Home Television Comedy Russ Abbot’s (Saturday) Madhouse

Russ Abbot’s (Saturday) Madhouse

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.

Russ Abbot
Susie Blake
Les Dennis
Bella Emberg
Dustin Gee
Sherrie Hewson
Jeffrey Holland
Michael Barrymore