Guest House Paradiso: 20th Anniversary of Bottom Adaptation

Guest House Paradiso
Welcome to England.

Adapted from the highly popular Bottom TV series, in 1999 Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson unleashed this thing onto the big screens across the civilized world. Let us remember the carnage.

Guest House Paradiso

In the BBC sitcom, we have Richard “Richie” Richard (Mayall) and Edmund “Eddie” Elizabeth Hitler (Edmondson). Two utter losers at the bottom of society scraping by rather dismally.

The way Guest House Paradiso plays out suggests they’ve gone into hiding and assumed “new” identities.

Season three ended in 1995 and although Edmondson and Mayall had written an entire fourth season, the BBC copped out and didn’t clear it for production.

Frustrated, the comedy duo upped their live Bottom touring schedule. The first was in 1993 and let them be far ruder than they could ever be on the BBC – these ran until 2003.

In the film, we come across Richard Twat (pronounced “Thwaite”, apparently – possibly a piss take of Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances). He’s a hotel manager with his assistant Eddie Elizabeth Hitler.

Business is disastrous as they’ve set up shop next to a nuclear power station. They have a chef, but he hates them.

As such, only desperate tourists head out there to get away from it all. Although there are a few insane guests who stay on permanently.

Such as the wealthy but mad Mrs. Foxfur (Fenella Fielding – she sadly passed away this time last year aged 90).

There’s also Mr. Johnson (Bill Nighy) who’s having an affair with an attractive younger woman called Ms. Hardy (Kate Ashfield). To keep it private, he has to keep coming to Guest House Paradiso.

Mr. Nice (Simon Pegg) arrives with his budget strapped family for a break. Despite the phallic shaped nuclear power plant nearby, the family gives it a go anyway.

The problem is Twat immediately stalks them the situation with Mr. Nice devolves into libelous issues.

Twat decides to try and steal some evidence back from Mr. Nice, but this ends up with a candle incident.

Out of the blue, Gina Tortellini Carbonara (Hélène Mahieu) arrives – she’s a famous film star trying to find some hellish no-go zone to hide from her abusive husband Gino Giuseppe Bolognese (Vincent Cassel) turns up as well.

Whilst Hitler and Twat attempt to flirt with Carbonara, Bolognese hunts her down and begins all manner of issues in his belligerent way.

These issues become somewhat irrelevant when it becomes apparent the hotel is out of food.

Luckily, a spillage from that nuclear place means a bunch of radioactive fish become readily available. That serves as the meal for the night.

Once the guests eat it, the whole situation descends into a vomitfest. Acute radiation etc. and it all heads for a silly conclusion.

Now, we found it pretty tough to find clips for the film on YouTube. Plenty of Bottom stuff, but scenes were hard to come by. Here’s a round-up.

The film received generally negative reviews, which we find very harsh indeed.

It’s no classic as Edmondson and Mayall were getting older at this point. Their writing peaked in 1995 – their second live tour with Bottom is a crass masterpiece.

But this is great fun entertainment with some inventive ideas harking back to their Young Ones days.

It’s gross, ridiculous, bizarre, and anarchic. Richie and Eddie are lovably gross and the lifelong comedic partnership really shines through here.

So if you want some distinctly stupid and enjoyable British humour to enjoy, then you can do worse than this offering.

Production

The film ran from 3rd December 1999 onward. Ade Edmonsdon had to rewriter the script without his comedy partner since the late ’70s (they met at Manchester university).

In 1998, Mayall suffered a major head injury after falling off a quad bike. Despite being told he was going to die and to say goodbye to his family, he remarkably made a good recovery.

Unfortunately, Mayall’s death in 2014 means nothing new will come of the Bottom concept. The pair had planned for them to do a series as old men in an OAP home.

The $3 million budget was put to good use as Edmondson (if you watch the making of clip above) shifted away from Hollywood norms to create practical effects.

Legacy

Oliver Harper on his excellent YouTube channel dissected the film in 2016. Being English and around the same age as us, Bottom will be deeply ingrained in his… bottom.

Guest House Paradiso’s legacy is more a part of the entire Endmondson/Mayall double act.

They started out in Manchester’s post-punk comedic scene circa 1979. They got banned from most of them as well with their explosive Dangerous Brothers act, channelling the punk movement of the time.

Around the time of the film, and Mayall’s accident, they were still highly creative. In 1998 they even did a special Comic Strip Presents… (a breakout series for comedic stars in the early ’80s).

And after Guest House Paradiso there were two more live shows, but then Edmondson admitted they were getting too old and had to call the stage acts and knob gags a day.

But there was the tantalising prospect of Bottom set in an old folks home. Sadly that’ll never come about.

Edmondson now largely tours with his band. His wife Jennifer Saunders has her Ab Fab series ongoing as well, but the passage of time means the comedy greats of the past must pass on to a new generation.

It’s just, at present, we can’t really think of anyone to replace the likes of Billy Connolly, Mayall, Edmondson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Suggestions?

2 comments

  1. Two of my all-time favourite comedians! Was Mayall’s accident in 1999? I remember reading the news all too clearly. Gaaah, time flies. Incidentally, I remember first seeing Edmondson on The Comic Strip, ‘Five Go Mad In Dorset’. My Mum, who had encouraged us NOT to read Enid Blighton as kids because it was so awful (and I was inclined to agree), thought the Comic Strip version was actually only a slight exaggeration of the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1998 was Mayall’s accident, he came off his quad bike. A lucky man to survive, but he continued working non-stop!

      Comic Strip was great fun, for me I came across the paid with Bottom first. The previous generation it was the Young Ones. But it’s all very fresh and excellent.

      Like

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