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Bottom episode
Episode no. Series One
Episode 003
Written by Ade Edmondson & Rik Mayall
Directed by Ed Bye
Produced by Ed Bye
Original airdate September 30, 1991
Episode chronology
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"Gas" "Apocalypse"

"Contest" is the third episode of the first series of British sitcom Bottom. It was first broadcast on Monday September 30, 1991[1]. It is notable as the first of only three episodes (along with Culture and Hole) to feature only the two main characters.[2][3][4]



With Eddie having spent most of their remaining £11.80 on a second-hand copy of Parade magazine, he and Richie spend a night watching Miss World on the television[2].


The episode begins with Richie placing his head in the oven in a suicide attempt. He has left a suicide note on the table for Eddie to read. It is revealed that this is in fact a ploy to guilt Eddie into buying him a drink. Eddie enters the room, places his suitcase on top of the note and proceeds to read the newspaper. When he notices Richie with his head in the oven, he is disinterested, and Richie relents.

It emerges that while Eddie has been out all day trying to claim his dole money, Richie has spent all day making an inexpensive dinner for the pair (everything has been grown, found or foraged), which turns out to be inedible. Eddie refuses to eat the dinner and reveals he has been denied his dole as he has too many savings - £11.80 which ought to last him two months - but he's "invested" the majority of it in a secondhand copy of Parade magazine. Eddie sits down to watch the Miss World contest on TV, but Richie refuses to let him. The two have an argument and Richie throws Eddie out of the flat. He then settles down to masturbate while watching Miss World. Eddie, who has been preparing to apologise to Richie, catches Richie in the act and agrees to keep it a secret if he is allowed to return and watch Miss World.

When Richie questions how Eddie has spent so much on a porn magazine, he reveals he has also placed a Miss World bet. Richie is less than impressed when he finds out Eddie has placed the money on the hideous, apparently ancient Chinese contestant, as he felt the odds were so good.

The pair must then deal with changing a fuse when Richie breaks the television. In the ensuing chaos, Richie is electrocuted, burns his hand on the kettle several times (exclaiming "I didn't think the kettle would be hot!") and falls out of the window. When Eddie fixes the lights, he notices Richie is gone. Only now does he find the suicide note and assumes Richie has killed himself. After briefly mourning his friend, he begins planning to sell all of his possessions.

Richie returns and the two discuss their state in the world. Eddie states his philosophy on life: "You're born, you try to keep your head down and you die. If you're lucky." Their contestant loses Miss World, and Richie is further depressed. Eddie reveals that he never placed the bet anyway; he only claimed to have done it so Richie would let him watch Miss World. Eddie had instead spent the money on a "slap-up grill" as he saw Richie preparing "dinner" when he left that morning. Richie punches Eddie in the face and the episode ends.


  • This episode doesn't appear on some European DVD box sets featuring every episode.
  • Due to the low video quality and some plot inconsistencies, this episode has been disputed as the Pilot.


  • It is revealed that the flat belongs to Richie's Auntie Mabel and that Eddie is Richie's sub-tenant, though he has never paid rent. However, from "'s Up" onwards, the pair have a landlord, Mr. Harrison, who only makes two appearances. Auntie Mabel is never mentioned again, although rich Auntie Olga's death instigates the plot of "Apocalypse".
  • When the electricity in the flat goes out, Eddie opens the fridge while looking for the fuse wire. The fridge light is clearly on.


  1. ^ "Bottom: Contest-".;ep_title;2. Retrieved 2008-21-23.  
  2. ^ a b Bottom Series One. [DVD]. BBC Worldwide. 2003.  
  3. ^ Bottom Series Two. [DVD]. BBC Worldwide. 2004.  
  4. ^ Bottom Series Three. [DVD]. BBC Worldwide. 2005.  


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