RiK and Ade Bottom out of TV

As well as three sublime TV series, Rik and Ade had the cheek to get their Bottom out, live on stage.


Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson devised Bottom whilst getting ready to star in a West End production of Samuel Beckett's acclaimed absurdist play Waiting For Godot. So it's fitting that Bottom itself ended up on stage - not once, not twice but five times. In fact, with five live tours (naturally followed by a release of a recorded performance from each one) and a spin-off movie (1999's Guest House Paradiso), Bottom arguably had more life off TV as it had on it.

Bottom Live - The Stage Show (1993)

The first tour took place between the second and third TV series and revolves around Richie's relationship with a blow-up doll and Eddie scheming to get his hands on some money that Richie has inherited from his uncle. Set in their Hammersmith flat, the live version was very much an extension of the telly show, albeit even ruder and cruder now that they didn't have to placate the BBC censors. The massive success of the tour proved there was an appetite for more Bottom on and off TV.

Bottom Live: The Big Number Two Tour (1995)

The second live outing took place after the third and final TV series and finds Richie and Eddie arrested and sent to prison after their plans to celebrate a visit by the Queen to Hammersmith goes horribly wrong. But an intimidating inmate has taken an unfortunate liking to Richie, so they have to devise a way to get out of there quick. Clearly relishing the freedom of performing live, this tour was the one with the most out-takes and ad-libs made on stage by both Rik and Ade.

Bottom Live 3: Hooligan's Island (1997)

The third live incarnation of Bottom is notable for introducing a complete change of setting for the characters. No longer in Hammersmith, Richie and Eddie find themselves stranded on a tropical island and try and find ways to pass the time until they are rescued. Things get a little more urgent, however, when they discover a 15 megaton nuclear bomb in the middle of the island. There were plans in 2012 to adapt Hooligan's Island into a spin-off BBC series but it sadly never came to fruition.

Bottom Live 2001: An Arse Oddity

Introducing even more surreal elements into the plot, Rik and Ade also deliver the first live show where their characters do not appear to die at the end. In An Arse Oddity, their fourth live Bottom tour, Richie and Eddie seem to be still stuck on a tropical island. But are they? Later, the pair try to get to the bar to have a drink, only to find themselves trapped in a underground chamber, so Richie naturally presumes that they've been abducted by aliens. Plus, the pair deliver a touching musical number about underpants.

Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour

With Rik and Ade admitting they were probably getting a bit to old to carry on with the high energy live performances, Weapons Grade Y-Fronts was the fifth and final Bottom stage show and, following Mayall's sad death in 2014, the last ever proper Bottom project the pair undertook. Back in their flat in Hammersmith, Eddie has been locked in the lavatory for fifteen days and Richie discovers that his friend has transformed the room into a laboratory, complete with wacky inventions such as Weapons Grade Lager, The Patent Painless Tattoo Remover and a time-travelling toilet. What could possibly go wrong?