The show was the creation of comedy-duo Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. Unlike previous productions featuring the two, Bottom did not have any input from Ben Elton, who had co-created and written The Young Ones and Filthy, Rich and Catflap. Eighteen episodes were filmed between 1991 and 1995 over three series and aired on BBC2, with five live shows filmed between 1993 and 2003. The show incorporates the elements of a sitcom with violent slapstick, toilet humour and frequent use of the double entendre. All material was written by Rik and Ade, with the first two series being directed by legendary BBC director Ed Bye. A feature film based on the show titled Guest House Paradiso was released in 1999.
Cast & CharactersEdit
- Steven O'Donnell as Spudgun
- Christopher Ryan as Dave Hedgehog
- Lee Cornes as Dick Head
- Roger Sloman as Mr Harrison
Concept & CreationEdit
The idea for Bottom is said to have come about after Rik and Ade appeared together in the West End theatre production of Waiting For Godot. The dynamic between the two characters in the play formed a basis for the show, however Rik and Ade had already been working together for a very long time and the strong comedic relationship between the two was already present. The characters of Richie and Eddie are said to be based on their own real-life relationship, which was rife with one-upmanship, toilet humour and a great comedy dynamic.
The show was originally intended to be called My Bottom, so as to frustrate continuity announcers on BBC2 introducing the show and to encourage people to say "did you see My Bottom last night?" This idea was dropped late on to simply Bottom to reflect it's low humour and that the main characters were living at the bottom of the social ladder. Each episode was roughly 35 minutes long, edited down to 30 for television broadcast. The missing minutes for each episode were restored for the DVD releases. The third episode of the first series "Contest" has long been thought by fans to have been the pilot for the series, as there are notable differences in the layout of the set, the quality of the recording and even the characterisation and appearance of Richie and Eddie.
After two series over 1991 and 1992, the show went on hiatus whilst Rik and Ade concentrated on other projects, which included the very successful 1993 stage show Bottom Live. The live show and the subsequent UK tour was so popular that a third series was written, filmed and broadcast in 1995. A fourth series was written, but not picked up by the BBC. Material for the unfilmed episodes was recycled for use in the following four live UK tours.
In 2012, Rik and Ade announced the intention to return to their Bottom characters with Hooligan's Island, based on the third live stage show. In 2013 however Ade pulled out of the project. In an interview with The Mirror, Rik stated he was desperate to bring the characters back but Ade didn't want to. In the interview he states that Ade had this idea of catching up with Richie and Eddie when they were in their sixties in a nursing home, and instead of beating each other up with frying pans they used colostomy bags instead. With the untimely death of Rik Mayall in June 2014, the project has been shelved.
Bottom has been overlooked by critics and broadcasters alike, only truly achieving recognition in television repeats and following Rik Mayall's passing, where it has been described as a clever political commentary amidst the slapstick violence and toilet humour. The Guardian in particular has described it as "unfairly labelled as juvenile and tasteless, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson's flatshare comedy was one of the last sitcoms to boast political insight with the power to make you laugh uncontrollably."
Seasons & EpisodesEdit
See Live Shows
- Lyricist Tim Rice has stated that he was inspired to write the Lion King classic "Hakuna Matata" after watching an episode of Bottom.
- The opening theme tune is a cover of jazz musician BB King's "BB Blues," and is performed by The Bum Notes.
- The closing theme tune is a cover of "Last Night" by the Mar-Keys, performed by The Bum Notes.
- In 2008 was voted number 45 in "Britain's Best Sitcom."