Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson give the flat-share sitcom a much needed kick up the Bottom in the show which, alongside Men Behaving Badly (1992-8) injected new life into a legendarily dire genre. With glorious comic gusto they play Richie Rich and Eddie Hitler, a pair of misfits barely surviving unemployment in a Hammersmith hovel. They spend their life in frustration, minus female company or money, in facile schemes to entertain or better themselves, their best intentions always proving the catalyst for hilariously OTT cartoon-style violence. The humour benefits from being rude, crude and surreal, and though happily bereft of subtlety or sense the situations and set-pieces are always superbly constructed, delivered and directed. But that’s only to be expected from a show that essentially presents two of The Young Ones a decade down the line.
Mayall and Edmondson had earlier perfected their surreal double act as The Dangerous Brothers and these first episodes of Bottom find them in side-splitting form. From a misadventure with pheromone spray and the wrong sort of dogs down the pub in “Smells” to a birthday “Accident”, which introduces The Young Ones’ Christopher Ryan as a regular guest character, this is BBC comedy at its best. Brace yourself, ‘cos this is going to hurt.–Gary S Dalkin