Edith is the wife (and subsequently, sister-in-law) of her husband René Artois. After Rene's 'execution' and fake death, she became the legal owner of the cafe, which gave her greater influence over her husband's actions than she had before. She does however dream of the day when René will remarry her (as his own false twin brother).
Madame Edith, despite being tone deaf, fancies herself a cabaret singer, and insists on treating cafe customers to displays of her talents. Her concerts usually clear the cafe; those who remain stuff cheese in their ears to muffle her wails. While one of the waitresses, Mimi Labonq, actually does have talent, Madame Artois will not usually permit her to entertain the customers. Madame Ediths singing is so horrible that she has shattered glass, in one duet, she made every dog in the town howl, and to prevent Rene from being killed by several Resistance girls who where going to shoot him as a collaborator. She has no problem with the waitresses taking favoured customers upstairs, though.
Madame Edith is a jealous wife, and will become angry and suspicious of Rene whenever he is near other women. However she is very easy to hoodwink, whenever she catches her husband in a clinch with one of the waitresses, she swallows whatever transparent lies Rene chooses to tell her. Since she is thought to be a widow, she occasionally has suitors of her own, who flatter her enormously. They include Monsieur Alfonse, the local undertaker; and Bertorelli, an Italian captain. Ediths relationship with Rene himself can be quite contradictory at times, at one point she was quite ready to commit a suicide bombing to save Rene from the Germans and on other occasions is quite eager to see Rene die in some heroic manner so she can be considered the widow of a great man, showing just how selfish she is.
Edith appeared in the pilot episode and every subsequent episode. She is sometimes the butt of several jokes about her looks and exaggerating her age. Her age was at one point suggested to be over a hundred years old as she claimed she entertained soldiers returning from War and Rene riposted that it was during the Crimean War.
In general, Edith is an opportunistic, pompous, extremely self-important, selfish, extravagant, incredibly arrogant and callous sycophant, as shown when she worries about having Rene's twin brother's will leaving everything to her as opposed to Monsieur Alfonse's life. She even seems to have a sense of snobbish characteristics: As shown when Mimi is introduced and Edith arrogantly says This is Yvette, the other servant. and, also, when it seems that one waitress is bound to be hired, the waitress adds that she has a good singing voice and does cabaret, she says 'So do I! Next, please?'.
Her selfishness is evident that, when Rene impersonates his own twin brother, she demands that oak be the wood to make the coffin because her friends expect it. Also, she proudly and arrogantly beams when she mentions that Rene's will leave everything to her. This shows her to be extremely vain, as well as single-minded, self-focused and an incredible egomaniac. Her self-importance is almost overcoming, as shown when she immediately tries to employ an old lady as one of the waitresses for fear that, if she employs a younger and more attractive girl, Rene would take his eyes off Edith (As if he had his eyes on her beforehand) and start courting the latter.
Her arrogance is also evident as she is constantly trying to make herself look, sound or feel more important by using sophisticated expressions she didn't even understand, as pointed out by Rene, and suggesting completely pointless strategies to the Resistance which will result in total defeat. Her immensely pompous quotations are commonly met with a sarcastic or bitter remark from Rene.
She is also cruel, snobbish, self-obsessed, extremely vain and single-minded. She is always boasting and bragging about the abilities she thinks she has and the things she claims to have done, each of which are always met with sarcastic back-chat from Rene. It is unknown whether or not her relationship with Rene improves or not after the war, as both of them are kept firmly apart in the epilogue in A Winkle in Time, it seems Yvette is closer than ever now to Rene than Edith.
She treats the waitresses at the cafe more like useless, pointless slaves, always casting them aside and forcing them to do pointless, boring or undignified duties. She is extremely stupid, as she accidentally drops a smoke bomb down the General's lounge chimney instead of Lt. Grubers , and again where she manages to demolish the public convenience by hurling a little tank into it, trampling and traumatising a bewildered Officer Crabtree. She boasts to have been a Gypsy Queen and to have inherited her 'outstanding' singing talents from her mother, but this is rebounded by Madame Fanny's incredibly tuneless display of singing talents.
Edith is an opportunist, taking complete advantage of Rene being officially dead and spending as much of his money on herself, her appearance and her own vanity. She is a ruthless egomaniac, considering herself to be the greatest woman who ever lived. Her vanity leads to her believing that every man in Nouvion wants to marry her.
When faced with any danger of any kind, an incident as small as a mouse in the attic, she shows her true cowardice. When in such moments, her arrogance and selfishness flares up incredibly and she stammers uncontrollably. She is happy for Rene to die in her place if she survives and lives longer. She is always commenting that she is a younger individual, despite the fact that she was obviously over fifty years old. She is frequently mocked to be in her seventies at least and seems to think that her age means she is more important or attractive to others.
It has to be noted that Edith and Rene's relationship improves sometime after the war as highlighted in the 'Best Of 'Allo 'Allo!' episode which aired 2 years after the series ended in 1992. They are seen to be happy together and make several remarks to each other about their love for each other and Rene even says to Edith 'you look lovelier than last time'. However, it was her birthday and Rene could have simply being nice to her. They also make a remark to each other at the end of the programme which contradicts their loveless relationship which mostly was shown during the series.
Madame Edith attempts to sing in her café, to no avail. Later, she delivers a message to René. Her mother upstairs, Madame Fanny La Fan, interrupts during the radio transmission.
Edith is later shown to be adopted, that Madame Fanny is not her birth mother. Edith was delivered to Madame Fanny in a basket. She could also have been a gypsy princess: a Gypsy read her palm, and all clues pointed to her being a long lost princess. However, none of the Gypsies could take her voice, so they forced her away.
She appears in the final episode of 'Allo 'Allo!. After the war, now aged, she was confined to a bed and has adopted several of her mother's mannerisms. When René elopes with his waitress/mistress Yvette Carte-Blanche, she is left alone in Nouvion.
(Whenever she catches René cuddling Yvette) "RENÉ! What are you doing with that serving girl in your arms?!"
(Whenever she finishes her cabaret and receives no reply) 'Thank you for your kind applause.'
Talents and abilitiesEdit
Edith is a hopelessly talentless woman, always arrogantly boasting that she is adept in many things.
- Singing: Edith is an extremely hopeless singer, always thinking she is worth a place at the West End. She is completely oblivious to the fact that everybody loathes her voice.
- Intelligence: She is immensely idiotic, but always brags and boasts that she is superior in intellect to others, but this is immediately proven wrong after.
- Cook: She starts off as an excellent cook, but as her arrogance and egomania begins to grow throughout the series she becomes even worse. It is implied that her pasties taste a lot like wet cement.
"Edith used to work as a maid servant in the château." "Edith tap dances"