Rik Remembered…


There comes a point in everyone’s life when they become only too aware of their own mortality. In addition to its numerous other features, your mobile ‘phone suddenly becomes a harbinger of death, relaying the passing of family, friends and colleagues. Add the inescapable grapevine of social media, heralding the passing of those in the public eye who have touched our lives, and you can’t help but realise just how precious our limited time on this earth is.

Today’s sad news that Rik Mayall has died, at the age of 56, has compounded this belief for me. From the anarchic poet of the people Rick in the “Young Ones”, to Lord Flashheart in “Blackadder” – “She’s got a tongue like an electric eel, and she likes the taste of a man’s tonsils!” – through to Alan B’Stard, “Bottom” and “Filthy Rich and Catflap”, Rik Mayall, and his various guises, have been a presence in my life since I started secondary school. We would recite episodes of the “Young Ones” at school, the day after they had been aired. Woe betide anyone who missed an episode, as they would be clueless as to what everyone else was talking about for a week. As the antics of Mayall, Edmondson, Planer et al evolved into the supreme talents we know and love today, we grew up alongside them, finding hilarity in performances about which our older selves really should have known better. How can you not laugh at the slapstick sight of Richie Rich and a frying pan???

To a lot of people, Rik will be best remembered for his portrayal a of Cliff Richard-obsessed student. A few years ago, I saw Cliff perform at the O2 (a guilty pleasure!), and when he performed “Living Doll”, it was complete with Rick’s “Get Down” additions! Although, that is the character that saw me crying tears of laughter during my teenage years, I will leave you with my favourite memory of the comedic genius that was Rik Mayall…


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