Adrian Charles "Ade" Edmondson (born 24 January 1957) is an English actor, comedian, director, writer and musician. He is probably best known for his comedic roles as Vyvyan Basterd in The Young Ones (1982–1984), and Eddie Hitler in Bottom (1991–1995), which he also wrote together with co-star Rik Mayall, his long-time comedy partner.
Edmondson is the second of four children, was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and as a child he has spent time living with his family in a variety of places including Cyprus, Bahrain, and Uganda, where his father was a teacher in the armed forces. He attended Pocklington School in Yorkshire from 11 to 18 years of age and later went on to the University of Manchester to study drama, receiving a 2:1 degree, where he met his future comedy partner Rik Mayall. They soon became friends and before long found work on the burgeoning alternative comedy scene.
1980sEditUnder the name 20th Century Coyote they became one of the star attractions at The Comedy Store. Mayall told most of the jokes early in their act, while Edmondson would act-up in the background, developing his act to dismantle the clubs piano, before he created his own material. As their popularity grew, both Edmondson and Mayall and other upcoming comedians (including Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson, Nigel planer and French and Saunders) split away from the Comedy Store to set up their own venue: The Comic Strip club. The Comic Strip soon gained a reputation as one of the most popular comedy clubs in London and soon came to the attention of Channel 4. Edmondson and the others were commissioned to act in six self-contained half-hour films, using the group as comedy actors rather than stand-up performers. The series, entitled The Comic Strip Presents... debuted on 2 November 1982 (the opening night of Channel 4). The first episode to be broadcast was "Five Go Mad in Dorset", a parody of Enid Blyton's Famous Five, which drew anger from some viewers for the way it mercilessly satirised a children's classic. Edmondson starred as one of the five. At the same time as The Comic Strip Presents... was being negotiated, the BBC signed up Edmondson, Mayall, Richardson, Planer and Sayle to star in The Young Ones, a sitcom in the same anarchic style as The Comic Strip. (Richardson later decided not to proceed and was replaced by Christopher Ryan.) The show revolved around the shared house where four students lived during their study at Scumbag College. It was noted at the time of its first airing for its violent slapstick, with Edmondson's character as the main instigator, and this is a trait which has stayed with him throughout his career. The series captured public imagination and remains one of Britain's most popular sitcoms. During this time, Edmondson also appeared in a bank advertisement in what was, basically, his "Vyvyan" guise. Following the success of The Comic Strip Presents... and, to a greater extent, The Young Ones, Edmondson and Mayall returned to their "Coyote" dynamic in the double act "The Dangerous Brothers" with Edmondson as "Sir Adrian Dangerous" in Saturday Live (1985–1987). In 1983, he appeared as the lead singer Vim Fuego in the spoof heavy metal band called Bad News, with his Young Ones co-stars Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson of "Comic Strip Presents...".
In 1985, Edmondson married his Comic Strip co star Jennifer Saunders. They have three daughters: Eleanor, Beatrice and Freya. Edmondson's university nickname of "Eddie Monsoon," a play on his surname, inspired the name of Saunders' character, Edina Monsoon, on Absolutely Fabulous and his own characters Eddie Catflap (Filthy Rich & Catflap) and Eddie Hitler (Bottom). Their joint production company is called Mr and Mrs Monsoon Limited.In 1986, Edmondson achieved a number one hit in the UK singles charts when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed up with Cliff Richard to record a new version of "Living Doll" for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign. Despite having been killed off in the final episode of the series, Edmondson played Vyvyan one last time in the video. The same year he co-wrote the book How to be a Complete Bastard together with Mark Leigh and Mike Lepine. In 1987 he reunited with Planer and Mayall to star in Filthy Rich and Catflap. The series was penned by The Young Ones' co-writer Ben Elton and saw Edmondson display the same slapstick characteristics as Vyvyan, but was closer in personality to his later character "Eddie Hitler" in Bottom. The show received critical acclaim but poor viewing figures and was cancelled after one series. 1987 also saw Edmondson co-starring with Mayall in the ITV sit-com Hardwicke House. Due to the adverse reaction of both press and viewers however, ITV withdrew the series after two episodes, and the remainder has never been shown.
In 1988, he released a follow up to How To Be A Complete Bastard called The Bastard's Book of the WorstIn 1989 Edmondson made an appearance in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth as The Red Baron, arch-nemesis to Mayall's character, Lord Flashheart. .
Edmondson played Brad Majors in the 1990 West End run of The Rocky Horror Show, alongside Tim McInnerny as Frank-N-Furter and Ed Tudor-Pole as Riff-Raff. He also appears on the soundtrack album of the production.
Adrian Edmondson (left) as Eddie Hitler in Bottom along with Rik Mayall.In 1991, Edmondson was teamed up with his comedy partner Rik Mayall once more, this time co-writing and co-starring in their own sitcom, Bottom. Edmondson starred as "Edward Elizabeth Hitler" opposite Mayall's "Richard Richard." The series featured the slapstick and crude humour for which the pair had become famous, but also more in-depth character analysis. Mayall and Edmonson have said Bottom was aimed to be more than just a series of toilet gags, but a cruder cousin to plays like Waiting for Godot about the pointlessness of life. Edmondson played Estragon to Mayall's Vladimir in Samuel Beckett's play in the West End, in a production that opened at the Queen's Theatre on 30 September 1991. Bottom became very popular, but it was criticised for its often vulgar humour. Edmondson was also censured for essentially reprising the same character he had been playing for his entire career. It was also incarnated into five UK stage tours (1993, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003). The violent natures of these shows saw both Edmondson and Mayall ending up in hospital.
In 1993 Edmondson starred alongside Richard Briers in a black comedy called If You See God, Tell Him. Edmondson played Gordon Spry, whose uncle (Briers) is paralysed and has a greatly reduced attention span. His erratic behaviour causes problems for Gordon. The series comprised four episodes, each 45 minutes long, and only broadcast once. The BBC has not repeated the series, although 1 episode was broadcast on BBC Four on 3 December 2007.
September 1995 saw the release of his first (comic) novel, The Gobbler. The same year he voiced "the animal", an advertising character for British snack Peperami.
In 1996, he played the role of Ace Face/Bellboy at The Who's performance of Quadrophenia at London's Hyde Park. A video game called Animal, featuring Peperami's "the animal", was released the same year, with the character being voiced by Ade Edmondson.
In 1997-1998 he voiced engine stoker Jones, a major character in the animated series Captain Star.
In the 1998 ITV Pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, Edmondson played Dame Dolly alongside Neil Morrissey, Denise Van Outon, Paul Merton, Julian Clary and Julie Walters. The show was broadcast on 25 December on ITV1 and continues to be shown every year around Christmas.Following the 1997 Bottom stage tour, Hooligans Island, Mayall and Edmondson worked on the idea of a Bottom film in which Richie and Eddie run a hotel. The two had been working on the script together, and were set to co-direct. In 1998 Mayall was seriously injured and spent a few days in a coma. Edmondson found this time very difficult. When Mayall came around he helped Edmondson complete the script while still in hospital, but it was decided that he was still not fit enough to direct, so Edmondson took the sole directing duties on what became Guest House Paradiso. Since the 2003 Bottom tour, which ended on 12 December of that year, Edmondson has shown a lack of interest in working with his friend Mayall, claiming he is more difficult to work with since his accident. In December 2004 The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted him as saying: "It’s definitely time to stop. We're getting too old. We both realised that the show wasn't as engaging as it used to be. We were starting to look a bit ridiculous. [...] We're both nearly 50 and we're starting to feel slightly undignified talking about wanking and knobs constantly." Rik Mayall has repeatedly said that they will work together again, they just needed "a good idea."
Edmonson appeared regularly in series 4 of the BBC mystery series Jonathan Creek, broadcast in 2003–2004.
In Surviving Disaster, a BBC docu-drama about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, broadcast at the start of 2006, Edmondson played the role of Dr Valeri Legasov.
In 2005 Edmondson appeared as a celebrity model on Star Portraits with Rolf Harris.
From 2005 to 2008 he appeared as Percy 'Abra' Durant in the medical drama Holby City.
In 2008 he played Henry Austen in the BBC produced film Miss Austen Regrets.
From 2008 onwards he has played Vernon in ITV sit-com Teenage Kicks.
In April 2009 Edmondson appeared on the cooking show Hell's Kitchen, where he reached the final, coming second to winner Linda Evans.
In a 2009 interview, Edmondson stated he was 'finally' referring to himself as Adrian rather than his established nickname Ade, as he felt it was time to 'grow up.'
Edmondson is a fan and current season ticket holder of Npower League One football side Exeter City and often watches them at home and away matches.
He played the role of 'Captain Hook' in the Canterbury Marlowe Arena pantomime during its Christmas 2009 run.
In April 2010, Edmondson confirmed to the Daily Express that he'd quit comedy, stating that his interest in it has declined for many years, and wanted to focus more on his band, claiming it is 'more fun than doing comedy.' He also rubbished the idea of a potential reunion with Rik Mayall, saying it is 'very unlikely'. In an August edition of Radio 4's Chain Reaction he clarified to Lee Mack that, he hadn't really quit but was focussing more on music and farming. He confirmed that he and Mayall often spoke of a reunion when they are old men.
Edmondson has directed pop videos for Fiesta (1988) by The Pogues, Prime Mover (1987) by Zodiac Mindwarp, Like The Weather (1988) by 10,000 Maniacs, Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness (1988) by Sandie Shaw, and Hourglass by Squeeze (1987).
A fan of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Edmondson performed vocals with them as part of their 2006 reformation and countrywide tour, and contributed vocals and writing for their 2007 album Pour l'Amour des Chiens.
Together with Maartin Allcock, Andy Dinan, and Troy Donockley, Edmondson founded the band The Bad Shepherds in 2008, performing punk and new wave classics on folk instruments. The band have released two albums and toured in 2009, playing at places like the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival.
Comic Strip FilmographyEdit
- Five Go Mad in Dorset (2 November 1982) - Dick
- War (3 January 1983) - Mike/Hatchett/Julio/Bolsen/Man in Cage/Jenkins/Zarkoff
- The Beat Generation (17 January 1983) - Desmond
- Bad News Tour (24 January 1983) - Vim Fuego , Writer (written by) , Composer
- Summer School (31 January 1983) - Peter
- Five Go Mad on Mescalin (2 November 1983) - Dick
- Dirty Movie (7 January 1984) - Bean , Writer (written by)
- Susie (14 January 1984) - Martin
- A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques (21 January 1984) - Billy
- Gino: Full Story and Pics (28 January 1984) - Gordon/Bill
- Eddie Monsoon, a Life (4 February 1984) - Eddie Monsoon , Writer (written by)
- Slags (11 February 1984) - Ace
- Consuela, or, the New Mrs. Saunders (1 January 1986) - John
- Private Enterprise (2 January 1986) - Brian , Writer (written by) , Director
- The Strike (20 February 1988) - Adrian/Slim/Policeman
- More Bad News (27 February 1988) - Vim Fuego , Writer (written by) , Director
- Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door (5 March 1988) - Dreamy Time Escort , Writer (written by)
- The Yob (12 March 1988) - Michael
- South Atlantic Raiders: Part 1 (1 February 1990) - Billy
- South Atlantic Raiders: Part 2 Argie Bargie! (8 February 1990) - Billy
- GLC: The Carnage Continues... (15 February 1990) - Billy/Prince/Giles Cricket Bat Portland
- Oxford (22 February 1990) - 2nd MI5 Man/Fan
- Les Dogs (8 March 1990) - Bestman
- Red Nose of Courage (9 April 1992) - John Major - Coco the Clown
- Space Virgins from Planet Sex (29 April 1993) - 'K'/Air Traffic Controller
- Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase (13 May 1993) - Gregory Dawson
- Demonella (20 May 1993) - Sid Vicious
- Four Men in a Car (12 April 1998) - Ian
- Four Men in a Plane (4 January 2000) - Ian Crisp