I must say I was very intrigued when I first heard that Rik Mayall was going off to America to make a film. First of all I though, great, I get to see him on the big screen! Then I thought, god, I hope it will be good! It also hadn’t really dawned on me in 1991 that he was actually known outside of the UK, his humour always felt very unique to the UK to me. In the Autumn of 1991, there was a lot of publicity about his new film. Rik was appearing on a number of TV chat shows, and there were a lot of articles and reviews about the film. I found it very hard to keep up with all the different magazines he was appearing in, I saved quite a few, here’s just a small selection of the best:
The film was released in America on the 24th May 1991 and came to the UK on 11th October 1991. I remember feeling disappointed though, as looked like my home town cinema wasn’t going to be showing it. However, I had to see it, and hatched a plan to persuaded my dad to take me to the nearest cinema that was showing it – which was about 20 miles away!
Saturday 2nd November 1991
So as a family we went, my Mum, Dad and I. The cinema turned out to be a really grotty old fashioned flea pit too, definitely not one of the new big plush multi-screened cinemas that were popping up all over the country at the time. It was the type that only gave you old style tickets too! I was really hoping for a more modern ticket, with the name of the film printed on it – to stick in my diary of course! Anyway, despite the environment we all really enjoyed the film, but I have to admit, it felt very tame to the Rik stuff I was used to watching. It was very entertaining though and Rik of course was great as Drop Dead Fred, let’s face it only he could carry off playing a part like that. I did feel it wasn’t as bad as some of the reviewers and critics of the time were saying about it though. If it had been showing in my own town, I would definitely go and see it again.
Friday 6th December 1991
A little while later, my home town cinema was now showing it! This time I managed to persuade a group of college friends to see it with me, and you’ll be pleased to know, I did get that modern ticket! It was great to see Rik on such a big screen again. Interestingly, my friend who really wasn’t into Rik’s shows at all, absolutely loved it, she thought it was great and didn’t stop quoting bits from it afterwards. I hadn’t managed to convert her into being a fan, but it did show that this film had a much wider appeal.
Although not strictly a kids movie, rated a 12 at the cinema and a 15 on the VHS release, it’s probably a film many young children have now grown up watching. I too showed it to my own daughters when they were quite young. It has become a bit of a cult classic and probably for me, has got better with time. I think many of us now wish we too had grown up with an imaginary friend, just like Drop Dead Fred.
Here’s a behind the scenes clip I recorded from Film 91.
Did you see Drop Dead Fred at the cinema? How old were you when you first saw it? Were you one of the lucky ones that won one of these!!!?
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