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When I was about 9, I turned on the TV late one evening and saw two ugly men, dressed in ill-fitting clothes, stapling parts of each others’ bodies to a kitchen table accompanied by riotous laughter. I shut off the set in horror and tottered upstairs to relate the scene to my parents as though it were a hilarious joke.

The men I had glimpsed were, of course, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson, and the programme was Bottom. Over time the shock developed into curiosity, and…

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