YOU expect to hear the Bollinger corks popping and glasses clinking when in conversation with Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley.
Instead it’s the BAFTAwinning actress who fairly fizzes with excitement down the line from her London home, spruiking her latest TV travel series, Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey.
For fans of her most famous character, the champagneguzzling Patsy Stone in Abfab sounds awfully like the wonderfully effusive woman waxing lyrical about her Mediterranean adventures. Only sober.
It’s when the former Bond girl recounts her experiment drinking a lethal Greek spirit, ‘‘ arak’’, that the line between Lumley and Patsy become blurred.
Asked whether she tested the aniseed liquor’s reputation for getting you mindblowingly drunk, minus the morning-after hangover, the 66-year-old purrs, Patsy-style: ‘‘ Darling, did I ever test it.’’
For all her rounded vowels and hyperbole, Lumley is most convincing in her role of down-to-earth tour guide.
Lumley says it’s her ‘‘ Gypsy gene’’ and ‘‘ great love of people’’ which inspires her passion for travel.
‘‘ I adore it for the stimulation: the colour, the culture, the people. I have to admit I feel almost claustrophobic if I can’t get out and about.’’
While her Greek Odyssey includes the usual postcard moments, this production revels in the country’s ‘‘ wrinkles’’ — the off-the-tourismtrail, as Lumley describes it.
Critics have mocked her flowery language, but Lumley makes no apologies.
‘‘ I’m a gusher. I haven’t got a stop button. It’s not put on and I’m sorry if that annoys some people but it’s genuine.’’ Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey, airs Tuesdays at 8.30pm on ABC1