The wonders of the internet have certainly allowed more people than ever before to find and discover things they just wouldn’t have had easy access to only a couple of decades ago. Here’s a lovely story from Pilvi, who lives in Finland and got hooked on The Young Ones as a teenager when it was shown on Finnish Television around the the time of the new millennium. Then was able to use YouTube to discover more of Rik’s shows and appearances. It was interesting to learn from Pilvi, how The Young Ones was broadcast in Finland in English with Finnish subtitles. A lot of the humour for sure would have been lost if it had been dubbed, proving what a great command of the English language Pilvi and her fellow Finnish fans must have.
Thank You to: Pilvi from Finland
It was early 2000s, when the Finnish television channel Nelonen, I think, broadcast The Young Ones one summer. As far as I know, the show had been broadcast in Finland once before, but I was way too young to remember. So I watched it at the age of 14 or 15, and was hooked instantly. The ridiculous humour I had grown to love from a very young age, as British comedy has been an interest ever since I was a child, was what roped me in to see every episode. I also remember that one awful summer day when a thunder storm took out the electricity right when a new episode was about to be aired! I never saw the episode, ”Bambi”, until I was able to find the entire series on DVD.
My initial interest on the show was Vyvyan, whose violent ways, the wildly styled red hair and the punk style, were what made the show for me. But as I watched and rewatched The Young Ones, I began to appreciate Rick, and Rik, more. There was something quite real and poetic about the People’s Poet.
A few years later Bottom was brought to my attention by the same television channel, with now slightly older Rik and Ade. I also realised I had seen Richie and Eddie somewhere before, on a comedy documentary hosted by Rowan Atkinson, years before I’d even known of The Young Ones. I think this was what started my interest in making connections between British comedy shows and films by linking them based on the comedians in them.
Bottom was even more ridiculous, with its mainly toilet based humour, but it still kept me watching to the very end.
By this time I had really started to appreciate Rik’s humour and comic timing, and seeing the Fluff compilations of Bottom introduced to a whole new Rik Mayall. He seemed so genuine and loved making people laugh. I wished I could get a chance to meet him one day.
My comedy connections quest continued and I began to spot Rik in all kinds of shows and films. Blackadder featured the incredibly sexy Flasheart, I was surprised to spot him in a Miss Marple episode, almost unrecognisable with that beard, and Shock Treatment, the sequel to one of my favourite films of all time, featuring a Young Ones era Rik. Of course this meant I had to start looking for more.
The New Statesman, Drop Dead Fred, Filthy Rich & Catflap, The Comic Strip Presents, those soon became new instant favourites. Finnish television didn’t feature these as far as I know, at least not in the past 10-15 years. So I was dependent on YouTube in my search for more Rik. I was lucky to find Man Down episodes and it was so amazing how much Greg Davies actually reminds me of a young Rik Mayall, so the casting choice was perfect. I couldn’t get enough of Rik at this point.
I remember where I was when I saw the headlines of his sudden passing; aboard a cruise liner between Finland and Sweden. The screens around the ship displayed that morning’s news headlines. It broke my heart. The people I was with didn’t really react, as I expected, but I do know at least a few others who appreciate Rik’s work. He might not have as big a following here, but there are some of us.
To me, Rik means ridiculous humour in absurd situations. You know you cannot not laugh, but you also never know what exactly to expect. And that’s what makes Rik amazing.
Are you a Rik Mayall fan from outside the UK? How did you discover his shows in your country? I’d love to add more stories from people around the globe.
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