Bottom (television)

From Academic Kids

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Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson as Richie and Eddie in Bottom

Bottom was a British sitcom of the early 1990s written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, who were the show's main stars, playing Richard Richard (Richie) and Edward Elizabeth Hitler (Eddie) respectively; they share a flat in Hammersmith.

Richie is a perpetually optimistic dimwit; Eddie is a cheerfully violent dipsomaniac. Their arguments often lead to exaggeratedly violent fight scenes. Some have likened this to a live action cartoon, however, the violence contained in the series is somewhat more graphic – heads slammed in and under refrigerators, hands stapled to tables, legs being chainsawed off, penises set on fire, fingers cut off, televisions smashed over heads, darts thrown in eyes, faces shoved in camp fires, legs broken or teeth knocked out.

Richie is known to be a virgin, and has a microscopic penis. He usually wears a white shirt and black tie, blue jeans (with Y-fronts clearly visible) and he has a light brown raincoat. Eddie is an alcoholic (he claims that this is because he "drinks a lot"). He wears glasses akin to those of Eric Morecambe, a brown suit and a white shirt with a black tie. He also has a brown pork pie hat and a navy blue overcoat. He has two real friends, called Spudgun (Steven O'Donnell) and Dave Hedgehog (Christopher Ryan).

The characters Richie and Eddie bear perhaps closer inspection than any of Rik and Ade's other characters. Despite sharing a deep mutual hatred, the two are eternally entwined due to their basic character flaws. Eddie's alcoholism and violent nature means that he has not been able to hold down a steady job since his very short lived career as a "bunny girl", back in the '70s, and it is unlikely that any landlord would grant him tenancy, even if he could afford the rent, therefore he is forced to rely upon Richie's charity. Richie, on the other hand, is such a self-obsessed, perverted, wittering git that without Eddie, it is unlikely that he would make another friend. The two have an unspoken acceptance of their co-dependency and their relationship tends to fluctuate between acting like a married couple (filling in the crossword together, Richie putting an unconscious Eddie to bed every night) and frustrated (often violent) desperation, so much so that both have attempted suicide – Eddie drinking bleach (albeit drunkenly) and Richie trying to gas himself in the oven (albeit merely an attempt at getting Eddie to buy him a drink).

Although Richie is the loud one, who claims to know a great deal, he is actually a complete fool (he once announced "I really am more of an Elizabethan type, you know, 13th century, Shakespeare, the French Revolution"; he later tried to convince a Falklands ex-serviceman that he had fought ten years there and had seized the fictitious "Straud Hill" and liberated the Port Stanley's branch of Tesco). Eddie, on the other hand seems to have quite good general knowledge, which he keeps to himself. He can play chess (and spends six hours trying, unsuccessfully, to teach Richie), he knows a fair amount about Napoleon and Wellington (who Richie claims invented the Chelsea Boot) and appears well versed in the works of Vivaldi, who Richie believes to be a football player). Eddie is also a great one for plans (though most involve trying to get a free pint from the landlord at the Lamb and Flag, Dick Head). One such plan, in the episode Dough, involved Eddie printing fake money. Instead of making counterfeits which appear real, he plasters them with pornographic doodles of the Royal Family and other such celebrities (on the 5 the Queen "gets her jugs out", on the 50 note there is an orgy involving the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Bobby Charlton, and on the 27 note there is a picture of Sylvester Stallone "fisting" Mr. MacHenry (from The Magic Roundabout).

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Richie and Eddie posing for Bottom Live 5: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts

Most of the time it seems that Richie tries to live like he thinks everyone else does (especially in Holy) keeping to British traditions while Eddie just prefers watching TV. The programmes he watches are particulary amusing, whether they be Miss World to mistakingly renting, what he believed to be pornographic videos turned out to be a children's story (The Furry Honeypot Adventure) to a video about 19th century pottery (Big Jugs). It is unclear how they afford to live and pay rent, however it is believed that Richie's aunt gives him money regularly although Eddie probably spends it on booze.

Richie and Eddie's relatives are often mentioned: Richie's Grandad was at the Battle of the Somme, while Eddie's Uncle used to work in a prison, sewing mailbags and anything they told him to do. Richie's Auntie is very rich and dies in one episode with Richie getting a large sum of money out of the Will. Richie's dad, Oswald Richard, was an acquaintance of Adolf Hitler (the real one, not Eddie's mother) and betrayed Britain in World War II; according to Richie, his dad moved in mysterious circles, because he had one leg shorter than the other. Richie's sister lives near Hammersmith and apparently looks just like Richie.

There are certain situations which crop up in most episodes.

  • Richie turning almost anything into an innuendo.
  • Eddie or other people referring to his last name, Hitler, usually asking if he is related to Adolf Hitler. This usually causes confusion as Eddie's mother is called Adolf Hitler.
  • Richie getting overly excited about something, usually invoving him feeling himself in a sexual way.
  • Eddie getting drunk on strange substances (e.g. bleach, brake fluid, Old Spice and Mr. Sheen)
  • Richie being very patriotic, usually invoving him saying "We are English after all"
  • Eddie looking at the audience when Richie is talking complete rubbish.
  • Richie making fun of Eddie's favourite football team Queens Park Rangers (QPR).
  • Some over exotic names of local people (e.g. Old Ted Suicide McGloomy and Mad Dog Patrick do you want some of this O'Fist).

Richie and Eddie are basically variations on characters the duo had been playing for years; the earlier Filthy, Rich and Catflap had featured a slightly more watered-down version. The Dangerous Brothers, their sketch in Saturday Live in 1985, also featured violent slapstick.

They also both starred in The Young Ones.

Often considered to be the most violent and profane example of the Britcom genre, the programme ran for three series of six episodes each.

Five live theatre shows have been spun off over the years, and have been extremely popular as they often forget their lines and have to ad-lib. They also make fun of the City they are in by making the local people out to be stupid. The five live shows are as follows:

  • Bottom Live (1993)
  • Bottom Live: The Big Number Two Tour (1995)
  • Bottom Live 3 Hooligans Island (1997)
  • Bottom Live 2001: An Arse Oddity (2001)
  • Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour (2003)

Another loose (in more ways than one) spin off from the series is the movie Guest House Paradiso, in which Mayall and Edmondson use the big screen as an opportunity to take the "comic" depiction of extreme violence and bodily functions to new heights (or depths); the film climaxes with an orgy of projectile vomiting that has to be seen to be believed.


Episode list

(Episode titles are intended to be preceded by the word "Bottom")

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

External links



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