Comedy Actor Adrian Edmondson

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Published: 7 May 2011

Comedy actor Adrian Edmondson:

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again... A cheap acoustic guitar which my best friend Robert painted on while I was at school, including a poem by Leonard Cohen.  I ran out of cash and sold it for a fiver.  I saw a rumour on Friends Reunited that it might still exist, but the trail went cold…

The unending quest that drives you on... I just want to have fun until I die.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions... Breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup in Beaver Creek, Colorado, with Jennifer [Saunders] and my daughters – Ella, Beattie and Frey – followed by skiing on freshly groomed slopes. Teleport onto a traditional fishing boat pootling along the Amalfi coast in Italy to lunch at Positano.  Back to the real St James’ Park to watch Exeter City beat Barcelona in the Champions League, followed by an evening in my favourite pub on Dartmoor with my band, The Bad Shepherds, and close friends.  We’d play a set and be joined by David Bowie, Nick Cave and Rachel and Becky Unthank.

The temptation you wish you could resist... Beer.  I love the taste and the effect, and there’s nothing better than starting on the ale with mates a little earlier than you really should.  The trouble is it makes me the wrong size for my clothes.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance... I hold Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in very high regard.  There are simple lessons in it, but unfortunately I rarely act on them.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Man for a day... Being recognised can be tedious, so it would be great to be able to disappear at will, but I hate the idea of knowing other people’s secrets or being a peeping Tom.  I don’t even like being shown around houses, especially people’s bedrooms. 

The way fame and fortune has changed you, for better and worse...The only thing that has really changed me in life is having children.  The rest is bollocks.  I went from being selfish to being more or less selfless – a distinct improvement for me and those around me, and much more satisfying.

The film you can watch time and time again... Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday with Jacques Tati.   I first saw it as a student in Manchester and you’d think the jokes would go stale, but the gentle poignancy behind Tatti’s slightly sad longing for a disappearing world makes it so re-watchable.

 The person who has influenced you most... Johnny Rotten.  He showed me that you didn’t have to do things the way we’d been taught.  I’m still in his thrall, but I imagine he’d think I was a middle class w*****!

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint... Stan Laurel.  I still watch Laurel and Hardy on a borderline obsessive basis.  All the jokes you see on modern telly are there.  I’d ask him where he got them from and hear about his comic heroes.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...Do what you want, but don’t confuse it with doing what is easiest.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity... I like "collecting" tors while walking on Dartmoor.  I have a dream of ticking them all off in a year, but there are 204, so I’d have to do a serious amount of walking.

The prized possession you value above all others...I’m not particularly into possessions because most are replaceable, but I’d be gutted if we lost our family photograph albums.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend... It’s pointless regretting stuff, but I really wish I knew more physics and chemistry.  Or, indeed, any.

The poem that touches your soul... Summoned By Bells is John Betjeman’s autobiography in verse.  It is comic, but tear jerking, and the section about boarding school really gets me – the feeling of being abandoned.  I went through the same experience and reading it is quite cathartic.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...I’ve stopped worrying about the gulf between what I am and what people think I am.  In fact, I rather enjoy it.

The event that altered the course of your life and character... Meeting Rik Mayall at Manchester University in 1975 when we were both 18.  He is a kindred spirit, a true ‘mucker’, and we have a limitless ability to amuse each other.  Back then we thought we were going to be straight actors, but suddenly became comics, which changed everything.


The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...I’d do a Pink Panther style heist and – being a staunch republican – I’d steal the orb and sceptre and use them as door stops in my downstairs toilet.

The song that means most to you...$1,000 Wedding. Part of our early courtship was about Jennifer introducing me to country music and this was one of those songs. We still sing it in the car – I am Gram Parsons and Jennifer is Emmylou Harris.   

The happiest moment you will cherish forever...The Bad Shepherds played the Avalon stage at Glastonbury last year.  We were on top form and when we finished the reception was extraordinary.  It was like pure love and it touched all three of us.  The audience sensed that and ramped it up and we were inwardly sobbing. It was strangely glorious.

The saddest time that shook your world... I found it very hard dealing with my daughters leaving home.  I still see them a lot, but I really miss those times, especially sitting round the kitchen table after school with a mug of tea and a sticky bun, listening to them bitch about school.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you... I wish I could speak Italian, play the trumpet, finish my second novel, create the perfect sitcom, tour the world with my band, get thinner and grow hair on my head as protection against the elements.  Above all I’d like to know how to use the Leica camera I got for Christmas properly.

The philosophy that underpins your life... Cheer up you stupid tw*t!

The order of service at your funeral... Abide With Me to make them cry, Jazz Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band to cheer them up. Six black horses and some cancan dancers.

The way you want to be remembered... ‘That bastard stole my pint!’

The Plug... The Bad Shepherds play punk songs on folk instruments and are touring this summer.  Visit for details.