy's father Justin is homosexual and for a time has a boyfriend named Oliver, who runs an antique shop with him. Marshall Turtle, Edina's first husband, is the father of her homosexual and almost perpetually off-screen son Serge. Marshall later marries brash, scheming New-Age Californian Bo Chrysalis (Mo Gaffney), who effortlessly rules over him. There is confusion about the order in which Edina married her husbands, but she states in the 2002 episode "Gay" after marrying Patsy in a mock civil partnership that her spouses were "Gay man, straight man, woman".

Homosexual men play an important role in Edina's social self-image, as tokens of fashionability and political correctness. She asserts the former by claiming that "gay men love [her]" and the latter by claiming that "all [her] friends are gay". However, on one occasion, she seconds Patsy's accusation of a "gay mafia" conspiracy to explain their professional failures. In one episode, Patsy and Edina marry in an unofficial civil partnership in New York. Although Edina was unwilling at first, she beseeched Patsy to be married to her for the remainder of the holiday, explaining she'd never even come back from her honeymoons and still been married.

Edina claims to be a Buddhist, practising, in her words, "almost religiously". She also identifies as a vegetarian although she is seen eating meat on a few occasions. For dramatic purposes she had been described as being two stone (28 pounds) overweight. She frequently moans about being too fat; however, she hasn't the willpower to stay on any diet for long. She often says that one method she has used is to go shopping for clothes two sizes too small for her. Weak-willed as she is, she spends much of her life caught in an emotional tug of war between Patsy, her lifelong friend and corrupter, and Saffy (Saffron), her sensible goody-two-shoes daughter. Despite their frequent verbal sparring, Edina and Saffy often show genuine concern and affection for one another. Edina sometimes comforts Saffy without needing to, once remarking "I do sort-of love you" and punching Saffron's teacher in the face after deceitfully trying to seduce her, even though he was a married man with children. Edina often shows a deep need to make her daughter proud of her. Saffy meanwhile believes that her mother's neuroses are the result of her debauched, hedonistic and flagrantly irresponsible lifestyle as well as the pernicious influence of Patsy. However, whilst on a trip to Morocco, Patsy sold Saffy into slavery and Edina didn't seem that concerned about her daughter. Given Edina's emotional immaturity, Saffy often takes on the role of a strict mother figure towards her, to the point where Edina is somewhat afraid of Saffy's temper, and attempts to hide things from her. In the first episode, Edina was terrified at the thought of Saffy finding out she had been drinking.


  1. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (2011-12-25). "Absolutely Fabulous makes a hilarious return". Radio Times. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

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