Ade Edmonson

imageBritish 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.

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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.

Vic Reeves

Best known as half the comedy duo Vic and Bob with Bob Mortimer, the English Comedian JamesRoderick Moir (Vic Reeves was born 24 January 1959, in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. At the age of five, he moved to Darlington, County Durham, with his parents and younger sister Lois. He attended Heathfield Infants and Junior School and went on to the nearby secondary school, Eastbourne Comprehensive in Darlington. After school, Moir undertook an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, before moving to London and becoming a factory inspector. He also formed the Fashionable Five, a group of five friends (including Jack Dent, who ran the original Fan Club) who would follow bands like the Enid and Free onto stage, and perform pranks (including Moire pretending to have a brass hand, and following a Terry Scott lookalike around Darlington town centre in single file formation). Before finding fame, Reeves appeared in the Shakin’ Stevens video promo for “What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For. Eventually, they formed their own band. Reeves had an early breakthrough with the help of comedian Malcolm Hardee. In 1983, he began a part-time course at a local art college, developed his love of painting and eventually persuaded a local art gallery to stage an exhibition of his unique work. His drawings and paintings have been used in his television shows and form a major part of his 1999 book, Sun Boiled Onions. He also featured in A 1994 pilot written by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson entitled The Honeymoon’s Over was due to feature Chris Bell, a character from The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. The series was never commissioned. The same year, Reeves made a guest appearance on the Radio 1 series Shuttleworth’s Showtime, hosted by John Shuttleworth.

As well as working and performing in bands, in London, Moir also joined the alternative comedy circuit under many different guises. These included a loudmouth American called Jim Bell, a beat poet called Mister Mystery and, eventually, “The North-East’s Top Light Entertainer” – Vic Reeves. His stage show Vic Reeves Big Night Out began life as a regular Thursday night gig at Goldsmith’s Tavern, New Cross (now the New Cross House). Here he met Bob Mortimer, a solicitor who attended the show and enjoyed it so much that he soon began to participate. His television debut came in December 1986 on Channel 4 Television’s The Tube in a comedy game show segment called “Square Celebrities”, suspended by a wire to ask the “celebrities” questions. His next appearance was on the short-lived chat/comedy show One Hour with Jonathan Ross in a game show segment known as Knock Down Ginger. His growing TV profile led to Big Night Out being given a slot on Channel 4 the following year. It was about this time that Vic and Bob rented a back room at Jools Holland’s office/recording studio in Westcombe Park, Greenwich where they would spend hours writing material. Reeves continued to work alongside Bob Mortimer as a comedy duo in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Shooting Stars, and Bang Bang, It’s Reeves and Mortimer, some of which also featured future cast members of The Fast Show and Little Britain.

In 2003, he and Bob Mortimer were listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In a 2005 poll to find the Comedians’ Comedian, Reeves and Mortimer were voted the 9th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.Moir has four children, the eldest two by his first wife Sarah Vincent, whom he married in 1990. They divorced in 1999. He met his second wife, Nancy Sorrell, in 2001, and the couple married on 25 January 2003. Sorrell gave birth to twin girls at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, on 25 May 2006. He lives in Charing, near Ashford and I s a keen amateur birdwatcher. Moir buried his classic Austin A40 Somerset in his back garden, as shown on the BBC’s 1997 Omnibus documentary – A Film Of Reeves & Mortimer. He also appeared on the ITV show Mr and Mrs with his wife Nancy. Reeves is also one of the few comedians to have had a number one hit record in the UK Singles Chart, with The Wonder Stuff, singing “Dizzy” (previously a number one hit for Tommy Roe). The original composition “Oh! Mr. Songwriter”, recorded with the Images of Cream and supposedly featuring Bob Mortimer on mandolin was the B side released with a version of Born Free, which was critically acclaimed and also reached the top ten. A third single during the same period, Abide With Me, had little success. All three tracks appeared on his album, I Will Cure You, released in 1991. In 1995, Reeves collaborated with EMF, covering the Monkees’ hit “I’m a Believer”.

Between August 1998 and May 1999, Reeves and Mortimer presented the Channel X produced BBC Saturday night family game show Families at War alongside Alice Beer. Reeves played Marty Hopkirk in the BBC’s 2000–2001 thriller series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – a revival of the original 1960s series, with Mortimer as Randall, Emilia Fox as Jeannie and Tom Baker as Wyvern. In2000, he presented a series entitled, Vic Reeves Examines on UK Play. The programme featured celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Johnny Vegas, Lauren Laverne and Emma Kennedy discussing a topic of their choice. The same year, Reeves presented a one-off radio show on BBC Radio 1, entitled Cock of the Wood. In 2004 he and Sorrell were both contestants in the fourth series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!. Along with Mortimer, he appeared in the series Catterick as several characters.In September 2005 Reeves hosted a show for Virgin Radio called Vic Reeves Big Night In produced by Mark Augustyn, for a short period on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7.00pm. In May 2006 he presented a programme on ITV Tyne Tees about Northeast comedy culture, It’s Funny Up North with… Vic Reeves. Reeves presented a historical ten-part series, entitled Rogues Gallery, which was shown on the Discovery Channel (UK) in 2005. In the series, he investigated, and portrayed Anne Bonny & Mary Read, Captain Kidd, Claude Duval, Jonathan Wild, Rob Roy, Colonel Blood, George Ransley, Deacon Brodie, Blackbeard and Dick Turpin. Nancy Sorrell also appeared in some episodes.

continuing in this vein, Vic Reeves’ Pirates was shown on ITV West, and subsequently on the History Channel in 2007. In 2007, Reeves hosted a show called Vic Reeves Investigates: Jack the Ripper. Reeves, with the help of historians and leading experts, tried to discover who Jack the Ripper was. At the end of the show, he came to the conclusion that Jack the Ripper was Francis Tumblety. He was the main presenter of Brainiac: Science Abuse during the fifth and sixth series, replacing Richard Hammond, who quit the show. The series began on 8 May 2007.Beginning in June 2007, Reeves presented a BBC Radio 2 panel game called Does the Team Think?. In late 2007, Reeves appeared in a weekly radio-based sketch show on BBC Radio 2, entitled Vic Reeves’ House Arrest. The first episode was broadcast on 17 November 2007 and the series ran for six episodes. The show’s premise was that Reeves had been put under house arrest for “a crime he didn’t commit”, and each episode consists of the various events that take place in and around his house on a particular day. Reeves’ comedy partner Bob Mortimer plays his housecall-making hairdresser, Carl, while other performers include The Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding as a local vagrant who comes to Reeves’ door on a weekly basis looking for work, and Reeves’ wife Nancy Sorrell in multiple roles. On 20 February 2008, Reeves appeared visibly disorientated onsttage at the BRIT Awards alongside Sharon Osborne, to present the “Mastercard British Album” award to winners, the Arctic Monkeys. He has stated that he was trying to read the autocue, and was pushed away by Osbourne whilst trying to do his job. He called Osbourne’s behaviour “unacceptable”. Planet Sound defended Reeves, saying “for the record” he was not drunk.

On 27 February 2008, Reeves announced that he and Mortimer were working together on a new sitcom about super heroes who get their powers through a malfunctioning telegraph pole.He also reiterated his desire to bring back Shooting Stars for a 6th series. Along with his son, he is also featured in one edition of a factual TV series for Five, Dangerous Adventures for Boys, based on the best-selling book written by Conn and Hal Iggulden, The Dangerous Book for Boys. In February 2009, Reeves appeared as presenter of the first episode of My Brilliant Britain, one of the new television shows commissioned for UKTV People channel’s relaunch as Blighty on 25 August 2009, Reeves appeared as a guest on the BBC One programme The One Show alongside Bob Mortimer. Series 6 of Shooting Stars began airing on 26 August 2009 with Reeves returning as co-host with Mortimer, along with Ulrika Jonsson and Jack Dee as team captains. Reeves appeared as one of the guests in Reece Shearsmith’s Haunted House, a light-hearted radio discussion show which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in two parts, either side of Halloween. The first part aired on 29 October 2009 and the second on 5 November 2009.Reeves also lends his voice to the Virgin Atlantic Airlines onboard safety video, alongside Dani Behr.In May 2011, Reeves commemorated the Royal Wedding by painting 100 plates bearing a picture he drew of William and Kate, with the slogan “Our future King and Queen, Bill and Cath.” He also painted a vase, which bore a shirtless William. In July 2011, Vic rejoined Bob for a selection of YouTube Improvised Comedy Sketches, in association with Foster’s – They released their “Afternoon Delight” clips every weekday afternoon in July. Reeves has also appeared without Mortimer on a number of British television shows, primarily game shows, poll programmes and charity telethons.

 

Neil Diamond

American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond was born this day 24 January, in 1941 He has  a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present, and To this day Diamond continues to record and release new material and maintains an extensive touring schedule as well.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, He attended Abraham Lincoln High School, from where he received his high school diploma, and was also a member of the fencing team. Later he also attended the New York University and it was during the early sixties whilst in his senior year in NYU, that Diamond got his big break, after a music publishing company made him an offer he could not refuse: an offer to write songs for $50 a week. This started him on the road to stardom.

As of 2001, Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. He is considered to be the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John. His songs have been covered internationally by many performers from various musical genres.

Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, he received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. He has eight number one hit singles with “Cracklin Rosie”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Desiree”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “Love On The Rocks“, “America”, “Yesterday’s Songs”, and “Heartlight”. In addition he also has many other well known songs including Forever in Blue Jeans and Sweet Caroline,