Grown up test Ade Edmondson

Life has changed for the erstwhile star of the alternative comedy scene Adrian Edmondson, 56. He now has the most fun relishing life with his wife, comedienne Jennifer Saunders, presenting TV shows The Dales and Ade in Britain and playing mandolin with The Bad Shepherds. But how old is he in his head and does he act his age?

Order of preference: comedy, farming, music?

Music, farming, comedy. I’ve lost interest in even watching comedy. It’s all so desperate, people trying too hard. I find Troy in my band funnier than any comedian. I’ve tried farming – with cows and sheep – and I intend to be a farmer in about ten years.

Hippy, punk or New Romantic?

I’ve never actually been a punk because I’m far too middle-class, but that’s the nearest. Punk was such a new attitude, like a visceral shaking of your neck. I loved it, and my band reinterprets some of those songs.

What would your 16-year-old self say to you now?

I don’t think he’d look at me. I didn’t recognise anyone over 25 when I was 16. I remember thinking, if I haven’t made it by then, I’m going to kill myself.

Growing old gracefully or disgracefully?

A healthy mixture of both. I still feel 19 inside. I still get the excitement when I’m gigging. And I still get legless regularly.

When did you last drink too much?

The night before last. I had some wine and a few pints at the end of a new series due on TV next year, Ade at Sea.I like getting stuck into a pub.

When and where were you happiest?

Now really. Life is weird: Jennifer and I have recently fallen in love again, even though we’ve been married for 28 years. It’s nice. We recently drove down to the Amalfi coast, just the two of us. Fantastic.

What makes you grumpy?

Most television, especially news and current affairs. They say, ‘Can you text us’ and ‘We’d like to read out your tweets’. They’re supposed to be reporters – they should get an expert in. We do not need an email from a listener telling us what they think about the economy.

Who did you have a teenage crush on?

Gillian Blake from Follyfoot; the girls from Father Dear Father; Suzi Quatro in a leather catsuit; and Sally James on Tiswas, in thigh-high leather boots. There was a lot of leather involved.

School – best days of your life?

No. It was appalling. I was abandoned at boarding school with teachers who, apart from one, were cruel, violent, unpleasant and unhelpful.

Your worst telling-off?

I was going to be suspended because I got drunk and threw up in a prefect’s wastepaper basket, so I ran away to Hull – to get on a boat. But Hull was closed. So I holed up at a mate’s house, then gave myself in. I was Hamlet in the school play, so they let me back in.

Ready-meal fan or culinary wizard?

Culinary wizard. I learnt to cook because the food at school was so bad. My current speciality is roasted butternut squash and beetroot salad with deep-fried, breaded lamb cutlets stuffed with cheese and sage. Delicious.

Last time you laughed until you cried?

It would have been something funny that one of our three daughters did or said. Sometimes their anxieties and priorities make us hoot. They’ll hate to find that out!

How does becoming a grandfather feel?

I don’t feel older. When our youngest was about ten, we thought about adopting because we missed small kids, so we’re glad to have a grandson. I’d like to do a lot of nappy-changing and babysitting.

Town or country?

Ah, you can’t split them. I love flitting between London and Devon, where we have homes. The country smells of cows and silage but I like that, and you’re able to see the stars. But, coming back to town, I enjoy the streets, the Arabic food, the excitement.

Favourite landscape?

The Yorkshire Dales take some beating. It’s because the impact of man there is so picturesque – the dry stone walls and little square barns frame the landscape.

Could you run a mile?

I regularly run four. When I’m at home in London, I run round Hyde Park every other day.

Unfulfilled ambitions?

I really like acting and haven’t done enough of it. And I’d like to sail round Britain. I’ve always been a jack of all trades, constantly in need of new stimulus. If I can’t have something new, I’ll have a drink.


Now a million miles away from your lunatic character the orange-haired punk Vyvyan Basterd in The Young Ones and more comfortable as a TV presenter and musician, we put you at 51, the age when you formed The Bad Shepherds.

Keep up with Ade Edmonson's Twitter here

Mud, Blood and Beer, the new album by The Bad Shepherds, is out now.

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