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Adrian Edmondson

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Adrian Edmondson
Ade Ed

Born

Adrian Charles Edmondson
24 January 1957
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

Medium

Television, Film, Stand-up Comedy

Active

1981-present

Spouse

Jennifer Saunders (m. 1985-present, 3 daughters)

Adrian Charles "Ade" Edmondson (born 24 January 1957) is an English comic actor, writer, musician, television presenter and director. He came to prominence in the early 1980s and was part of the alternative comedy boom. He is probably best known for his comedic roles in the television series The Young Ones (1982–1984) and Bottom (1991–2003), for which he also wrote together with his long-time collaborative partner Rik Mayall. Edmondson also appeared in the The Comic Strip Presents... series of films throughout the 1980s and 90s. For one episode of this he created the spoof heavy metal band Bad News, and for another he played his nihilistic alter-ego Eddie Monsoon, an offensive South African television star. He played the lead role in the 1985 spin-off feature film, The Supergrass. In the 2000s Edmondson appeared in numerous TV programmes in more serious drama roles including Jonathan Creek, Holby City, Miss Austen Regrets, as himself on Hell's Kitchen and created the sitcom Teenage Kicks. Edmondson has been married to fellow comedian Jennifer Saunders since 1985 and they have three daughters. He lives in Devon and London.

Comedy careerEdit

1980sEdit

Under the name 20th Century Coyote, Edmondson and Rik Mayall became one of the star attractions at The Comedy Store. Mayall told most of the jokes early in their act, and Edmondson would act-up in the background, developing his act to dismantle the club's piano, before he created his own material. As their popularity grew, Edmondson, Mayall, and other upcoming comedians including Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle, 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.

By 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...".

On 11 May 1985, Edmondson married his Comic Strip fellow Jennifer Saunders, with whom he has 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), they jointly set up their own production company called Mr and Mrs Monsoon Limited.. Also in 1985 Edmondson starred with Saunders in Happy Families, a rural comedy drama written by Ben Elton which appeared on the BBC and told the story of the dysfunctional Fuddle family.

In 1987, he reunited with Planer and Mayall to star in Filthy Rich and Catflap a comic attack on showbiz, again written by Elton. He played a character called Edward Catflap, the coarse and drunken minder of light entertainment nonentity Richie Rich. In this Edmondson displayed 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 Worst. 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.

1990sEdit

File:Bottom001.jpg
Adrian Edmondson (left) as Eddie Hitler in Bottom along with Rik Mayall.

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, 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.[1] 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. In September 1995, Edmondson released 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.Template:Citation needed 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."[2] Rik Mayall has repeatedly said that they will work together again, they just needed "a good idea."

2000s–presentEdit

Edmondson appeared regularly in series 4 of the BBC mystery series Jonathan Creek, broadcast in 2003–2004. He had a lead role playing an NHS doctor in the comedy series Doctors and Nurses first broadcast in early 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.'

ReferencesEdit

  1. From the programme to the production.
  2. Report of interview in Daily Mirror entitled Rik and Ade to split up
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