1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 5 (UK)
39 x 30 minute episodes
3 x 60 minute episodes
Born Russell Roberts in Chester in September 1947, Abbot was a drummer and comic turn with the humorous cabaret group The Black Abbots for 15 years before leaving music to concentrate full-time on comedy.
He enjoyed occasional supporting spots on Who Do You Do? in 1973, followed six years later by a regular role on the 1979 series Freddie Starr’s Variety Madhouse. Abbot then took over the series when Starr quit.
He carved a particular niche with an array of comedy characters – among them Cooperman (a bungling superhero who fought evil “just like that”); Secret Agent X; stupid aviator Boggles; wide-boy Sid the Spiv; German madman Fritz Crackers; quiffed rocker Vince Prince; Wilf Bumworthy; Barratt Holmes the detective (accompanied by Dr Wimpey); orange-haired Scot Jimmy McJimmy; and Harley Street heartthrob Dr Profile.
Abbot was supported superbly by a regular backup team, two of whom (Les Dennis and Michael Barrymore) used Madhouse as a springboard to their own personal success.
After six years on ITV, Russ Abbot jumped ship to the BBC in 1986 with The Russ Abbot Show.