Adrian Edmondson

Adrian Edmondson

Infobox Comedian
name = Adrian Edmondson

birth_name = Adrian Charles Edmondson
birth_date = birth date and age|1957|1|24|df=y
birth_place = Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, UK
medium =
nationality = British
active = 1982–present
genre = Comedy
influences = John Cleese
influenced = David Walliams
spouse = Jennifer Saunders (m.1985)
domesticpartner =
notable_work = Vyvyan Basterd in "The Young Ones"
Edward Elizabeth Hitler 'Eddie' in "Bottom"

Adrian Charles "Ade" Edmondson (born 24 January 1957) is an English actor, comedian, director and writer. He is probably best known for his comedic roles as the stereotypical violent punk rocker 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.

Early life

Edmondson, the second of four children, was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and 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 when he was a child. 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. Under the name "20th Century Coyote" they became one of the star attractions at the The Comedy Store. As their popularity grew, they 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 the 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 (or occasionally Lady) 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 and Nigel Planer, and Peter Richardson of "Comic Strip Presents...".

In 1985, Edmondson married his "Comic Strip" partner Jennifer Saunders. The couple now 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.

In 1989 Edmondson made an appearance in an episode of "Blackadder Goes Forth" as The Red Baron, arch-nemesis to Mayall's character, Lord Flashheart. In this year, he also released a follow up to "How To Be A Complete Bastard" called "The Bastard's Book of the Worst".


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. In 1991 he teamed up with 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. The series 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. "Bottom" 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 controversial 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 BBC4 at 8:30PM on Monday December 3 2007.

September 1995 saw the release of his first (comic) novel, "The Gobbler".

In 1996, he played the role of Ace Face/Bellboy at The Who's performance of "Quadrophenia" at London's Hyde Park.

In 1997-1998 he voiced engine stoker Jones, a major character in the animated series "Captain Star".

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. However, 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, also having stopped drinking alcohol altogether. 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." [Report of interview in Daily Mirror entitled [ Rik and Ade to split up] ] 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.

Pop music

Edmonson 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.

A keen 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". [cite web
title = The first new studio album for 35 years
publisher = Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
url =
] He also lent vocals to Kate Bush in the song "Waking the Witch" and to Nick Cave in "O'Malleys Bar".

Personal life

Edmondson is married to Jennifer Saunders, with whom he has three daughters: Eleanor "Ella" (born 22 January 1986), Beatrice "Beattie" (19 June 1987), and Freya (16 October 1990). He and his family currently have a £2 million 400-year-old farmhouse with 45 acres of land in Chagford, Devon, and a home in London. He is good friends with Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Elvis Costello, David Vanian, Juliette Marquis, Danny Goffey and David Thewlis.Fact|date=September 2008

He is a fan of Exeter City F.C., regularly attending many of their home games.


External links

* [,,2249254,00.html Edmondson remarks on his Wikipedia page]
* [ Adrian Edmondson at BBCi]
* [ Jonathan Creek at BBCi]
* [ The Adrian Edmondson website]

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