Running parallel with the 'alternative comedy' boom of the '80's was the emergence of more traditional comedy performers, such as Cannon & Ball, Jimmy Cricket, Bobby Davro and, of course, Russ. 'Madhouse' began life as a vehicle for Freddie Starr, and was quite dreadful, but when Russ replaced him it developed into something really special. Abbot's recurring characters included 'See You Jimmy', 'Cooperman', 'Basildon Bond', 'Wilf Bumworthy', 'Boggles' and 'Geronimo'. He was ably supported by a wonderful cast which included the then-unknown Michael Barrymore, Bella Emberg, Les Dennis and the late, much-missed Dustin Gee. It was typical I.T.V. Saturday night fare, combining slapstick with innuendo, but everyone looked as though they were having fun, and this was communicated to the audience. Sadly, Russ became the victim of a purge of the old guard of comedians in the early '90's, a criminal waste of a great talent. We badly need a show like this on Saturday nights now.
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