In these series of posts, ‘Memories of Rik Mayall’, I will be adding a selection of shorter memories people have told me about via Instagram and Twitter. Each fan has their own unique memory and story to tell, and when you put them altogether it creates a wonderful patchwork of tributes to Rik’s work and shows what a far reaching influence he has around the world. In this first one, fans tell us how they discovered and fell in love with the work of Rik Mayall:
“In my town where Rik used to live as a child in one of the pubs they have loads of pictures of him so I pretty much knew about Rik from when I was a child, as I would always see those pictures. By the way the town is called Droitwich Spa”.
(Canada) “When I was little, I used to get babysat by my cousin. I went to her house one day and she had on this film. I was curious so I sat down and ate my lunch as I watched a green ball bounce around the pink bedroom. I was intrigued at this point. I continued to watch when suddenly, a man in a green suit with wild orange hair yelled, “Hey Snotface”. And never had I laughed so hard. Every time I’d go to her house, she’d put on Drop Dead Fred for me. Over the years I’d forgotten about the film until recently. I finally found it again and watched and fell in love with it over again. I looked up the cast and found his name, ‘Rik Mayall’. That’s where it all began… Now I’m watching Bottom, The Young Ones, Filthy Rich and Catflap, The Comic Strip Presents, The Dangerous Brothers etc… I’m happy to have been introduced to him again, but sad I did it late. When I found out he passed away, I was so upset. Drop Dead Fred was dead. I was so hurt, but he had a wonderful and amazing life and I’m happy to have been able to live in the same world as him. Rest in peace Rik”.
“My Mum and Dad loved Rik so I’d watch The Young Ones and Bottom from a young age. And of course Drop Dead Fred was a favourite when I was wee. Itchy Itchy Dog Poo! There was always something so mischievous in his eyes, it makes me smile just thinking of him. He was amazing and will always be in my heart. I saw him in Edinburgh doing The New Statesman and my heart just melted when he smiled”.
(Australia) In Aust we had Rik’s works on ABC late at night, just randomly one night saw him.
“A friend sat me down to watch ‘Nasty’. I thought it was going to be a horror film (she had form for doing that). It was hilarious. My love of Alternative Comedy and Rik continued from there. We would walk the streets of Brisbane Australia quoting every episode of The Young Ones. ‘Bambi’ and ‘Flood’ were our best. I think my love of Rik and Alternative Comedy more widely part-inspired my move to the UK 20 years ago”.
(US) “My Mom used to watch The Young Ones when it aired on MTV in America. She would always play the cornflakes scene for us kids and I never got it until I got older. I eventually watched The Young Ones on my own and was hooked instantly. We both loved that and Drop Dead Fred. It became a really nice bonding moment admiring Rik’s work. And I got to show her stuff she hadn’t seen before like Bottom!”
Watched Bottom and The Young Ones with my Dad from about the age of ten. Was a great way to bond.
“When I was very little I saw Drop Dead Fred and five year old me fell in love with him and obviously wanted him to be my own imaginary friend! From then on I would try and watch The Young Ones and Bottom behind my parents back because I was scared they’d hate him but he was my idol as a kid and he still is now!”
“Got introduced to The Young Ones as a kid, first time seeing slapstick comedy. Then Bottom came around and I’ve never looked back since, from watching Rik’s shows countless times to having him tattooed on my leg. The man was a genius!”
“Probably The Young Ones first and then after that Saturday Live, what a thrill to watch that on late night TV. Afterwards, Lord Flash, Jackanory and The New Statesman followed. Not forgetting The Comic Strip and Filthy Rich and Catflap of course. He was so energetic and fun, you had to watch him. Certainly influenced my creative doings as a kid. And now!”
“I watched Drop Dead Fred when I was a kid, thought he was gorgeous and absolutely hilarious! My Dad then made me watch Bottom because he thought I’d enjoy it, obviously I didn’t fully understand it at 7 but just loved the energy, daring and buffoonery. Still a huge fan to this day and it still upsets me to think that Rik is gone”.
(US) My Mom showed me an episode of The Young Ones and I was hooked. It didn’t take long until I got hooked on Bottom”.
“I saw the first episode of The Young Ones the first night it was on. Next day I found I was the only one who had seen it. The next week everyone watched it. For one week I was the cool kid!”
(Germany) “I discovered Rik through Man Down. It was the ending of the fourth episode when I was hooked by his unique energy. The funny thing is I knew him before that; having seen Jesus Christ Superstar and Blackadder. My professor who is from England (I live in Germany) knows that I am into British comedy and acting, so he would introduce me to loads of things. At some point a few yeas ago he sent me clips from The Young Ones too, at the time it didn’t speak to me at all! It’s strange, remembering that now! But I guess I have finally reached a point where I can get and completely love Rik’s work.
(US) “In the States, MTV started showing The Young Ones sometime around 86 I think. I thought it was brilliant. Years later, I happened to be in London and was fortunate to have seen Rik and Ade doing Bottom live”.
Watched The Young Ones when I was 5 and was hooked for life.
“I was introduced to Rik through the documentary on Gold about The Young Ones back in 2018, I was 14 not far off 15 at the time and hadn’t really seen the show before but I was instantly hooked and thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. They also played The Young Ones and Bottom episodes and BBC 4 showed the Lord of Misrule documentary around the same time. I just found myself in awe of this comic genius and wondered how I’d never heard of him or paid attention to his work before. I’ve been obsessed and in love with his work ever since and it has definitely had a big impact on my life. (Technically I was introduced to Rik when I was two via King Arthur’s Disasters, which I remember watching on weekend mornings and I did start watching Man Down near the end of 2017 but didn’t pay much attention to his character in it initially, though I did find him absolutely hilarious)”.
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