Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall


7 March 1958


Harlow, Essex, England


Television, Film, Stand-up Comedy


Barbara Robbin (m. 1985-present, 3 children)

Roles and Series

Rick in The Young Ones
Richie Richard in Bottom
The Comic Strip Presents...
Lord Flashheart in Blackadder II and Squadron Commander Lord Flashheart in Blackadder Goes Forth
Alan B'stard in The New Statesman
Richie Twat in Guest House Paradiso

Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall (born 7 March 1958 - died 9 June 2014) was an English comedian, writer and actor. He was known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s. Such notability led him to appear in sitcoms such as The Young Ones, Blackadder, The New Statesman, and Bottom and even onto the big screen in comedy films such as Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso. Mayall studied drama at the University of Manchester in 1976, where he befriended his future comedy partner Adrian Edmondson. He also met Ben Elton and Lise Mayer, with whom he later co-wrote The Young Ones. Edmondson and Mayall gained their reputation at the Comedy Store, from 1980. The double act, "20th Century Coyote", became popular. Mayall also developed solo routines using characters such as Kevin Turvey and a pompous anarchist poet named Rick. This led to Edmondson and Mayall, along with Comedy Store compere Alexei Sayle and other upcoming comedians including Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, French and Saunders, Arnold Brown and Pete Richens, to set up their own comedy club called "The Comic Strip" in the Raymond Revue Bar, a strip club. Mayall's popularity led to a regular slot for Kevin Turvey on A Kick Up the Eighties, first broadcast in 1981. He appeared as "Rest Home" Ricky in Richard O'Brien's Shock Treatment, sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He played Dentonvale's resident attendant as the love interest to Nell Campbell's Nurse Ansalong.

Mayall's television appearances as Kevin Turvey in 1977 along with Johnathan PP Seller warranted a mockumentary based on the character entitled Kevin Turvey — The Man Behind The Green Door, broadcast in 1982. The previous year, he appeared in a bit role in An American Werewolf in London. His stage partnership with Edmondson continued, often appearing together as "The Dangerous Brothers", hapless daredevils whose hyper-violent antics foreshadowed their characters in Bottom. Mayall also made a cameo appearance in the 1983 gothic horror film, The Keep directed by Michael Mann. Channel 4 offered the Comic Strip group six short films, which became the Comic Strip Presents..., debuting on 2 November 1982. The series, which continued sporadically for many years, saw Mayall play a wide variety of roles. It was known for anti-establishment humour and for parodies such as Bad News On Tour, a spoof "rockumentary" starring Mayall, Richardson, Edmondson and Planer as a heavy metal band.

At the time The Comic Strip Presents... was negotiated, the BBC took an interest in The Young Ones, a sitcom written by Mayall and then-girlfriend Lise Mayer, in the same anarchic vein as Comic Strip. Ben Elton joined the writers. The series was commissioned and first broadcast in 1982, shortly before Comic Strip. Mayall played Rik, a pompous sociology student and Cliff Richard devotee. Despite the sitcom format, Mayall maintained his double-act with Edmondson, who starred as violent punk Vyvyan. Nigel Planer (as hippie Neil) and Christopher Ryan (as "Mike the cool person") also starred, with additional material written and performed by Alexei Sayle. The first series was successful and a second was commissioned in 1984. The show owed a comic debt to Spike Milligan, but Milligan was disapproving of Mayall, and once wrote: "Rik Mayall is putrid - absolutely vile. He thinks nose-picking is funny and farting and all that. He is the arsehole of British comedy." [1]

In 1986, Mayall joined with Planer, Edmondson and Elton to star in Filthy Rich & Catflap as Richie Rich in what was billed as a follow-up to The Young Ones. The idea of "Filthy Rich and Catflap" was in reaction to comments Jimmy Tarbuck made about the "Young Ones". The series primary focus was to highlight the "has been" status of light entertainment. While Mayall received positive critical reviews, viewing figures were poor and the series was never repeated on the BBC. In later years, release on video, DVD and repeats on UK TV found a following. Mayall suggested the series did not last because he was uncomfortable acting in an Elton project, when they had been co-writers on The Young Ones.[2] 1987 saw Mayall co-star with Edmondson in the ITV sit-com Hardwicke House. Due to adverse reaction of press and viewers, ITV withdrew the series after two episodes.[3] The same year, Mayall had a number one hit in the UK Singles charts when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed with Cliff Richard to record "Living Doll" for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign. Mayall played Rick one last time in the stage show and supported the Comic Relief cause ever since. He appeared on the children's television series Jackanory. His crazed portrayal of Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine proved memorable.[4] However, the BBC received complaints "with viewers claiming both story and presentation to be both dangerous and offensive."[5]

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