PR guru Lynne Franks who inspired Ab Fab receives OBE

Lynne Franks, the PR guru who inspired BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, receives an OBE for services to ‘business, fashion and women’s empowerment’.

She said she was ‘very moved’ to be named in the New Year Honours list, adding it was not a personal achievement but for ‘every woman’.

When she was 21, Miss Franks set up her own PR agency which played a leading role in the creation of London Fashion Week and represented designers including Vivienne Westwood and Jasper Conran in the 70s and 80s.

Lynne Franks, pictured with Joanna Lumley at 2009’s UK Fashion Export Awards, was the inspiration behind Ab Fab

Jennifer Saunders, who created Absolutely Fabulous co-starring Joanna Lumley, was also a client and is said to have used Miss Franks’ lifestyle as an inspiration for her character Edina Monsoon. 

But Miss Franks, 69, of Wincanton in Somerset, said she hoped being included in the honours list was one occasion ‘when Ab Fab doesn’t come into it’.

Jennifer Saunders portrayed Edina in the comedy, which was inspired by PR guru Lynne Franks

Jennifer Saunders portrayed Edina in the comedy, which was inspired by PR guru Lynne Franks

She said: ‘I am the first to admit that there are some moments in my life still when I could look at it and say, “God, that was an Edina moment”. 

‘I get it, and I know Jennifer Saunders very well and I used to be her PR, so I take on board that there are things that happen that must have inspired her.’ 

She added: ‘I’m just hoping this creates an awareness of all the work I’ve done with women – it goes a lot further than just being a character in a TV programme… in a very funny TV programme.’

Miss Franks wrote The Seed Handbook, a guide for women setting up sustainable businesses, in 2000. It sparked workshops taught in settings including women’s prisons and war zones.

More recently, she has worked with women in Greek refugee camps.