Saturday 14 June 2014

RIP Rik Mayall/ Richard 'Richie' Richard (1958 –2014)

To be perfectly frank, 2014 has been a rubbish year for me as far childhood idols, mostly due to them dying on an unsettlingly regular basis. This is not an exaggeration I have actually found myself refraining from dedicating blog posts to each one for fear of these posts becoming monotonous. However I felt that I had to address the latest as it took me (and not to mention the nation) completely and utterly by surprise. Rik Mayall, star of The Young Ones and Bottom died on the 9th of June aged only 56, a ridiculous waste, and the loss of a unique talent that the world will never see the likes of again.
Best known as Rick in The Young Ones, Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman or Lord Flashheart in the Blackadder Rik Mayall’s television career started around the same time that I first became aware of television. He had piercing eyes a gurning face and a ‘dangerous’ persona that appealed to my snot joke loving, preteen sensibilities fuelled by his uncanny ability of appearing in programmes that didn’t appeal to my parents. Yet, despite this I was still able to catch his work on a regular basis if not the occasional episode of The Young Ones he would be reading George's Marvellous Medicine on Jackanory or the Grim fairy tales on Grim Tales leading up to the movie, Drop Dead Fred. Opinions of this movie have varied over the years, personally I loved it and watched it several times when it was released on video, the film not only delivered the before mentioned preteen sensibility requirements but also poignant moments of sentiment appropriately enough relating to growing up. I say appropriately because when I “grew up” a year later, crossing over to my teenage years, there was Rik again not only promoting Nintendo’s latest games but also in the guise of Richard "Richie" Richard in Bottom, perfectly paired with Adrian Edmondson as Edward "Eddie" Elizabeth Hitler. Bottom is one of my all time favourite comedy shows, there simply was nothing else like it. It not only appealed to those snot joke loving, preteen sensibilities that I refused to let go of but it also catered to my love of comedy slapstick and insane comedic scenarios. I have fond memories of staying over at my friend Marc’s house watching the tapes and endlessly laughing and quoting them at each other. As I became a student (harbouring aspirations of making animated superhero movies with Rik Mayall cast as the main villain) I would watch the Bottom Live videos. Sadly I missed out on attending their last live tour but having finally attended a Red Dwarf episode recording back in 2012-I thought another ambition would soon be realised when it was rumoured that Mayall and Edmondson would be reuniting for a Bottom spin-off. I was fired up and ready to snag front row tickets but alas it was not to be, it seems that the project was cancelled prior to production. Although disappointed at this outcome, I believed that it would only be a matter of time before they tried again and that all we had to do was wait a little longer, sadly we must now accept that it will NEVER happen, a truly sad prospect.
Rik Mayall, Bigger than Hitler - Better than Christ will be missed by all but never replaced.

© Arfon Jones 2014. All images are copyrighted throughout the world. Although I should imagine that the above image belongs to the BBC, no copyright infringement intended.


  1. I think one had to be a certain age to enjoy programmes like The Young Ones and Bottom, and I just wasn't that age. However, I enjoyed The New Statesman (for which he won a Bafta), and I hear that he was a good, serious stage actor. I don't quite regard him as a comedy genius (it takes more than shouting, gurning and silly voices to qualify for that particular accolade, in my estimation), but it's a real shame that he died at such a young age when perhaps his best was still ahead.

    1. I try not use the word genius (unless referring to myself of course ;) ) but he certainly was someone to celebrate as he had his own style/ genre of comedy making him unique. I bought a paper the other day (something I haven’t done for many moons) and I was reading some quotes from him and I was chuckling along as I did so. I agree, you had to be a certain age to enjoy programmes like The Young Ones and Bottom. Perhaps I was a little too young to appreciate The New Statesman at the time, I have long put it down to the fact it was on a Sunday nights as the main reason I didn’t watch as much of them (had the same difficulty watching Spitting Image). He was a good, serious stage actor and I didn't mention it here, Rik Mayall presents was a brilliant series proving that there was more to him than shouting, gurning and silly voices (I didn’t think so until I saw Guest House Paradiso proving there is more to Bottom than gross humour, its also character/ dialogue based.)



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