My earliest memory of seeing Rik Mayall on T.V, was probably in The Young Ones. I was just seven years old when it was first broadcast in 1982, and my parents tell me that they saw it from the beginning and loved watching it.
I was dreadful at going to bed and would play up really badly at bedtime. I have strong memories of not being able to get to sleep, being an only child, I hated being left all alone upstairs. Our house was quite small and on many nights I could often hear my Dad laughing at the T.V. One evening he was laughing really loudly at whatever he and my Mum were watching, it sounded like they were watching something really great. I decided I just had to go downstairs to see what was happening, so I crept into the living room, just in time to see a punk come crashing through a wall. What on earth was this? It felt dangerous, colourful, loud and like a real life cartoon, I didn’t have a clue what was actually happening but I knew I wanted to see more! Consequently my parents were not at all impressed that I was up out of bed, I have a feeling they let me watch the rest of the show until the end, before taking me back to bed. I’m thinking they probably didn’t want to miss out on seeing the rest of it themselves!
When the second series of The Young Ones was broadcast in 1984, I feel sure I was now aloud to watch it. If that was the case, then I was just nine years old. The second series definitely has the most memories attached to it for me. Each episode felt jam packed with content and had it’s own distinctive theme and atmosphere, of which the ‘Nasty’ episode I remember, that really did scare me in places.
My Dad liked watching a lot of comedy and would also watch ‘Kick up the Eighties’, we would both really look forward to seeing the Kevin Turvey bit, so by 1984 I definitely knew who Rik Mayall was. The Young Ones though, really were the talk of the playground, so when the cast reunited for the Comic Relief single in 1986, it was such a big hit amongst us kids.
It wasn’t until 1988, and into my teenage years, that I could now start buying videos of The Young Ones and have the pleasure of watching the episodes over and over. I wasn’t all that familiar with the first series, but now I could finally enjoy some of those early episodes. The first video was released in 1988, and had ‘Oil’, ‘Boring’ and ‘Flood’ on it. Then slowly over the next few years, the B.B.C. released the other episodes. In 1990 came ‘Bambi’ ‘Nasty’ and ‘Time’, then in 1991 ‘Demolition’, ‘Bomb’ and ‘Sick’. Finishing with ‘Cash’, ‘Interesting’ and ‘Summer Holiday’ which was available by the end of 1991. I was now really happy to have the complete set, and of course I must have watched them time and time again. I just loved the humour and enjoyed the bickering between Rick and Vivian, it was so original, such a brilliant non conventional take on the classic British sitcom I’d grown up with. In 1992, ten years on, and to me, it still felt fresh and hadn’t dated.
In 1989 my secondary school celebrated it’s 50th anniversary and decided to have a summer party to celebrate, it was also decided we would should all come to school dressed up in clothes from an era of the last 50 years. So myself and three friends decided to come dressed as ‘The Young Ones’, I’m Neil and my mate who was with me for the audience of Comic Relief and Bottom, she made an excellent Vivian.