Absolutely Fabulous PR guru Eddy Monsoon and her magazine editor friend Patsy Stone will be hit by the recession in the new series.

The champagne-swilling ladies who lunch – played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley – are set to return to television at Christmas. But they will be feeling the pinch of the economic downturn.

Harriet Thorpe, who plays Eddy’s eccentric colleague Fleu, told The Daily Telegraph that Jennifer keeps ‘everything current’.

She added: “She acknowledges the recession, but doesn’t make it all about that. It’s very clever, and, of course, incredibly funny to see how the characters cope.”

Party animals Eddy and Patsy, who are always striving for eternal youth, will also be shown to be feeling the effects of getting older.

Their 85-year-old co-star June Whitfield, who plays Eddy’s mother, revealed the friends will be getting on a bit, which she promises, ‘opens up a whole new avenue of hilarity’.

Ab Fab will return with a trio of 30-minute specials to celebrate the award-winning comedy series’ 20th anniversary.