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 and across different generations. In this second one, we continue with fans telling us how they discovered and fell in love with the work of Rik Mayall:
“My first memory was as a 9 year old living in Canada watching The Young Ones. I thought the socks crawling into the washing machine pleading was hilarious.
I got to see him in The New Statesman in Manchester years ago. We do miss our Rik”.
“I truly can’t remember an exact time, he was always part of my childhood. It helped that my parents raised me on The Young Ones, and me and friends bonded over Bottom, Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso. Our house stopped to watch him, and still does”.
“Must have been around 9 and watched The Young Ones on BBC2, then not long after I did buy a video tape of the show and Kevin Turvey from the local market. Wasn’t really until Bottom came out that I was a bit older and could truly appreciate his work”.
“Kevin Turvey was my first recollection…. “Today we are investigating leaves” Spoken in his Brummie accent”.
“I remember the first time I saw Kevin Turvey and laughed so hard, but truly fell in love with Rik when I heard him recite his poem ‘Theatre’… but I don’t know Vanessa Redgrave! Pure genius and such a loss for all those of us who loved him”.
“Think my first memory was of Kevin Turvey, then The Young Ones and Comic Strip Presents and from then on I needed to watch anything he was in. Even the Nintendo ads he did!”
(Belgium) “I watched and loved Bottom (aired with Dutch Subs on our channels) as a teen (in the 90’s), was a total Blackadder geek at Uni in my early twenties (00’s), but I never put a name to the actor (or realised Flash & Richie were played by the same guy) until I had to read a paper on Cliff Richard’s Living Doll for a cultural studies class (2007). Looked up the song and found The Young Ones version, watched every episode. Then looked up the cast, and it clicked. Rewatched Bottom, finding it so odd that I thought this long-haired weirdo had something sexy. Went to a media store and found The New Statesman box set. The Sexy made sense now! Fell head over heels. Found a fan website (by an American girl) that had every interview and clip of Rik ever made. Joined her forum and found a sister forum as well. Made loads of friends online who all loved Rik between 07-08. Time of my life. This was during and just after his last New Statesman stage tour, with loads of stage door pics turning up every day. Caught his honorary doctorate ceremony live (!!), still have the screen recording up on my Facebook somewhere. Then it sort of petered out… until that news report (yep also on Belgian telly) in June 2014… Cried for days… I visited the bench in Hammersmith, 17th November 2014. One of those knickers is mine. What a legend. And I do miss the Rik fan community we had going on in the age of Message Boards”.
“I stayed up late at a friends house to watch The Young Ones. Well past bedtime! I was utterly enthralled with Rik, the un-rebellious rebel. In an already packed show he stood out as the one to watch. And I never stopped…”
“I was allowed to watch The Young Ones when it first aired on UK Telly (1982 on BBC2)… I was 8… I wanted to be Rik from that day onwards…”
US – I was in search of British comedy, I’m a fan of Ab Fab. I knew Adrian Edmondson was married to Jennifer Saunders and a comedian too. I searched YouTube and found The Young Ones, Bottom, The Dangerous Brothers etc. I watch Bottom fluffs every night to ease my anxiety from Covid and Trump!
“A mate had the Kevin Turvey video. Absolute genius”.
“Word of mouth, everyone was talking about it at school, exchanging VHS tapes etc…”
“Kevin Turvey, A Kick up the 80’s. I’d have been 14 thought that it was such genius comedy, followed him through The Young Ones and The Comic Strip. I’m the only one I know who loved Filthy Rich and Catflap. I remember having arguments telling people to stop thinking it was more Young Ones”.
“In 2005 I used to watch a kids show called King Arthur’s Disasters, Rik voice acted as the main character in that show and at the time I only knew his voice and not his name until much later, I was 4 or 5 I think when I watched it. I also saw a few other of his voice over roles like his Spongebob character and the Andrex puppy. Over time I then learned of the film Drop Dead Fred but in August of 2017 I saw the Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture Ben Elton gave. There were clips of The Young Ones and Bottom featured and that’s what got me into watching those shows and most of the rest of Rik’s work. I eventually learned that he was also the man from that old King Arthur cartoon, it felt like he was “always there”, hearing that familiar voice in those kids show roles before knowing the name behind it all. The more shows I watched the more interested I became, with each character I learnt about or each show or interview I would learn something new about him (Being Northern Irish, learning that he was part Irish was nice to know). I got back into writing poetry and I’ve written a few tribute ones about him. I even started writing my own comedy monologues in the summer of 2018, I also recorded myself reenacting his “Theatre” poem about Vanessa Redgrave. I still adore him to this day and he is a massive inspiration/influence both when it comes to performing/entertaining but also generally via learning from his mantras. Since 2017 I have met most of my current online friends because of our love for Britcom and Rik’s work and I will forever be thankful for that”.
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