Absolutely Fabulous: The time Idris Elba played a male escort in a 1995 episode

As Absolutely Fabulous turns 30, what better time to reflect on the fact that Idris Elba played a male escort in a 1995 episode?

That’s right, long before Elba slipped into Luther’s coat, he played an escort hired by Joanna Lumley’s Patsy and Jennifer Saunders’ Eddie in a season three instalment of the Nineties BBC sitcom titled “Sex”.

At one point in the episode, Patsy sits on his knee and asks: “Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like Sean Connery?” To which he replies: “No.”

In a 2016 interview, Saunders joked that Elba was so traumatised by the experience that “he fled to America after, he fled!”

The much-loved series, which started on 12 November 1992, followed the antics of PR pro Eddy and fashion magazine editor Patsy, sending up the industry and the weird and wonderful characters within it.

Last year, Lumley said that Princess Margaret was the “prototype” for Patsy.

“There was something so fabulous about her,” she said. “So fabulous and so funny.”

She recalled a meeting with the royal at a drinks reception after the actor played Elvira in a production of Blithe Spirit at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1986.

Joanna Lumley and Prince Charles in 2013 (Getty Images)
Joanna Lumley and Prince Charles in 2013 (Getty Images)

Lumley claimed: “At this moment in strange royal life, everybody said, ‘Princess Margaret is not allowed to drink at the moment. Do not have any drink in theatre, and don’t offer her any drink.’

“I thought, ‘You can’t have a reception with Princess Margaret and not offer any drink. This is insane’. She was looking pretty bored by the time I arrived.”

According to Lumley, the late Countess of Snowden then removed a bottle of whiskey she had hidden in her bag.

“She left the party, opened her bag, got out a small bottle of whisky and a packet of cigarettes, lit up, cigarette holder, and sat there smoking,” she said.