Deian has been following the People’s Poet for probably as long as I have. Rik’s humour has evidently been a strong and ongoing influence on him over the years too. So much so, he was even one of the many people to visit the site of The Young Ones house in Bristol, shortly after Rik’s passing. Where he found, saw and read the tributes that had been left there.
Thank you to: Deian Lye-Vella
Rik Mayall. How much has he influenced me and my life? Oof, lots. But where did it even begin? Well, for me probably around the time of The Young Ones. Lots of chat about it at school and on the telly so I searched it out. I was too young to stay up to watch it what with it being a school night so the video recorder was the only option for me. I was hooked, the silly loud humour! And the language! Brill. And then not long after that second series it was the Comic Relief record. I had to find out more about this comedy and him. Saturday Live and the Dangerous Brothers, Comic Strip, Jackanory it all came forth and was there for me to enjoy and lap up. When the sort of like but not quite the Young Ones show Filthy Rich and Catflap came on I was in Rik heaven. It was brilliant. I loved it so much that when the announcer stated that the show would return for a new series it kept me in hope for many a year. Yes, many a year because it never did return, sadly. Lying farty pants! And then the New Statesman. I loved that so much that I even, during my drama GCSE in my final school year wrote a script heavily influenced by that show. (Well, I say heavily influenced it was mostly ripped off if I’m being honest) What a time that was in the 80s. The alternative comedy scene I loved it so much and it certainly contributed to my humour and my own dreams towards being a performer and writer. And we haven’t even got to Rik’s appearances in Blackadder yet or Mr Jolly Lives Next Door! (A film which turned me on to gin and goatees. Though I should say in no way do
gin and goatees turn me on. All right, hippy?!)
Many years later I was lucky enough to win a chance to meet a favourite band of mine. The day involved going on a spooky cave visit and meeting the band afterwards. I almost missed out seeing and meeting the band at the end as I was enraptured by the tour guide who was regaling myself and another about meeting and working with Rik Mayall. By the time he had finished it was almost home time! I did get to meet the band, just. Still, it was worth it to hear such fan Rik tales.
His influence is strong and ongoing. The way I act when trying to be funny, the way I have approached acting jobs and stand up, Rik has always had a distinct influence on all of them. (I should say, when appropriate, I wouldn’t burst into a Rik-esque up yours matey boy when performing Shakespeare for instance. Or as Rik might have said, performing Shake!) Using fascist! as an insult also became a thing thanks to my constant Young Ones viewings. I remember getting it the Christmas after it’s first release in ’88 and it became a mainstay on the video player. I watched it that much that I practically knew the lines off by heart. This came to be tested when during a sixth form college drama lesson we were required to play out a sketch based on an emotion. So I pretty much did Rik’s lines verbatim from the Oil episode. That bit with Viv regarding the rent and the outside lavvy and Rik’s ‘runny bottom!’ The drama teacher knew it as well and I could never work out if that went in my favour or not. And, well, if that wasn’t enough to convince you that I was a fan maybe the thought of me posing as a Young Ones era Rik during a first day at Sixth Form College photo session is? If not, tough luck fascist!
Here’s me about a week after Rik’s passing at the old Student house. I had to go. I had been meaning to a a tour of the filming locales for years and it seemed like the right time to go. There were flowers and tributes left with a lovely note from a very young fan. It was a sad moment but amazing at the same time to see the house. THE house, the student house I’d always imagined living in.
Thank you Deian for sending me your memories of how Rik Mayall has influenced and inspired you throughout your life. I particularly love how your drama, acting and writing work has been inspired over the years, plus how you were enraptured by the tour guide, telling his tales of meeting and working with Rik – I would have been the same I’m sure!
Do you identify with Deian’s informative years? Would you like your story to be added to the scrapbook? Then drop me an email, I’d love to hear from you.
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