Bottom (TV series)

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Bottom
Bottom TV Show Screenshot Main Title Card.png
Opening title card
Genre Slapstick, Black comedy, Off-color humor
Created by Adrian Edmondson
Rik Mayall
Starring Adrian Edmondson
Rik Mayall
Theme music composer The Mar-Keys
Opening theme "BB's Blues" performed by The Bum Notes
Ending theme "Last Night" performed by The Bum Notes
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 18 (plus five stage shows and one film)
Production
Location(s) Hammersmith, London
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC2
Repeats shown on Gold, Dave, Watch
Picture format 576i (4:3 SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original run 17 September 1991 (1991-09-17) – 10 April 1995

Bottom is a British sitcom television series that originally aired on BBC2 between 1991 and 1995.

It was written by and starred comic duo Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall as Eddie and Richie, two flatmates who live on the dole in Hammersmith, London. The programme ran for three series, and was followed by five stage-show tours across the United Kingdom between 1993 and 2003 and a feature film, Guest House Paradiso. The show is noted for its chaotic, nihilistic humour and violent comedy slapstick.[1]

In 2008, Bottom came in at number 45 in a poll to determine "Britain's Best Sitcom" by the BBC.[2] The show continues to be shown in the UK on Gold and Dave, and has been dubbed in other languages. In Spain the show, known as La pareja basura (The Trash Couple), aired on Canal+. The theme music was provided by The Bum Notes, a band that once featured Edmondson, and is a cover of "Last Night" by The Mar-Keys.

Plans were made in 2012 for a BBC spin-off series, Hooligan's Island, featuring the Richie and Eddie characters from Bottom, but the project was cancelled that October prior to production as Edmondson explained that he wished to pursue other interests.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Recurring characters:

Plot[edit]

Eddie and Richie are two crude, perverted lunatics with no jobs, very little money, and only a filthy flat in Hammersmith (located at "11, Mafeking Parade")[6] to their name. They spend their time concocting desperate schemes to acquire sex, attacking each other violently, and getting into dodgy situations. Bottom is considered the most violent example of Britcoms; examples of violence include teeth being knocked out, heads being crushed in fridge doors, fingers being cut off, penises set on fire, legs being chainsawed off, forks shoved in eyes, pencils forced up noses, bleach being drunk, legs being broken, and faces being shoved in campfires.

Richie is a clumsy, pompous dimwit who attempts to present himself as being much higher in social status than he actually is; he's both deranged and desperate, besides being obsessed with sex. Eddie, a cheerfully violent drunkard, spends his time getting drunk, wasting the dole money and secretly stealing from Richie, although he occasionally has moments of demented genius. Eddie's friends--the gormless Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog--both fear Richie, believing him to be psychotic. Although they sometimes venture out, mostly to the local pub, the Lamb and Flag, many of the episodes are set within the confines of their squalid flat.

Origins and production[edit]

The idea for Bottom was spawned when, in 1991, Edmondson and Mayall co-starred in the West End production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the Queen's Theatre. They have said Bottom was often intended to be a 'cruder cousin' to such plays.

However, the origins of the characters are rooted much more deeply. Edmondson and Mayall had been working together since the late 70s, when they teamed up as '20th Century Coyote'.[7] They developed the characters of Richie and Eddie over the course of their career, basing them loosely on their own relationship. The names themselves come from Edmondson's and Mayall's own nicknames for each other; many of Mayall's characters are referred to by some variation of the name 'Richard', and 'Eddie' is taken from 'Eddie Monsoon', Edmondson's nickname since university, which is a play on his then-stage name, Ade Edmondson (compare Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous, who is called 'Eddie"' by her friend Patsy, and is played by Edmondson's wife Jennifer Saunders). Edmondson played an unrelated character also called Eddie Monsoon, in the second series of The Comic Strip Presents in the episode called "Eddie Monsoon: A Life" (1984).

Ade Edmondson (left) and Rik Mayall (right) as Eddie and Richie in Bottom

The duo would use characters similar to Richie and Eddie in The Young Ones (Rick and Vyvyan, 1982–1984), The Dangerous Brothers (Richard Dangerous and Sir Adrian Dangerous, 1985), Filthy, Rich & Catflap (Richie Rich and Eddie Catflap, 1987), Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door (names not mentioned, 1988), and finally in their adaptation of Waiting for Godot (1991). The series also continued an occasional trend of Edmondson's character having a female name — in this case Edward Elizabeth Hitler.

In a 1995 appearance on Pebble Mill at One, Edmondson admitted that the show's original name was 'My Bottom', with the intention of frustrating any continuity announcers introducing the show. Eventually they settled for just Bottom, which both suited the low comedy of the series and the fact that Richie and Eddie were 'at the bottom of life's heap'. It also provided the ability to produce episodes titled "'s Up" and "'s Out".

The series was filmed in front of a live audience, and was scripted and recorded at 35 minutes, then edited down to 30 minutes in post-production. The original-length scripts can be found in the several script books released, and several completely removed scenes were included in the VHS release Fluff that consisted mostly of bloopers and out-takes. Several (but not all) of these scenes, as well as some smaller sections of dialogue also removed for timing reasons, have been re-inserted for DVD releases (although the packaging does not promote this fact).

The final episode of the second series, "'s Out", was not shown as part of the original broadcasts, nor their initial repeat run. The episode was set on Wimbledon Common and prior to broadcast on 15 July 1992, after the episode was filmed but before it had aired, Rachel Nickell was sexually assaulted and murdered in front of her young son on the Common. Out of sensitivity, and with a hunt for the killer in progress, the BBC decided not to broadcast the episode at that time. It first appeared on the VHS release of series two, before finally being shown for the first time as part of a re-run of series two on 10 April 1995, following the first run of the third series.

Following series two, the series went out of production, with Edmondson and Mayall concentrating on other solo projects, as well as starting the very popular Bottom stage shows; but the series had been so well received that in late 1994, a third series was written and filmed, and broadcast at the start of 1995.

Despite Richie and Eddie seemingly being killed at the end of series three (something which also happened in the episode "Hole", only for them to reappear unharmed in the following episode), a fourth series was written but turned down by the BBC, and several of their live shows (as well as them film Guest House Paradiso) have been written and performed since then.

Episodes[edit]

The following is a list of all the episodes of Bottom. Every episode's name is meant to be a suffix to the word "bottom".

Series 1 (1991)[edit]

Title First broadcast Synopsis
"Smells" 17 September 1991 (1991-09-17) Richie and Eddie take advantage of a revolutionary new sex-spray and head to the pub.
"Gas" 24 September 1991 (1991-09-24) After accidentally beating up the Gas Man, Richie and Eddie must remove an illegal gas pipe without disturbing their violent neighbour.
"Contest" * 1 October 1991 (1991-10-01) After Eddie spends their £11.80 dole on a second-hand copy of Parade, the pair place a bet on the "Miss World" contest.
"Apocalypse" 8 October 1991 (1991-10-08) After receiving £600 from his auntie's will, Richie ends up receiving a curse from a Gypsy fortune teller.
"'s Up" 15 October 1991 (1991-10-15) Richie and Eddie are left in charge of their landlord's shop.
"Accident" 29 October 1991 (1991-10-29) Richie breaks his leg, but is determined not to let it spoil his birthday celebration.

Series 2 (1992)[edit]

Title First broadcast Synopsis
"Digger" 1 October 1992 (1992-10-01) Richie secures a date by pretending to be an aristocrat.
"Culture" * 8 October 1992 (1992-10-08) When their TV is 'taken away', Richie and Eddie desperately try to find ways to fend off boredom.
"Burglary" 15 October 1992 (1992-10-15) Richie and Eddie catch a burglar.
"Parade" + 22 October 1992 (1992-10-22) Richie and Eddie get free money from an identity parade.
"Holy" 29 October 1992 (1992-10-29) Richie and Eddie experience a Christmas Day miracle.
"'s Out" + 10 April 1995 (1995-04-10) Richie and Eddie go camping out on Wimbledon Common.

Series 3 (1995)[edit]

Title First broadcast Synopsis
"Hole" * + 6 January 1995 (1995-01-06) Richie and Eddie are trapped at the top of the tallest Ferris wheel in western Europe which is due to be blown up the very next day.
"Terror" 13 January 1995 (1995-01-13) The pair plan a Halloween party and go trick-or-treating.
"Break" 20 January 1995 (1995-01-20) The duo prepare for their holiday in Doncaster.
"Dough" 27 January 1995 (1995-01-27) Eddie begins forging money, forcing the duo and their friends to enter a pub quiz to pay off a thug.
"Finger" 3 February 1995 (1995-02-03) The pair descend upon a luxury hotel disguised as honeymooners Mr and Mrs Cannonball Taffy O'Jones.
"Carnival" 10 February 1995 (1995-02-10) Richie and Eddie have the best seats for the annual Hammersmith riots, then try to make videos for the BBC.

'*' = Episodes where the episode features only the two main characters
'+' = Episodes where no part of the episode is set in the flat

Stage shows[edit]

The television series spawned five extremely popular live tours, each accompanied by a live recording released on VHS and DVD. The two performers often corpse and seemingly forget their lines and are forced to ad lib - although some audience members have reported the pair supposedly corpsing at the same set points in repeat performances, therefore making it unclear when, and if, genuine corpsing has taken place. During these breaks from the script, the two take part in bouts of one-upmanship, often referencing real-life events (most notably Mayall's well-publicized 1998 quad bike accident) and the area of the venue.

The stage productions were far cruder than the television incarnation, featuring stronger language and new elements such as Richie's latent bisexuality and occasional desire to have sex with Eddie, such is Richie's desperation to have sex with anything. All five live shows were given the 18 certificate in the UK, as opposed to the 15 certificate given to the TV series.

A performance of each live show was recorded and released on VHS and later DVD. These shows have now been shown on Dave. The audio from the same performances were also edited for audiotape release to remove parts which wouldn't work for audio only purposes.

Title Year Recording location
Bottom Live 1993 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
Bottom Live: The Big Number Two Tour 1995 Oxford New Theatre
Bottom Live 3: Hooligan's Island 1997 Bristol Hippodrome
Bottom Live 2001: An Arse Oddity 2001 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour 2003 Southend The Cliffs Pavilion

Guest House Paradiso[edit]

Main article: Guest House Paradiso

Following the 1997 "Hooligan's Island" tour, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson wrote a spin-off movie together, which Edmondson directed, entitled Guest House Paradiso, released in 1999. The DVD release was advertised as the "Bottom movie", although this had been denied on its cinema release, as in 1999's interview on UK breakfast show The Big Breakfast, the week prior to its British cinema release.[8] Nevertheless, despite the characters being given new surnames ('Richard Twat' - which he insists is pronounced 'Thwaite' - and 'Eddie Elizabeth Ndingobamba'), they are effectively the same characters, transposed to the situation of running a grotty remote guest house next to a nuclear power plant. The style of humour was very much in the same vein as Bottom,[9] with a storyline of the pair feeding guests radioactive fish, causing massive amounts of vomiting.

Further plans for Bottom[edit]

Though the pair were working apart, a 4th series was at one point written [during the closing credits on BBC2 it was stated that it will be back for a fourth season][citation needed], but the BBC declined the script, despite announcing that Bottom would return in a voice-over during the end-credits of the original broadcast of the final episode. (Mayall had commented, in typical style, that it was "rejected by some lesbian bitch"[citation needed]). Edmondson has, however, stated in interviews that he would like to make another series of Bottom with Mayall, but "in about fifteen years' time, when they are old men". Rik Mayall maintained that they would work together again in the future, they just need "a good idea".[citation needed]

However, in December 2004, almost exactly a year after the Weapons Grade Y-Fronts tour had ended, Adrian Edmondson told the British Daily Mirror newspaper that the pair felt it was "[...] definitely time to stop. We're both getting too old. We both realised that the show wasn't as engaging as it used to be. We were starting to look a bit ridiculous. [...] We're both nearly fifty and we're starting to feel slightly undignified talking about wanking and knobs constantly."[10] In April 2010, Edmondson confirmed to the Daily Express that he'd quit comedy, stating that his interest in it has declined for many years, and wanted to focus more on his band, claiming it is 'more fun than doing comedy.' He also rubbished the idea of a potential reunion with Rik Mayall, saying it is 'very unlikely'.[11]

However, on 5 March 2011, the duo made a surprise reunion when Ade Edmondson partook in Let's Dance for Comic Relief. The pre-recorded VT, which saw Ade highlight his sentimental side and his adoration for poetry, ended with Rik Mayall hurling a custard pie in his face. During his performance, dubbed "The Dying Swan," Rik appeared again, this time live on stage, to abruptly end Ade's performance by hitting him several times with a frying pan. Backstage, Ade mentioned that it had been eight years since they've "done anything like that." He went on to come out on top of the voting results and won a place in the final; (in which Rik returned, once again, to drop a ton weight upon Ade).

Following this, Adrian Edmondson mentioned that he and Rik Mayall had conceived an idea for a sitcom set in a retirement home. "Rik and I have an idea for a sitcom for when we are very, very old. We want to set it in an old people's home 30 years hence. It will be like Bottom, but we will be hitting each other with colostomy bags!" Edmondson said.[12]

In September 2011, Edmondson appeared on the Sunday-morning cooking show Something For The Weekend and confirmed to presenter Tim Lovejoy that he and Rik Mayall were planning to reunite and make another series of Bottom, set in an old people's home. However no specific dates were stated regarding the project.

Rik Mayall died on 9 June 2014, effectively sealing any future plans for Bottom.

Hooligan's Island[edit]

On 19 August 2012, Adrian Edmondson tweeted that he and Rik Mayall had begun writing a new project together, possibly a series based on their 1997 Bottom stage show, Bottom Live 3: Hooligan's Island. On 23 August the BBC announced that they had commissioned a series of Hooligan's Island to be aired on BBC2 in 2013.[13][14] However, the project was cancelled that October prior to production as Edmondson explained that he wished to pursue other interests.

DVD releases[edit]

DVD Title Disc # Year No. of Ep. DVD release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Complete Series 1 1 1991 6 18 August 2003 6 October 2005
Complete Series 2 1 1992 6 30 August 2004 2 March 2006
Complete Series 3 1 1995 6 8 August 2005 6 July 2006
Complete Series 13 3 1991–1995 18 30 September 2003 3 October 2005 5 October 2006
The Very Best of... 1 1991–1995 5 5 August 2002 8 August 2002

In Australia, Bottom: Series One Episodes 1-3 (Comedy Bites) was released on 4 March 2010.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Bottom". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "BBC - Britain's Best Sitcom - Top 11 to 100". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Cole, Tom (15 October 2012). "BBC Bottom reunion series Hooligan's Island scrapped". Radio Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Edmondon, Adrian; Mayall, Rik (1995-01-06). "Hole". Bottom. Season 3. Episode 1. BBC.
  5. ^ Edmondon, Adrian; Mayall, Rik (1995-02-10). "Carnival". Bottom. Season 3. Episode 6. BBC.
  6. ^ Edmondon, Adrian; Mayall, Rik (1992-10-15). "Burglary". Bottom. Season 2. Episode 3. BBC.
  7. ^ "BBC - Comedy - People A-Z - Rik Mayall'". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Rik and Ade on the Big Breakfast". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  9. ^ "Empire review of Guest House Paradiso". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  10. ^ Davies, Barbara (2004-12-01). "The Young Ones Have Grown Old. So It's Time for Rik and I to Split". Daily Mirror. 
  11. ^ "Adrian Edmondson 'unlikely' to work with Bottom partner Rik Mayall again after quitting comedy". Daily Express. 
  12. ^ "Mayall and Edmondson write retirement home comedy". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "BBC Two announces raft of new commissions". 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Skipper, Ben (2012-08-23). "Yahoo". Uk.tv.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 

External links[edit]