Breaking the fourth wall is a concept in theatre, film and television whereby any actor breaks character and directly addresses the audience. It is more common in theatre however has been utilised in many film and television productions since the day of the "talkie." In Bottom, both Richie and Eddie turn and face the camera on a number of occasions and address the audience. A good example is the finale of "Culture" during a scene where Eddie is beating Richie's head in with the fridge door. Eddie/Ade looks directly at the camera, smiles, and says:
Eddie: You know, it's funny. They say television encourages violence. But I'm smashing his face in, and we haven't got one!
Richie: Well that's where he's wrong listeners, 'cause in fact we do have a telly, and here it is!
Another example occurs when Richie and Eddie are getting a good kicking from the Three Small Devils in "Terror." Mid-fight, where in fact the violence is implied and obscured by a wall, Eddie clambers up and addresses the camera directly with:
Eddie: It's all going very well, keep watching!
In the live shows, breaking the fourth wall normally happens when Rik and Ade are trying to get one up on each other. In Bottom Live, Ade goes on a long and dramatic rant, reciting his line from "Contest" (slime in this ear...) sending the audience into a frenzy. Rik becomes incredibly annoyed with Ade and both end up looking to the audience for more cheers.
In the television series, there were frequent subtle moments where the fourth wall was broken, usually a brief glance towards the camera followed by a sigh or a throwaway comment. In Filthy, Rich & Catflap, these moments were numerous and integral to the plot, with Rik and Ade sometimes even bidding hello to the crowd before carrying on with the show. Such moments would go hand in hand with a double entendre, with either character looking directly at the camera and exclaiming "oo-er!"