British comedian, actor, musician presenter and Director Ade Edmondson was born 24 January 1957 in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire. As a child, he 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. Later, for a period in the mid-1980s, his father became the deputy headmaster at the former Drummond Middle School in Manningham, Bradford. Edmondson attended Pocklington School, East Riding of Yorkshire from 1968 to 1975 a rather old-fashioned, all boys public school, halfway between York and Hull and it wasn’t until he was in the sixth form, with his parents working abroad, Edmondson began to enjoy himself, “which involved lots of drinking and smoking and petty acts of vandalism.” He made some good friends at the school and had a favourite teacher, Michael Aubrey. Aubrey taught Edmondson for English and encouraged him to pursue drama, casting him in a number of school plays, and allowing him to take time out of other lessons to do drama. After Pocklington, Edmondson went to the University of Manchester to study drama, where he met his future comedy partner Rik Mayall, and graduated with a 2:1 degree. Edmondson and Mayall soon became best friends and before long found work on the burgeoning alternative comedy scene.
Edmonson came to prominence in the early 1980s and was part of the alternative comedy boom. Under the name 20th Century Coyote, Edmondson and Mayall became one of the star attractions at The Comedy Store. As their popularity grew, Edmondson, Mayall and other upcoming comedians, including Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle and French and Saunders moved from the Comedy Store to 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 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 studies 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. 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 fellow Comic Strip actor 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” in Absolutely Fabulous and his own characters “Eddie Catflap” (Filthy Rich & Catflap) and “Eddie Hitler” (Bottom). Edmondson and Saunders jointly established 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, Edmondson 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”, a coarse and drunken minder of light entertainment nonentity “Richie Rich”. In this show Edmondson displayed the same slapstick characteristics as Vyvyan in The Young Ones 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. Edmondson also co-starred in 1987 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 remaining episodes have 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 he made an appearance in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth as The Red Baron, arch-nemesis to Mayall’s character, Lord Flashheart. 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 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 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 with more in-depth character analysis. Mayall and Edmonson have said that 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.Bottom became very popular, but it was criticised for its often vulgar humour. The show was also turned into five UK stage tours (1993, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003). The violent nature 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 one episode was broadcast on BBC Four on 3 December 2007. Since 1993 Edmondson has been voicing The Animal in adverts for Peperami. September 1995, Edmondson released 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. A video game called Animal, featuring Peperami’s “the animal”, was released the same year, with the character being voiced by Edmondson. From 1997 to 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 Jack’s mother 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. When Mayall came around he helped Edmondson complete the script while still in hospital. The show became Guest House Paradiso. In December 2004 the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Edmondson 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 however Rik Mayall has repeatedly said that they will work together again, they just needed “a good idea. 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 docudrama about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, broadcast at the start of 2006, Edmondson played the role of Dr Valery Legasov. In 2005 he 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 and Vernon in the ITV sitcom Teenage Kicks. In April 2009 he appeared on the cooking show Hell’s Kitchen, where he reached the final, coming second to winner Linda Evans.Edmondson played the role of Captain Hook in the Canterbury Marlowe Arena pantomime during its Christmas 2009 run.
In April 2010, he said that he had quit comedy, stating that his interest in it has declined for many years and that he wanted to focus more on his band, claiming it is “more fun than doing comedy”.He also played down the idea of a potential reunion with Rik Mayall. He has not really quit but was focusing more on music and farming. He also said that he and Mayall often spoke of a reunion when they are old men,or in fifteen years time.Mayall appeared during Edmondson’s winning performance of The Dying Swan on BBC1’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief on 5 March 2011. On 28 March 2011, ITV1 launched the six-part series The Dales, hosted by Edmondson, in which he follows a number of families who live and work in the Yorkshire Dales. The show was recorded during 2010 by Shiver Productions for ITV Studios. In September 2011, Edmondson appeared on Something For The Weekend and said that he and Rik Mayall were planning to reunite and make another series of Bottom, set in an old people’s home. Edmondson presented the ITV series Ade in Britain, which was broadcast from 7 November to 2 December 2011. The series consists of Edmondson travelling around to different parts of the United Kingdom and giving a programme on that part of the British Isles; it consists of Edmondson informing people about interesting features of the part which he has visited, and often involves him meeting folk singers who sing folk melodies from that part of Britain. A second series was filmed in 2012 broadcast in early 2013.Edmondson appeared on the BBC television series That’s Britain! in each episode his task was to report as an “insider” in how a region of Britain works. A one off special, Britain Beware, about the history of British public information films, was hosted by Ade Emondson. On 23 August 2012 the BBC announced that Edmondson and Mayall’s characters of Richie and Eddie would be returning in 2013 in Hooligan’s Island, a television adaptation of their 1997 tour of the same name.However later pulled out of the new series stating that he changed his mind, and wished to pursue other interests. Edmondson also starred in the film Blood.Edmondson and Saunders reunited with their former Comic Strip colleagues in 2012 for a Famous Five sequel, Five Go to Rehab. It aired on 7 November on Gold. Edmondson is the 2013 Winner of Celebrity Master Chef on BBC 1 after competing against Les Dennis and Janet Street-Porter.
He has also had a successful music career and 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. Edmondson has directed pop videos for “Fiesta” byThe Pogues, “Prime Mover” by Zodiac Mindwarp, “Like The Weather” (1988) by 10,000 Maniacs, “Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness” by Sandie Shaw and “Hourglass” by Squeeze. In 1991, Edmondson formed The Bum Notes, who were a jazz instrumental band and conceived exclusively to perform theme music for Bottom.A fan of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Edmondson performed vocals with them as part of their 2006 reformation and countrywide tour. He also contributed vocals and writing for their 2007 album Pour l’Amour des Chiens.
Edmondson founded the Bad Shepherds in 2008 Together with Maartin Allcock, Andy Dinan and Troy Donockley, performing punk and new wave classics on traditional folk instruments. The band have released two albums and toured in 2009, playing at places such as the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival. The Bad Shepherds also headlined the first ever Looe Music Festival in 2011. In2010 he founded The Idiot Bastard Band with Simon Brint, Rowland Rivron, Neil Innes and Phill Jupitus. The Idiot Bastard Band perform original comedy songs as well as cover versions, and their shows often feature guest performers. The group have continued to perform following the death of Brint in 2011. In 2011 he presented a series of shows for ITV: The Dales, which focused on people working in the Yorkshire Dales, and Ade in Britain in which he undertook a tour of numerous places in Britain. The series was so popular that a second series aired in spring 2012.Edmondson has been married to fellow comedian Jennifer Saunders since 1985 and they have three daughters and a grandson.He lives in Devon and London.