Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Rik Mayall

Sad to hear about Rik Mayall. For a student in the early '80s — living in a rancid flat and with a lifestyle and flatmates not dissimilar in aspect to those portrayed in The Young Ones — he was a comic god. Indeed, when The Young Ones went on tour and played my university at the height of their fame in, I think, 1983, it provoked a Beatlemania-esque frenzy.

I remember Ade Edmondson kicking off the show with Adrian Bastard and his Talking Penis (yep, he whipped the old fella out) and Neil (Nigel Planer) emerging from a wardrobe at the back of the stage after about half an hour, which he'd clearly been sitting in the whole time. Though it was Mayall who was the undoubted star.

Much has been written about The Young Ones and Blackadder, with very good reason. Kevin Turvey, too. But in between those, Bottom and Alan B'Stard, one show has been overlooked, Filthy, Rich & Catflap. It was sorely underrated. I kid you not, I hear the odd Mayall line in my head from that on a near daily basis. Comedy gold.

Wind back earlier and here's a clip of the first time I ever saw Mayall on telly, an early incarnation of the angry people's poet reading his composition "Theatre". Just brilliant...


  1. Can't forget the epic Bad News Jeff! For many, life's eternal question was what came first, Bad News or Spinal Tap?! Rik Mayall was brilliant as that pompous tosser Colin Grigson, bass player extraordinaire (NOT).

  2. You know I HAD forgotten it, Ray. But thanks for reminding. I'm going to go right now for a youtube revisit. As a massive Tap-head I like to think it a case of parallel evolution. That Comic Strip stuff was great. You can place Rik Mayall in the middle of this great big comedy nexus. You can shoot off to Richard Curtis in one direction. In another, if you go via Kick Up The Eighties and Tracy Ullman, you end up with The Simpsons. Jeff