Jennifer Saunders appearing on The Graham Norton Show

Celebrity Gogglebox’s Jennifer Saunders: Daughter Beattie Edmondson, love affair with pop star, animosity with Dawn French, and cancer battle

And will there be more Ab Fab one day?

Jennifer Saunders is back on Celebrity Gogglebox with her daughter Beattie in series 6 of the Stand Up to Cancer spin-off – and she’s an actress is her own right.

Of course, mum Jennifer is a National Treasure, best known for her comedy partnership with Dawn French, and her riotous performance as Edina in Absolutely Fabulous.

And while she’s very happily married to long-term husband Adrian ‘Ade’ Edmondson, she actually dated a famous pop star before him!

Here’s everything you need to know about Jennifer Saunders, her daughter Beattie, and why she turned down the hosting job on The Great British Bake Off.

Jennifer Saunders and her daughter on Gogglebox
Jennifer Saunders and daughter Beattie return for a charity special of Celebrity Gogglebox (Credit: Channel 4)

Celebrity Gogglebox series 6: Jennifer Saunders and daughter Beattie take part

Season 6 of the charity version of Gogglebox – in aid of Stand Up 2 Cancer – returns in June 2024.

Like previous series, some of Britain’s best-loved personalities join forces to critique the week’s biggest TV shows. Once again, Jennifer Saunders and daughter Beattie Edmondson join in from their family home.

They previously appeared in the 2023 series. Also appearing in the latest special episode is Danny Dyer and his daughter Dani, Rylan Clark and his mum Linda, and Jane McDonald and her best friend Sue.

Jordan and Ashley Banjo with Perri Kiely also star, as do Babatunde Aléshé and Mo Gilligan, Happy Mondays legends Shaun Ryder and Bez, naturalist Chris Packham and step-daughter Megan, DJ Nick Grimshaw and his niece Liv, Fearne Cotton and Gok Wan, Clare Balding and wife Alice Arnold, and actor Stephen Mangan with his sister Anita.

Who is the daughter of Jennifer Saunders?

Jennifer Saunders has three daughters with her husband Adrian Edmondson.

Eldest child Ella is a singer-songwriter, and was born in 1986, making her 37. Meanwhile Jen and Ade have two daughters who are actresses – Beattie Edmondson, 36, and Freya Edmondson, 33.

Beattie has been on our screens ever since 2008, when she played Beattie Martin in two episodes of Jam & Jerusalem (which also starred her mum). She’s also appeared in Ab Fab as a waitress, and popped up in comedies including Little Crackers, Pompidou, and Fresh Meat. Beattie is probably best known for playing Victoria in The Wright Way, Kate in Josh, and more recently Louisa Radlett in The Pursuit of Love.

While Freya also appeared in Jam & Jerusalem alongside her sister and mum, she’s now working in the costume department of TV shows and films.

Jennifer and Ade have five grandchildren, too!

Callie Cooke as Kimberley Doyle in The Stranger
Jennifer Saunders portrayed Heidi Doyle in The Stranger (Credit: Netflix)

What is Jennifer Saunders famous for?

Jennifer is probably most famous for her comedy collaborations with Dawn French. The pair met at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977, and went on to form a lifelong friendship and screen partnership.

Before the first series of French and Saunders in 1987, the pair were part of another legendary and groundbreaking comedy troupe. The Comic Strip featured the likes of Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson and Robbie Coltrane.

They also appeared in Girls on Top between 1985 and 1986, alongside Ruby Wax.

After the success of French and Saunders (which ran until 2017), Jennifer wrote and starred in Absolutely Fabulous as flouncy Edina. It fast became one of the most popular TV shows ever made for the BBC. The series began in

She also wrote and starred in BBC sitcom Jam & Jerusalem, which ran between 2006 and 2009. More recently, Jennifer has portrayed Judith in Josh, Heidi Doyle in Harlan Corben thriller The Stranger, and The Saester of Dubrovnik in The Pentaverate.

She has been in multitudes of films, including Sumotherhood, Allelujah, and Fanny and Elvis. She’s voiced plenty of animated characters, too, such as The Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2, The Queen in Minions, and Nana in Sing 2.

Jen teamed up with Dawn again in the 2022 Poirot film Death on the Nile, starring Kenneth Branagh.

Will Absolutely Fabulous ever return?

Jennifer Saunders recently teased that she may well be writing an Ab Fab spin-off… Talking to Dawn French on their Audible podcast, Titting About, she promised to write a new Absolutely Fabulous-related project.

The project will be a “film or a series”, she revealed, and will contain “some Ab Fab-ness, but not totally Ab Fab”.

She explained: “I need to write a film, or a series based on Ab Fab. I want to do something related.” Jennifer also remarked that Joanna Lumley would “possibly” star in it.

However, Joanna Lumley previously said that Jennifer Saunders had planned to kill off their Absolutely Fabulous characters until she intervened to stop her!

Speaking to My Weekly, Joanna recalled how Jennifer wrote to her and asked about Patsy and Eddie: “Shall we just kill them off and bury them?”

Joanna explained: “I wrote back the fastest email return I’ve ever written. I said, ‘No, we’ve promised the world we will never die!'”

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Eddie and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Eddie and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous (Credit: CoverImages)

Who is Jennifer Saunders’ husband?

During Jennifer’s time in The Comic Strip, she met comedian Adrian ‘Ade’ Edmondson, who became famous for his comedy partnership with Rik Mayall in the likes of The Young Ones, and Bottom.

The two married in 1985, and have been happily married ever since.

In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Adrian described their first meeting. He said: “I met my wife, Jennifer Saunders, in a strip club when I was 23.

“It was a comic strip club, so you could perform alternative comedy on one stage while there were strippers on the other. Needless to say, she was one of the comedians, not one of the strippers.”

Adrian has since ‘gone straight’ playing Denys Porlock in Three Body Problem, Sir Roger Hollis in A Spy Among Friends, Richard in The Pact, and Daniel Cook in EastEnders.

In an interview with The Times, he admitted his wife is funnier than him. He also revealed that he married her on the condition they would have kids, as the two things are “indivisible” to him.

Jennifer dated pop star before marrying Ade

Actress Jennifer previously dated a famous musician, before falling for her now husband.

The star dated Depeche Mode’s Andrew Fletcher in her younger days.

Jen dated Andrew, founding member of the synth-pop electronic rock band, for a year in 1980. The keyboardist, who was married for 30 years with three kids, died in 2022 aged 60.

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders smiling together
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders recently reunited on Imagine (Credit: BBC Studios)

Were Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French offered GBBO?

Jennifer and Dawn were reportedly offered the prestigious presenting job on GBBO. But they turned down the reported £2.5million…

A source told The Mail on Sunday: “They were the top of the list to replace Mel and Sue. They absolutely would have brought in the viewers but it wasn’t to be.

“An offer was put in – a pretty high offer at that – but it wasn’t enough. The impression was that actually, no amount would have been enough.”

The Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding eventually took over, comedian Sandi Toksvig.

How did Jennifer and Dawn meet?

Unbelievably perhaps, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French didn’t click when they first met.

In 1977, Jen received a place at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London on a drama teachers’ course. It was there that she met her future comedy partner, Dawn French.

Both Jennifer and Dawn came from RAF backgrounds, and had grown up on the same base without ever meeting. They even had the same best friend!

The comic duo originally did not get on well, with Jennifer labelling Dawn a “cocky little upstart”. The distrust was mutual: French considered Jennifer snooty and uptight.

Of course, after the initial animosity experienced during drama school, the duo eventually became firm friends and went on to share a flat together in Chalk Farm. The two performed together after graduation, and the rest is history!

Adrian Edmondson and wife Jennifer Saunders
Adrian Edmondson and wife Jennifer Saunders attended the Glamour: Women of the Year Awards 2017 (Credit: Brett D. Cove/

Jen’s cancer battle

In July 2010, Jennifer Saunders announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer the previous October. She revealed she was in remission following a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

The comedic actress was diagnosed after finding a lump, her spokeswoman confirmed.

Speaking in 2014 about her cancer battle, Jennifer told The Telegraph: “I discovered I had breast cancer in 2009, just as I was planning to take a year off to experience life.

“The biopsy confirmed cancer, but it didn’t appear to be fast-growing, so I went in for a lumpectomy before starting chemo and then radiotherapy.

“The first time you have chemo is a bit scary, because you have no idea how you’re going to feel. But let me tell you this: it’s basically like the most enormous hangover you’ve ever had in your whole life. It’s like a night on mixed spirits, wine and grappa; it’s a real cracker. It’s a humdinger.”

Why did she turn down an OBE?

Along with Dawn French, Jennifer declined an OBE from the Queen in 2001.

At the time, she said it “didn’t feel right” after her own father Robert received a CBE for his work as a Royal Air Force pilot.

Jennifer explained she felt accepting the Queen’s offer “made a mockery” of being given such a prestigious honour and felt there were others in the world who deserved it more.

Speaking to Best magazine, she explained: “My father, Robert, was a pilot in the Royal Air Force and was awarded a CBE. He got it and he deserved it. He worked really hard and he was a brilliant man and he did an awful lot.

“But we just jumped up on stage, messed about, and made money. We thought ‘there’s a lot of people who deserve these things’ and for us to get it sort of made it a mockery. There are people who work for the NHS or do great charity work and we hadn’t really done anything. It was silly.”

She later told The Guardian: “We felt that we were being paid very well to have a lot of fun. It didn’t seem right somehow. We didn’t deserve a pat on the back.

“It felt a bit fake to stand alongside people who devoted their lives to truly worthy causes.”

Jennifer Saunders shocked on The Masked Singer
Jennifer recently appeared as a guest judge on The Masked Singer, where she failed to identify Bubble Tea as Julia Sawalha (Credit: ITV)

How old is Jennifer Saunders? Where is she from?

Jennifer Jane Saunders was born on July 06, 1958, in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

She is currently 65 years of age.

Jen was raised by her mum Barbara, a biology teacher, and her dad, Robert Thomas Saunders, an RAF pilot. She has three brothers. As a result of her dad’s job, Jen’s childhood saw her change schools several times.

She was educated from the age of five to 18 in boarding schools and then at St Paul’s Girls’ School, an independent school in west London.

Read more: Masked Singer guest judge Jennifer Saunders stunned after Ab Fab co-star Julia Sawalha is unveiled as Bubble Tea

YouTube video player

Jennifer Saunders appears on Celebrity Gogglebox on Friday, June 07, 2024 at 10.10pm on Channel 4.

Are you a fan of Jennifer Saunders? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor