Bottom (TV series)

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Bottom
Bottom TV Show Screenshot Main Title Card.png
Opening title card
Genre Situation comedy
Created by Adrian Edmondson
Rik Mayall
Starring Adrian Edmondson
Rik Mayall
Opening theme "BB's Blues" by The Bum Notes
Ending theme "Last Night" by The Bum Notes
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 18
Production
Location(s) Hammersmith, London
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original network BBC2
Picture format 576i (4:3 SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 17 September 1991 – 10 April 1995

Bottom is a British television sitcom created by Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall that originally aired on BBC2 from 17 September 1991 to 10 April 1995 across three series. The show stars Edmondson as Eddie Hitler and Mayall as Richard Richard, two flatmates who live on the dole in Hammersmith, London. It is noted for its chaotic, nihilistic humour and violent comedy slapstick.[1]

Bottom spawned five stage show tours between 1993 and 2003, and a feature film, Guest House Paradiso (1999). Plans for a spin-off series titled Hooligan's Island featuring various Bottom characters were cancelled in 2012.[2] In 2008, Bottom came in at No. 45 in the "Britain's Best Sitcom" poll by the BBC.[3] The show currently airs 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+.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main characters
Recurring characters

Plot[edit]

Eddie and Richie are two crude, perverted lunatics with no jobs, very little money, and only a flat at 11 Mafeking Parade in Hammersmith, London.[6] Mayall described them as "unemployed survivors".[7] They spend their time concocting desperate schemes to acquire sex, fighting each other violently, and getting into outlandish, legally and morally questionable situations. Bottom is considered the most violent example of Britcoms; examples of violence include teeth being knocked out, heads being crushed in refrigerator doors, fingers being cut off, crotches being 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 family heirlooms and cash 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.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Edmondson and Mayall have been a double-act since their first meeting at 20th Century Coyote, a comedy troupe, while students at Manchester University, in 1976.[8][9] They developed the Eddie and Richie characters over the course of their career, loosely based on their own friendship. 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. The duo used characters similar to Eddie and Richie in their past television comedy shows The Young Ones, The Dangerous Brothers, Filthy, Rich & Catflap.

Bottom developed in 1991 when Edmondson and Mayall planned their West End adaptation of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett at the Queen's Theatre. According to Mayall, it was the first project that the two wrote in "some time", and it was their best work, marking "a new chapter in their relationship".[9] Its title was initially as a joke; Mayall explained that Alan Yentob, then head of BBC2, took a disliking to the name and so he Edmondson went with it. He added, "It's about two guys at the bottom of the heap ... we called it Bottom to make people think we were doing bottom jokes".[7] "It's rude, stupid and a waste of license payers' money".[10]

Filming[edit]

Each episode was filmed in front of a live audience at 35 minutes in length, then edited to 30 minutes. 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. Several (but not all) of these scenes, as well as some smaller sections of dialogue also removed for timing reasons, are included in DVD releases.

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, the BBC delayed its broadcast before the VHS release of series two, before finally being shown as part of a re-run of series two on 10 April 1995.

Following series two Edmondson and Mayall took a break to pursue other projects, including the Bottom stage shows. They reconvened in 1994 to film series three. A fourth series was written but turned down by the BBC.

Further plans for Bottom[edit]

Though the pair were working apart, a 4th series was at one point written[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[citation needed]. (Mayall had commented, in typical style, that it was "rejected by some lesbian bitch"[citation needed]). Edmondson had, however, stated in interviews that he would have liked 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, they just needed "a good idea".[citation needed]

However, in December 2004, almost exactly a year after the Weapons Grade Y-Fronts tour had ended, 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."[11] In April 2010, Edmondson confirmed to the Daily Express that he had 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 dismissed the idea of a potential reunion with Mayall, saying it is 'very unlikely'.[12]

However, on 5 March 2011, the duo made a surprise reunion when Edmondson partook in Let's Dance for Comic Relief. The pre-recorded show ended with Mayall hurling a custard pie in Edmondson's face. During his performance, dubbed "The Dying Swan," Mayall appeared again, this time live on stage, to abruptly end Edmondson's performance by hitting him several times with a frying pan. Backstage, Edmondson 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 Mayall returned, once again, to drop a ton weight upon Edmondson.

Following this, Edmondson mentioned that he and 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!"[13]

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

Hooligan's Island[edit]

On 19 August 2012, Edmondson tweeted that he and Mayall had begun writing a new project together, possibly a series based on their 1997 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.[14][15] However, the project was cancelled that October prior to production as Edmondson explained that he wished to pursue other interests.

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

Spin-offs[edit]

Stage show[edit]

Edmondson and Mayall toured Bottom across five UK tours. The first tour, Bottom Live, lasted 43 dates across 10 weeks in 1993.[16] The stage shows were often cruder than the television series with 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. A show from each tour was recorded and released for home video.

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.[17] 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,[18] with a storyline of the pair feeding guests radioactive fish, causing massive amounts of vomiting.

Episodes[edit]

Note: 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 featuring only the two main characters
'+' = Episodes where no part of the episode is set in the flat

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.

DVD edit[edit]

DVD releases of Bottom have an audio edit made to the fourth episode of the first series called Apocalypse. At the funfair when Richie realises that his wallet is missing, he originally called the fair staff "thieving b*****d gypos". In the DVD releases the word 'gypos' has been replaced with 'yobbos'. [19][20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Bottom". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  2. ^ Cole, Tom (15 October 2012). "BBC Bottom reunion series Hooligan's Island scrapped". Radio Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "BBC - Britain's Best Sitcom - Top 11 to 100". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  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. Richie: Haha, evening. It's eleven, Mafeking Parade. Yes, get some officers round here immediately... 
  7. ^ a b "Who's Laughing Now?". Arena. 1991. 
  8. ^ "BBC - Comedy - People A-Z - Rik Mayall'". Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Grant, Steven (25 September 1991). "Bums The Word". Time Out. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Dead from the Bottom Up". NME. 12 October 1991. Retrieved 5 January 2016.  Rik Mayall Interviews and Articles Archive.
  11. ^ Davies, Barbara (2004-12-01). "The Young Ones Have Grown Old. So It's Time for Rik and I to Split". Daily Mirror. 
  12. ^ "Adrian Edmondson 'unlikely' to work with Bottom partner Rik Mayall again after quitting comedy". Daily Express. 
  13. ^ "Mayall and Edmondson write retirement home comedy". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "BBC Two announces raft of new commissions". 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Skipper, Ben (2012-08-23). "Yahoo". Uk.tv.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  16. ^ "Direct Mayall". GQ. June 1993. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  17. ^ "Rik and Ade on the Big Breakfast". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  18. ^ "Empire review of Guest House Paradiso". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d2Am9AVzLY Bottom uncut clip
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IeI5bQcWg4 Bottom cut clip

External links[edit]