The Comedy Vault – Guest House Paradiso.

Guest House Paradiso (1999)

Bottom was an anarchic sitcom that ran for three series on BBC2 and starred Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. After this ended, they decided that they wanted to squeeze a little more out of the idea (if you’ll pardon the phrasing of that). So there were also tapes released that featured outrageous outtakes, along with several stage tours.

They also did a film, that was essentially Bottom: The Movie, and this was directed by Edmondson (his film directorial debut, although he had previously directed some music videos). Guest House Paradiso definitely took the idea to the extreme, with lots of needless comedy violence, along with some that was probably needed. Frying pans played a big part of course.

Richie and Eddie (but not that Richie and Eddie, even though it was) ran the stinkiest and most run-down hotel in Britain, maybe even the world. Not many people are brave enough to stay, and any that do leave rather quickly. There’s no staff either. I can only imagine that the floor was sticky too. Even Fawlty Towers is a dream compared to this.

Richie tries to remember that his pants explode occasionally, while Eddie ensures that many a customer is satisfied, with consequences that could almost be described as hilarious. Also among the cast were Bill Nighy and Simon “bid again, Simon” Pegg (shall I do the “this probably doesn’t feature prominently on his CV now” joke? Well I just did).

But where does an award-winning Italian actress come into all of this? Is there something wrong with the fish everyone had for dinner? And what happens in the climax that requires what must be the unique credit of “vomit technician”? It was fair to say that Guest House Paradiso received mixed reviews, and was considered to be almost as good as Bring Me The Head Of Mavis Davis.

Many felt that this was a rather inferior spin-off from Bottom though and the idea had been rather exhausted. The DVD extras include a making-of, outtakes, and trailers. The only time that I can remember seeing this on TV was rather late at night on ITV4 or some such channel, almost as if they were rather embarrassed about it. I can’t think why.

The Comedy Vault – Bottom.

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. vlcsnap-00501

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. vlcsnap-00516

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. vlcsnap-00496

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. vlcsnap-00592

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.