Ade Edmondson

British comedian, actor, musician presenter and Director Ade Edmondson was born 24 January 1957 in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, and attended Pocklington School, East Riding of Yorkshire from 1968 to 1975 a rather old-fashioned, all boys public school, halfway between York and Hull where his English teacher, Michael Aubrey 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, and met future comedy partner Rik Mayall. He graduated with a 2:1 degree. Edmondson and Mayall soon became best friends and worked on the alternative comedy scene.

Edmonson became 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.

imageEdmondson, Mayall, Richardson, Planer and Sayle also starred 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, The Young Ones, Edmondson and Mayall created “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”. Edmondson also starred with Saunders in Happy Families, written by Ben Elton which featured 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 and Eddie Hitler” in Bottom.  Edmondson also co-starred in 1987 with Mayall in the ITV sit-com Hardwicke House.  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. Edmondson has also appeared in numerous TV programmes including Jonathan Creek, Holby City, Miss Austen Regrets, as himself on Hell’s Kitchen and 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 Rik Mayall  co-writing and co-starring in the 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. Mayall and Edmonson have said that Bottom was a cruder cousin of Waiting for Godot about the pointlessness of life. In 1991 Edmondson played Estragon to Mayall’s Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s play in the West End. Although Bottom was popular, 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. His erratic behaviour causes problems for Gordon. The series comprised four episodes, each 45 minutes long, and only broadcast once.  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. He provided the voice forA video game called Animal, featuring Peperami’s “the animal”. He also voiced engine stoker Jones, 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.

In 1998 Mayall was seriously injured and spent a few days in a coma. Mayall and Edmondson wrote a script for a sequel to Bottom which became Guest House Paradiso. Edmondson appeared regularly in Series 4 of the BBC mystery series Jonathan Creek. He had a lead role playing an NHS doctor in the comedy series Doctors and Nurses. In Surviving Disaster, a BBC docudrama about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster,  Edmondson played the role of Dr Valery Legasov. In 2005 he appeared as a celebrity model on Star Portraits with Rolf Harris.  he alsoappeared as Percy “Abra” Durant in 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. In Christmas2009 Edmondson played the role of Captain Hook in the Canterbury Marlowe Arena pantomime.

In  2010, he said that he had quit comedy, and wanted to focus more on his band, He also played down the idea of a potential reunion although Rik Mayall appeared during Edmondson’s winning performance of The Dying Swan on BBC1’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief on 5 March 2011. In 2011. Edmondson hosted the six-part series The Dales, which followed 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. A second series was filmed. 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. the Edmondson and Mayall’s characters of Richie and Eddie were due to return in 2013 in Hooligan’s Island, a television adaptation of their 1997 tour of the same name. However he 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. Edmondson also won Celebrity Master Chef 2013 competing against Les Dennis and Janet Street-Porter.

He also has 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 Martin 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, set in the Yorkshire Dales, and Ade in Britain touring numerous heritage sites in Britain. Edmondson has been married to fellow comedian Jennifer Saunders since 1985 and they have three daughters and a grandson.

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