Born in Bradford, Edmondson was educated at Pocklington School, Yorkshire and later at the University of Manchester, where he achieved a 2:1 in drama. Here he met his future comedy partner Rik Mayall, with whom he began a career in the burgeoning alternative comedy scene.
Soon after graduation, Edmondson and Mayall created a double act under the name 20th Century Coyote. As their star rose, they joined comedians such as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle, and Nigel Planer in moving from the Comedy Store to The Comic Strip club. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Edmondson therefore formed part of The Comic Strip, a group of British comedians who came to prominence in the 1980s. Before they knew it, The Comic Strip had attracted a large following and came to the attention of then-new Channel 4, who offered the comedians a series of 6 self-contained half-hour films. One well-known sketch in this show was a scathing, grotesque parody of "Five Go Mad in Dorset", satirising Enid Blyton's beloved Famous Five novels. Memorable characters that he created for this show include the parody heavy metal band Bad News, in which Edmondson played the lead singer "Vim Fuego", and the nihilistic alter-ego Eddie Monsoon, an offensive TV star from South Africa. In 1985 he would feature as Dennis Carter in The Comic Strip's feature film The Supergrass.
Just as The Comic Strip Presents... was being negotiated with Channel 4, the BBC signed a contract with Edmonson and Mayall to make The Young Ones, a brash and irreverent sitcom made in a similar style. The show focused on four students living in a shared house, all of whom studied at Scumbag College. Noted for its often violent slapstick humour, the show would make household names of its writers and performers, and was voted number 31 in the BBC's Best Sitcom poll in 2004. It retains a cult following to this day. He also played Alun in Honest, Decent And True, an episode of Screen Two which is a one-off satire of the advertising industry.
Following their success, Edmondson and Mayall returned to their 'Coyote' dynamic in the double act "The Dangerous Brothers", in which Edmondson took on the role of "Sir Adrian Dangerous" in Saturday Live (1985-1987).
In [y[1985[/y] Edmondson married fellow Comic Strip actor Jennifer Saunders, with whom he has three daughters. He has since become a grandfather. In this same year he starred alongside his new wife in Happy Families, a comedy drama written by Ben Elton about the dysfunctional Fuddle family.
In 1987, Edmondson reunited with Planer and Mayall to star in Filthy Rich And Catflap, which functioned as a scathing spoof of the showbiz world. Written by Ben Elton once more, Edmondson played the role of "Edward Catflap", a vulgar and perennially drunk minder of light-entertainment has-been and nonentity "Richie Rich". Like his character Vyvyan in The Young Ones, he was forever engaged in quite violent slapstick, but this personality was slightly closer to later "Eddie Hitler" in the 90s sitcom Bottom. In the same year, 1987, Edmondson played alongside Mayall in yet another sitcom, Hardwicke House (ITV). However, audience reaction was fiercely negative, and ITV withdrew it from broadcast after only two episodes. The rest have never been shown publicly. In 1989 he appeared in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth as The Red Baron, the nemesis to the famous character brought to life by Mayall, Lord Flashheart, and also starred as a down-on-his-luck aristocrat in the role-reversal Channel 4 comedy Snakes And Ladders.
In the 1990s, Mayall and Edmondson continued their fruitful partnership with a new series, began in 1991, called Bottom. Here Edmondson played one of two bored and unemployed flat-sharing bachelors who loathe each other with a deep-rooted vengeance. A film version of the show was released in 1999 entitled Guest House Paradiso. Here both characters attempt to run a hotel, but things go pear-shaped very quickly. This ran for three seasons and its live version travelled to great success all across the UK, with 5 long tours between 1993 and 2003, all shown on Dave in 2008.
In 1993 Edmondson starred alongside Richard Briers in the black comedy mini-series If You See God, Tell Him. Here he played Gordon Spry, whose uncle (Briers) is paralysed and cannot concentrate for long periods.
After a lengthy and successful dramatic career - including a regular member of Holby City and Jonathan Creek - in 2018 Edmondson appeared as Sergeant Dogberry in an episode of Ben Elton's sitcom about Shakespeare, Upstart Crow, and also toured a play, "Vulcan 7", that he co-wrote with longtime collaborator and comic partner Nigel Planer.
When his best friend and comedic partner Mayall died in 2014, Edmondson carried his coffin at the funeral.
- Ade Edmondson
- Thursday 24th January 1957 (64 years-old)
- Beattie Edmondson
Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Adrian Edmondson on IMDb