Patsy Stone, as played by Joanna Lumley, was the last of a string of children born to an aging Czech mother in Paris, who gave birth “like a sprinkler, scattering bastard babies all over Europe“.
She is simply the most fabulous character in Absolutely Fabulous, a British television series filled with fabulous characters played by fabulous actors. Absolutely Fabulous first aired in 1992 and ran on the BBC for three seasons, followed by two specials in 1996, then arose from the ashes to reappear in 2001 for seasons four, five and six, and then a feature film in 2015.
The show is brilliant in its uncensored bad behavior, with Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy, two hard-drinking, drug-taking, outrageously selfish middle-aged women.
In a flashback showing Patsy’s birth, after telling an attendant to cut the cord, Patsy’s mother exclaims that the name of the child will be “Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone”. The only sibling seen in the series is her older sister Jackie (Kate O’Mara), a former high-class escort whom Patsy worships, even though Jackie treats her horribly and tried to murder her twice with a heroin overdose.
Patsy (Jennifer Saunders) and Edina Monsoon were childhood friends, and since her mother despised and neglected her, regarding her more as a rival than a daughter, Patsy came to rely on the Monsoons as family. She mentions that her mother would have had an abortion, but she mistook her pregnancy for the onset of the menopause. The first few years of her life were spent locked in a room, and the rest of her childhood was dismal, without pals, parties, or presents. Although her mother eventually sent her to school, by the time she did Patsy was much older than all the other students. She claims to have forgotten everything before 1968, though occasionally memories come back to her in flashbacks.
Although Patsy claims to have been an “It” girl and in-demand model in 1960’s Swinging London, flashbacks reveal she was only getting work by latching on to big-name designers. She dubs herself an “ex-Bond girl”, but the films she starred in were Bond-inspired sexploitation films entitled “Bond Meets Black Emmanuelle”, “Boldfinger”, and “The Man With Thunder Balls”, plus the 1970’s softcore porn film “Booberella.”
Patsy claims to have had sex with every member of the Rolling Stones, stating:
…you didn’t have a favorite Stone, you had ’em all.
She also claims to have slept with Keith Moon:
Well sort of. I woke up underneath him in a hotel room once.
She also had sex one of The Beatles, although she cannot remember which one.
At various times throughout the series it is alluded to that Patsy was transgender, having undergone a sex-change operation in Morocco in the 1960s. Edina states that this only lasted a few months “before it fell off“, and that Elton John recognizes her as someone he slept with when she was a man.
There’s something marvelous about her. She’s a strong woman. She has to be strong to survive. She hasn’t eaten since 1973. She lives on God knows what and she’ll still be ready to party even when she’s in incontinence pants.
Lumley really was a model and a Bond girl; she is also a writer and a Human Rights and Animal Rights activist. With scads of film, television and stage credits, she has won two BAFTA Awards and was nominated for the Tony Award for the Broadway revival of La Bête in 2011.