Jennifer Saunders on drinking Bolly in Champagne with Joanna Lumley

by The Listener / 14 September, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Jennifer Saunders Absolutely Champers

Absolutely Champers.

After all their fake Bolly quaffing in Absolutely Fabulous, it’s a wonder that Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley weren’t packed off to the Champagne region of France years ago. In Joanna & Jennifer: Absolutely Champers they investigate how the bubbles are made.

You must have pinched yourself when you and Joanna were asked to host this special?

It seemed like something we should have thought of ourselves and took very little time to decide we wanted to do it.

What were you most looking forward to when you headed off to Champagne?

I think the thing I was most looking forward to was spending time with Joanna. We don’t get to hang out together as much these days as we no longer make TV together and I miss that. That combined with a couple of glasses of champers.

Has making the show had an effect on your decisions when buying a tipple?

Yes, definitely. Seeing the whole process from beginning to end you appreciate the work, expertise and the time that goes into every bottle and you therefore understand the expense and also the reason why every champagne is different. They are as different as every wine. Every aspect of the production affects the taste.

Were you inspired to take up a vineyard lifestyle?

No. It’s far too much like hard work. The glamour is where the champagne ends up. Champagne producers – for all the sophistication of the end product – are farmers, and to have a chance I would have had to have started years ago to understand half of what they know.

The tour of Champagne Bollinger must have been an absolute highlight.

Bollinger was a highlight and an honour, as they don’t do tours for the public. And to sit in Madame Bollinger’s dining room and drink vintage Bolly is something I will never forget. I may never taste a champagne that good ever again.

Would you be keen to become more fluent in French to keep up with Joanna?

She’s really not very fluent. In fact if you slow the tape down you’ll find she’s just speaking English with a very heavy accent and the French people are just pretending to understand her out of politeness.

What would be your first area to revisit or recommend to a friend as a must-do?

The thing to do is a little bit of research. Get some of the smaller champagne houses recommended and don’t just stick to the big ones. Taste a wide variety and learn how they are made and what the expectations of the house are. There is so much more to champagne than I ever imagined and the more you know the more you enjoy.

JOANNA & JENNIFER: ABSOLUTELY CHAMPERS, Living, Sky 017, Sunday September 16, 8.30pm


How NZ women won the right to vote first: The original disruptors & spiteful MPs
96463 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z History

How NZ women won the right to vote first: The orig…

by Vomle Springford

Is it right that while the loafer, the gambler, the drunkard, and even the wife-beater has a vote, earnest, educated and refined women are denied it?

Read more
Fémmina: The story of NZ's unsung suffrage provocateur Mary Ann Müller
96479 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z History

Fémmina: The story of NZ's unsung suffrage provoca…

by Cathie Bell

Mary Ann Müller was fighting for women’s rights before Kate Sheppard even arrived here, but her pioneering contribution to the cause is little known.

Read more
How Marilyn Waring went from political prodigy to international influencer
96505 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Profiles

How Marilyn Waring went from political prodigy to …

by Clare de Lore

Marilyn Waring is nearing the last chapter of an account of her time as an MP, which ended abruptly with the calling of a snap election.

Read more
Ian McKellen charms his way through a documentary about his life
96472 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Movies

Ian McKellen charms his way through a documentary …

by James Robins

Joe Stephenson’s tender documentary Playing the Part looks at McKellen's life as an actor, activist and perpetual wizard.

Read more
The Chosen Bun: A smart new burger joint opens in Stonefields
96507 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

The Chosen Bun: A smart new burger joint opens in …

by Alex Blackwood

Burgers, milkshakes and fries are not rare things to find in Auckland, so The Chosen Bun's owners were smart to be very picky about their ingredients.

Read more
The brutality experienced by the suffragettes
11636 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Listener NZ 2015

The brutality experienced by the suffragettes

by Sally Blundell

As we mark 125 years since NZ women got the right to vote, we must remember it didn't come easily.

Read more
The case for closing prisons
96403 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Social issues

The case for closing prisons

by Paul Little

If we want a prison system that does a better job than the current one, alternatives aren’t hard to find.

Read more
Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist mixing rugby with politics
96422 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Profiles

Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist …

by Clare de Lore

Australian-New Zealander Jennifer Curtin says the lopsided nature of the Bledisloe Cup pales in comparison to the slump in transtasman relations.

Read more