Adrian Edmondson “loved” Rik Mayall but admits frustrations over his behaviour in ‘Bottom’

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

In a heartfelt and revealing interview, Adrian Edmondson is set to share his memories and emotions about the end of an iconic comedy partnership with Rik Mayall. This open conversation is part of a soon-to-be-aired documentary titled “Bottom Exposed,” produced by Studio Crook for Gold. The documentary delves into the world of “Bottom,” the iconic British sitcom that brought joy and laughter to audiences for years.

“Bottom Exposed” takes viewers on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the timeless comedy created by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. The documentary, which began production earlier this year, features never-before-seen interviews with various collaborators from the classic sitcom. Arriving two decades after “Bottom’s” last live stage show, it precedes next year’s 10th anniversary of Rik Mayall’s untimely passing.

Bottom: hilariously nihilstic fun

Bottom originally aired on BBC2 from 1991 to 1995. The show revolves around the antics of Richard “Richie” Richard, and Edward Elizabeth “Eddie” Hitler. These two characters, both unemployed and utterly inept, share a dingy flat in Hammersmith, London. Their comedic escapades are characterized by chaotic, nihilistic humour and over-the-top slapstick comedy.

A young Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall
Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall had first performed together in 1979.

In his forthcoming autobiography, “Berserker! An Autobiography,” Edmondson reflects on the profound impact of Rik Mayall’s passing, describing it as a “dreadful shock to the world, and to me.” He candidly expresses his struggle to come to terms with the loss, stating, “My head fills with a kind of white noise. It’s difficult to comprehend that he’s dead.”

Edmondson and Mayall’s comedic partnership dates back to the mid-1970s. “It emerged from iconic shows like “The Young Ones” and “Filthy Rich & Catflap,” paving the way for “Bottom’s” creation.” Their chemistry was clear, and it gave birth to yet another now-classic comedy.

However, as Edmondson reveals in his memoir, the partnership faced its share of challenges. During their first live tour of “Bottom” in 1993, both comedians embraced heavy drinking, celebrating their success. Edmondson recalls, “It turns out, in the long run, that Rik isn’t very good at drinking“. This alcohol-induced friction cast a shadow over their relationship.

Ade admits to tension between the two

Despite attempts to address these issues, the strain on their partnership continued to grow. Edmondson noticed a shift in Mayall’s behaviour on stage, as Mayall began to play up to his status as a “comic god” rather than staying true to their beloved characters. Edmondson explains, “The character is humble, nervous, insecure, scared and desperate. Rik isn’t.”

Adrian Edmondson opened up about the shock death of Rik in a new documentary.

Their creative differences reached a tipping point during the 2003 tour, leading Edmondson to the difficult decision of ending their partnership. Even after their split, Edmondson’s attempts to reconnect with Mayall as friends were often misconstrued as attempts to revive their double act.

In a twist of fate, they were commissioned to write “Hooligan’s Island,” a spin-off of “Bottom,” in 2012. However, this collaboration proved to be the final nail in the coffin for their partnership. Mayall’s focus on comparing the number of jokes each had in the script signalled the end of an era.

Edmondson reflects on this period with mixed emotions, acknowledging the glory of their past work together but expressing relief that they didn’t attempt a final series. It’s clear that their comedy duo was extraordinary while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end.

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