Bottom Live, Rik Mayall Presents, Seeing Rik, Watching Rik

Rik Mayall Presents… & Bottom Live 1993

Back in 1993, I was really looking forward to watching Rik in his new trilogy of comedy dramas, originally titled The Rik Mayall Playhouse, then later renamed Rik Mayall Presents… I was hearing a lot about it and also collected many cuttings. At the same time there was a huge buzz about the new Bottom Live show that was going to be toured around the UK. The two T.V series, shown in 1991 and 1992, had been a big hit amongst many fans, plus gained a new following of younger fans, now Rik and Ade were going to take it on the road.

On Sunday 4th April 1993, I had been out all day, but just about managed to get home in time to switch on the TV, to catch Rik’s appearance on Aspel and Company. Rik was the first guest on, then later was joined by Robin Day and Harry Connick Jnr. Here Rik talks about his forthcoming Presents series and a bit about the Bottom stage show. Later on in the show (not in this clip), when all three guests were sat together, I remember Rik mentioning, when Bad News performed at Donnington, they had so much horrific stuff thrown at them.

On Saturday 17th April 1993, Rik and Ade made an awkward but memorable appearance on the very last ever episode of the Saturday morning kids show, Going Live! Promoting Bottom Live, yes I know, a show that you actually had to be 18 to go and see!!

Referring to my promotional leaflet, the Bottom tour started on Wednesday 14th April 1993 at Rhyl, New Pavilion and ended on Monday 21st June 1993 at Plymouth Pavilion. The VHS video/DVD release was filmed at Southampton Mayflower over two nights on the 18th and 19th June 1993. I happened to see it performed on the 18th June and an extra date was also added on the 19th. So the best bits of both nights were probably mixed together and used for the video. The tour seemed to be going very well, because an extra date was also added for the 26th June, which took place at the Hammersmith Apollo, seeing The Hammersmith Hard Men return home for a final performance. The recording of the show was then released on Monday 27th September 1993, in time for the run up to Christmas!

Here’s Rik and Ade appearing on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast in April 1993. Attempting to promote the forthcoming Bottom tour with Paula Yates (Skip forward approx 2.5 mins for the start of the interview).

Rik Mayall Presents…

The Bottom tour was now in full swing, but meanwhile on TV, Rik Mayall Presents… was making it’s debut on ITV. The trilogy kicked off on Thursday 20th May 1993 at 9pm with a story called Micky Love. Thursday night interestingly saw a clash, as The Comic Strip Presents…  was being shown on BBC 2 at the same time. Thank goodness for having a video recorder…

Rik Mayall Presents         First Broadcast

  1. Micky Love                 Thursday 20th May 1993
  2. Briefest Encounter    Thursday 27th May 1993
  3. Dancing Queen          Thursday 3rd June 1993

The series was a fabulous showcase for Rik’s acting talent. He was able to show he had much more range as an actor, proving to TV audiences he could be far more restrained and much less manic than people thought. He to me, was always more of a comic actor than a comedian anyway, however in these performances, audiences finally got to see and realise there was much more depth to his acting ability. Dancing Queen, which co-stared Helena Bonham-Carter, was probably the initial favourite amongst watchers when it first aired, I know I must have watched it repeatedly for a good while afterwards. All three episodes are great and really well worth seeing if you haven’t done so already. For these performances, Rik was rightly awarded a British Comedy Award later that year, televised on Sunday 12th December for Best Comedy Actor.

Quote from my diary:

To my great delight, the winner of the first category, Best Comedy Actor, was RIK! I jumped for joy when his name was called out and consequently hit my head on the lampshade! I was so excited, I’d never seen him at an awards ceremony before, all dressed up and in a dinner jacket too!

His acceptance speech can be found on my YouTube channel.

Rik would then go on to make another wonderful Presents trilogy, shown on ITV in 1995.

  1. The Big One           29th January 1995
  2. Dirty Old Town      5th February 1995
  3. Clair de Lune         12th February 1995

Rik, the cover star of GQ magazine, from June 1993, with a lovely article inside.

Bottom Live

Meanwhile, and in complete contrast to the characters he was playing in his Presents series, Rik was busy on the road with Ade, night after night becoming Richard Richard, performing to big sell out audiences around the country.

My diary entries:

Tuesday 25th May 1993 – Portsmouth Guildhall

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My mum was keen to see it too, so we got tickets to see it in Portsmouth. Travelled by train and in our usual fashion arrived early.  It didn’t take long to see a queue forming outside the Guildhall, so went and joined it. Inside I was amazed to see that they had programme/posters and T-shirts for sale, so I spent most of my money on those. The t-shirt I bought was a size small, but was enormous on me, I think I ended up wearing it as a nightdress in years to come. It had the phrase “who needs birds when you’ve got your mates” on the front, not really the best thing for a teenage girl to be wearing, but I didn’t care, it had Rik and Ade on it, and was the first official t-shirt I owned of them (I had previously made myself a Young Ones Tee – but that doesn’t really count.)  Believe it or not apart from VHS videos, a few audio cassette tapes/LP’s and some books, there wasn’t really much in the way of merchandise up until now, so for me to finally have a T-shirt was the best thing ever.  7.30pm the show started, with the recognisable theme music played really loud, everyone started cheering as the curtains went up to reveal the iconic set just like the TV show. Rik was the first on stage, and came on to rapturous applause and cheers from the audience. The magic had begun and boy did they go for it, now able to get away with much cruder and far ruder material. Rik, like on every other occasion I’ve seen him was sweating gallons and putting every inch of energy into his performance. They of course know the audience like to see some mistakes and I’m sure pretended to add lib for some of it – which was very funny and to some extent probably fairly genuine, however you just knew it was happening at every show. I loved it though, and it was great to be in a room with so many fans laughing and enjoying the same thing at the same time.

Large souvenir programme/poster from 1993. Note the script for Bottom’s Out, which was meant to be the final episode of the second series in 1992, however was not broadcast due to a real life event that happened on Wimbledon Common around the same time. Here in the tour programme, fans got their first taste of this episode before it was finally aired for the first time much later, on the 10th April 1995 in a repeat showing of series two after series three was first broadcast.

Friday 18th June 1993 – Southampton Mayflower

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Somehow I managed to twist the arm of a friend of mine who wasn’t really a Rik Mayall fan to come with me to see the show for a second time. We met nice and early outside the theatre, I couldn’t help on my way there walk past the dressing rooms – as you never know who you might see! We were hanging around waiting at the side of the theatre, my friend was casually looking at a poster, when I out of the corner of my eye I spotted Rik, he was wearing a busy bright blue Hawaiian shirt (not exactly discrete, if you don’t want to be recognised) he had walked out from a cut way opposite the theatre and then strangely got into a van, which drove up to the top of the road and did a U turn, it then went down the side of the theatre to drop him at the stage door. It literately prevented him from crossing the road, and more than likely in that shirt to be hugely recognised. There was already a large group of fans waiting at the stage door and we saw him stood outside for quite a while talking to them and signing autographs. We slowly edged our way down, my friend said “don’t you want to go and see him.” I wasn’t too worried, it looked a bit too crowded for my liking and plus I had already met him and didn’t want to spoil my memories. It was however a lot of fun watching from a distance.

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There were cameras set up all over the theatre that night, the show was being filmed tonight and tomorrow for a special video release, which according to a man sat next to us, who worked at H.M.V, will be out sometime in the Autumn. So that will be going on my Christmas list then! Second time round it was just as funny, if not better and yes, they made the exact same mistakes. The Mayflower is a big theatre and it was packed out, we were sat quite near the front at the side of the stalls, so could see all the people sat up in the dress circle and up into the balcony. It was a great evening out and I throughly enjoyed it. However, I had been truly spoilt seeing the Gas episode recorded only two years earlier – I don’t think anything will ever live up to that special day. It was amazing to witness how popular Bottom had become. Only three years earlier I had received a letter telling me how he and Ade were working on a new sitcom together. Then to see an episode recorded with a fairly small audience – which looking back probably had a number of friends and family of the cast and crew there. To now seeing their stage play version, performed to thousands of fans and being toured around the UK.  What an amazing phenomena Bottom had become.

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Did you see any of the Bottom Live shows? Did you buy a T-Shirt or any other merch? If you’d like to share your story and pictures of the goodies you bought then, what are you waiting for, get in touch.  Please go to the contact page for more details.


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