Bottom (BBC2, 1991-1995)
As I’m sure you’ve realised by now, I really am a fan of lots of comedy shows, but you might be surprised to know that I have never seen The Young Ones. I am aware that it was one of the most successful sitcoms of its era which really helped the Alternative scene to make their impact (and they had a Number One single and everything), and its importance has been acknowledged. Maybe I could give it a try one day.
I am more familiar with some of the later comedy shows that the cast worked on (including Filthy, Rich And Catflap that I also plan to review soon) and this one. Bottom was created and written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, who starred as Richie and Eddie. In an era when BBC2 seemed to be full of enjoyably quirky comedy shows, this one still managed to stand out.
It’s rather hard to describe the idea behind the show, because there wasn’t one really. Richie and Eddie lived in a rather smelly flat in Hammersmith, and we see them try and get through life. Most of the episodes simply seemed to build up to a piece where they would be rather violent to each other, and they rather enjoyed poking each other’s eyes out, or closing their head in a fridge door.
There weren’t too many other regular characters, although we did occasionally see their friend Spudgun. Bottom has been described as a show that had no plot or message to offer, it simply existed to make viewers laugh, and it definitely succeeded. And my goodness, Richie and Eddie really could sweat whilst doing this. The show definitely has a claim to being Britain’s Sweatiest Sitcom as well as its most outrageous. And you can clap along to the closing theme too.
There were three series, but that was only a small part of the show’s success. Firstly, there were rather a lot of outtakes, and these were complied into a special called Bottom Fluff. There were also five stage shows that didn’t have too much trouble attracting people who wanted to watch their antics, and if anything they took the anarchy to the next level, endlessly punching each other and totally forgetting the script whilst doing so.
It was then determined that there should be a film version, and this was Guest House Paradiso which was released in 1999. Unfortunately this received rather bad reviews all round, and it was at this point it became fairly clear that the idea had been exhausted somewhat. All 18 episodes of Bottom have been released on DVD, and it has also been repeated several times on various channels including Dave.