Jennifer Saunders, Judy Craymer and the Spice Girls

Jennifer Saunders, Judy Craymer and the Spice Girls

Jennifer Saunders is glad the Spice Girls were never "over-sexualised".

The 'Absolutely Fabulous' star was chosen by 'Mama Mia!' producer Judy Craymer to pen the musical 'Viva Forever!' - which features the music of the band - and the reason Jennifer loves the group so much is because they appeal to all ages and were never too "naughty".

She explained: "The best thing about them is you could go to see one of their shows and take a child or your grandmother and everybody would enjoy it. They had incredible universal appeal. They were never over-sexualised.

"Yes, they were fun, naughty and bad but in a fun way. I knew the musical had to have that running through its veins. It needed to be about fame and take in their stories and be a lot of fun."

Jennifer, 54, describes herself as the "sixth member of the band" - which is comprised of Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Mel B, Emma Bunton and Mel C - after spending so much time with them and despite battling with breast cancer over the past two years she was adamant no one else could write the script for the show.

She added in an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The thought of a Spice Girls musical written by somebody else was not acceptable. Because I was so close to them, I couldn't let it slip through my fingers.

"My breast cancer didn't affect 'Viva', to be honest. I want this to hit the target audience. I want it to have a broad spectrum of viewers.

"A friend of mine brought her 73-year-old mother the other night who has never really heard a Spice Girls song and she cried all the way through. So that's a good sign."

'Viva Forever!' is showing at London's Piccadilly Theatre now.