Jennifer Saunders lands first drama role in dark Netflix thriller

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Anna Brech
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Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders

From Eddie darling to electrifying drama, Jennifer Saunders is making the leap into thriller territory

She’s a comedy legend whose champagne-guzzling alter ego “Eddie darling” went down in Ab Fab TV history.  

But Jennifer Saunders will swap the ritzy world of PR for more gritty material in coming months, as she takes on her first major drama role in a twisty Netflix series. 

The Bafta-winning actor will cut loose from her fictional partner-in-crime Patsy (Joanna Lumley) with her appearance in eight-part thriller The Stranger

Based on Harlan Coben’s bestselling book, the series follows the story of family man Adam Price (Richard Armitage) whose world is sent into a tailspin after a stranger in a bar reveals a devastating secret about his wife. 

Siobhan Finneran, of Downton Abbey fame, takes on the lead role of DS Johanna Griffin in the drama. 

Saunders will play Griffin’s exuberant friend Heidi, a woman looking to new horizons and excitement after her daughter leaves for university.

They’re joined by Game of Thrones’ Hannah John-Kamen, as the mysterious stranger whose bombshell revelations will shatter the comfortable lives of all around her. 

Actor Hannah John-Kamen

Actor Hannah John-Kamen will join Jennifer Saunders in new Netflix drama The Stranger

There’s no due date yet for the Netflix drama, but it promises edge-of-your-seat viewing with secrets, violence and conspiracy in the mix. 

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year, Saunders hinted at the difficulties of creating comedy in an age of social media.

“There is always someone tutting in the back of your mind every time you write a joke that is on the edge, ‘Don’t you think someone might be offended?’ It’s very tiring,” she said

“I do look back at stuff we’ve done in the past and think, ‘Oh God, the Twittersphere would go mad.’”

The actor said she was considering writing a new, “age-appropriate” version of Absolutely Fabulous. And she hinted that elements of her character, Eddie, would likely surface in any new roles she took on. 

“Some of these people are so beautifully made that when you have invested yourself into them you’ve kind of merged into them and you can’t really shake them off,” she said. “They come with you.”

A crime thriller with a touch of Eddie in the mix? We’ll cheers to that.

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.