1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 5 (UK)
18 x 30 minute episodes
Bottom presented the ongoing adventures in the sordid life of two of the world’s most repellent unemployed bottom-feeders who shared a dilapidated flat together above a shop in Hammersmith, London.
Double act Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall (who first made their mark on TV in The Young Ones) wrote and performed the series which mined the anarchic, violent slapstick of their stage act.
Mayall was Richie Rich – snivelling, self-centred and virginal – while Edmondson played the purposefully direct and headbangingly violent Eddie Hitler.
Richie and Eddie were best friends but, having lived in each other’s pockets for most of their lives, they loathed each other with a venom that commonly resulted in extreme domestic punch-ups.
They deluded themselves that they were fantastically attractive, suave and sophisticated, but in reality they were vile, socially inept chauvinists with appalling personal hygiene and no redeeming qualities.
They were continually surprised by their repeated failure to attract women despite their relentlessly enthusiastic endeavours, including a dating agency and a dubiously-named aphrodisiac spray.
Episodes also centred on their pathetic attempts to make money by gambling, stealing, swindling or waiting for relatives to die – anything but actually working. Most of the comedy lay in the cartoonish slapstick violence that Richie and Eddie would frequently inflict upon each other, and the perennial recourse to toilet humour and jokes about body parts. Another recurring gag was Richie’s implausible claim to have fought in the Falklands conflict.
The title of each episode was one word appended to “Bottom” – ‘Bottom Smells’, ‘Bottom Gas’, ‘Bottom’s Up’ etc – and each instalment was chock-full of farting, dirty socks, festering food, vomiting and vile male habits. Mayall and Edmondson had originally considered calling the show Your Bottom, in the hope that viewers would declare “I saw Your Bottom on the telly last night”.
A big-screen adaptation, Guest House Paradiso (1999), with Richie and Eddie disastrously attempting to run a hotel, was critically mauled, but a stage version toured British theatres to appreciative audiences.