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Subject: British Comedy: The Rik Mayall FAQ v1.43

This article was archived around: 26 May 2006 04:24:22 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: tv/british-comedy
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Archive-name: tv/british-comedy/rik-mayall Posting-Frequency: monthly Version: 1.43 URL: http://pobox.com/~brit-com/Comedy/Mayall.html
[ Sponsored in part by the BookPages Web site - if you're looking for any British book in print, they can get it for you! Take a look at http://www.bookpages.co.uk/ ] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Rik Mayall FAQ (v1.43) Last updated 25 July 1997 Created and updated by Andrew Wong (E-mail: brit-com@pobox.com) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contents: 1. Who is Rik Mayall? 2. Personal info 3. What's he done? o Television + Dangerous Brothers + The Young Ones + Bottom + The New Statesman + Blackadder 2 and 4 + Comic Strip Presents ... Bad News + Rik Mayall Presents... o Film (updated) o Video o Theatre (updated) o Live - 'Stand up' o Book 4. Other information, anecdotes (updated) 5. His agent 6. Contributions and thanks -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Who is Rik Mayall? ================== He is one of the best British comedic actors in the U.K., known especially for his brand of physical, violent yet comedic portrayals. He said himself once that he preferred to play characters that the audience hated. He's best known for his roles in The Young Ones, Bottom, The New Statesman and Rik Mayall Presents... -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Personal info ============= Born on 7 Match 1958 in a village called Matching Tye, from an early age he was interested in drama - his father ran the drama department in a teacher training college. He went to Kings School, Worcester (a privately funded "public" school). Despite getting DDN at A-Levels, he went to Manchester University at 17, and left at the age of 20 in 1978 with a 2:2 degree in Drama. While at Manchester, he met Adrian Edmondson and apparently the two of them went around together shouting "We're going to be stars!". He also won the Boris Karloff award for 'Most Outrageous Ham' at a student drama festival. Whilst there he, with Adrian Edmondson and three others formed an improvisational theatre company called 20th Century Coyote, which started out performing lunchtime theatre and shows entitled "Dead Funny", "Who Is Dick Treacle?" and "King Ron And His Nubile Daughter" Mayall toured the United States with the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company played Dromio of Syracuse in Comedy Of Errors for three months. On returning, picked up again with Edmondson, he producing occasional shows, while working most of a year in a foundry to try to clear his debts. They took one show, "Death On The Toilet", to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1979 and scored a hit, and subsequently took it to the Comic Strip in Soho. In the show, Mayall played both God and Death with Edmondson as a man called Edwin. They succeeded Hale and Pace at the Woolwich Tramshed, but since most of their work was, at this stage, deriving from Irish playwright Samuel Beckett's complex writings, it was largely unintelligible to most audiences. Trying a totally different tack, they created the manic Dangerous Brothers and, in addition, Rik developed a character who would recite truly awful poetry... During the Young Ones period (1980-1984), he was going out with co-writer Lise Meyer, but left her when she was pregnant for his current wife Barbara, who was a make-up artist. "He refuses to discuss it now, even to give his side of the story" (source: GQ magazine). He has three children with Barbara -- the third was born in 1995, and is named Bonnie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- What's he done? =============== Television The Dangerous Brothers ---------------------- Teaming up with Adrian Edmondson, this duo comedy act involved the Dangerous brothers (called Sir Adrian Dangerous and Sir Richard Dangerous, incidentally) doing, well, dangerous things. One of the programmes included The Dangerous Brothers present World of Danger (1985), now available from BBC Enterprises. The Young Ones -------------- This sitcom set around a group of students made him famous. As well [Rik] as co-writing it with Lise Meyer and Ben Elton, he also played 'Rik' - a middle-class student trying to be a left-wing radical while at the same time annoying everyone. Students of the 1990s would call him "sad". Two series of six episodes were made in 1982 and 1984. The Young Ones FAQ is available on the Web at http://pobox.com/~brit-com/Comedy/YoungOne.html Bottom ------ Some have called this the sequel to The Young Ones, in that it takes essentially the two main characters Rik and Vyvyan, updates them, changes their names and puts them together in a flat somewhere trying to get girls. Written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, three series have been made, as well as three stage tours. The script books are available from Bookpages at http://www.bookpages.co.uk The New Statesman ----------------- Rik is a radical right-wing Yorkshire Tory MP, always out to make a quick buck and a bang at the expense of anyone else. A heavy-handed political satire, that incited a national outrage when the programme accused Prince Charles of going out with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Luckily, it still manages to be funny. Produced by Yorkshire Television, there were four serials and a 90-minute special. It has won many awards including the International Emmy Award 1989, the BAFTA Best Comedy Series for 1990 and at the International Film & TV Festival of New York in January 1991, it was awarded the Special Craft Gold Medal for Best Perfomer and Narrator. A script book of the series is available of the series, ISBN number is 0 233 98797 5, written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, and published by Andre Deutsch. It's available from Bookpages at http://www.bookpages.co.uk Blackadder 1, 2, 4 ------------------ He's popped up in the various incarnations of Blackadder. He was "Mad Gerald" in Blackadder 1, a loopy chap no doubt. He was also Lord Flash-heart in Blackadder 2 (who stole 'Bob' from Blackadder's hand), and also one of many descendants at Lieutenant Flash-heart in Blackadder 4. The audio tapes of Blackadder are available from Bookpages at http://www.bookpages.co.uk Comic Strip Presents ... Bad News --------------------------------- Rik was part of a spoof rock band (a bit like Spinal Tap) called Bad News, which originated on the Comic Strip, but later became a "film" in its' own right. They released a couple of albums and two videos -- Bad News and More Bad News. Rik played Colin (I forget the surname) along with Ade Edmunson who played Vim Fuego, Nigel Planer who played Den Dennis, and one other band member called Spider. It sounds like they had great fun making the album "Bad News". As well as songs, there's quite a few funny talk parts, and songs such as "Cashing in on Christmas" and the excellent "Heavy Metal Farmer" ("heavy metal pig goes oink oink, heavy metal horse goes neigh, heavy metal cow gives me heavy metal milk, I see heavy metal animals all the day"). Rik Mayall Presents... ---------------------- A series of 1-hour TV films for Granada TV was broadcast in Easter 1993. The episodes were: * Micky Love: He plays a washed-out paranoid game show host * Briefest Encounter: Features Amanda Donohoe (the bi-sexual leather-jacket lawyer from LA Law, and Liar Liar), as a woman Rik picks up at a party and they go to her apartment. They both start thinking the other is a potential homicidal maniac... * Dancing Queen: with Rik as a rich Southern upper-class bloke on his stag night who meets a Yorkshire stripper with a vaguely Lancastrian accent played by Helena Bonaham-Carter when his friends put him on a one-way train to Scarborough.... Nice, warm, and rather romantic. This series was released on videotape by Granada Video in the UK, and was shown on Bravo in the USA. A second series of RIK MAYALL PRESENTS was shown in February 1995, which I unfortunately completely missed. These episodes included: * The Big One: Rik plays an estate agent who assumes the identity of a dead man. * Dirty Old Town: Rik is a tramp who, after an unfortunate accident, is mistaken for a hot new scriptwriter. * Clare De Lune: Rik is a widowed taxi driver who, with his daughter, is taken hostage by an attractive young lady. He has also appeared in: * Northern Lights, a 1981 BBC play with Judy Parfitt * A Kick up the Eighties as Kevin Turvey - BBC TV * Comic Strip Presents.... - series for Channel 4 * Filthy, Rich and Catflap - BBC TV * George's Marvellous Medicine for Jackanory (a BBC TV regular series where a guest star sits down and tells the children a story using pictures to accompany the reading), 5 episodes * The Frog Prince - The Absolute Truth - another Jackanory tale * Saturday Live as The Dangerous Brothers - LWT / CH 4 * Grimm Tales - Series 1 & 2, GRIMMS FAIRY TALES - Initial / Central TV * How to be a little sod (voiceover) * The Wind in the Willows (voiceover) * Wam Bam Strawberry Jam - a poetry series for children --------------------------- FILM ==== An American Werewolf in London (1981) ------------------------------ Infamous werewolf comedy/horror directed by John Landis. Rik is one of the Yorkshire yokels in the pub who warn of strange beasties out there... If this isn't available at your local video store, complain most vehemently! Shock Treatment (1981) --------------- This unsuccesful sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (wot, they made one ?!) had Rik in it as Ricki, a male nurse. Directed by Jim Sharman, it's available on CBS video in the UK. Drop Dead Fred (1991) -------------- This was his big Hollywood movie, starring opposite Phoebe Cates as her invisible childhood friend up to no general good. Produced by Working Title Films, it completely flopped. Some might say deservedly... (though through no fault of Rik) Mayall said in a Time Out interview "Mums complained that I had corrupted their sons and taught them to wipe bogeys on the furniture." Carry On Columbus (1992) ----------------- Rik had a cameo in this lamentable attempt to revive the Carry On movies. I think he was at the very beginning with Tony Slattery. Remember Me? (1997) ------------ In a farce from the writer of Clockwise, Rik plays a quietly desperate husband supported by his wife (Imelda Staunton). One day, old flame Mark (Robert Lindsay) arrives and turns their suburbia upside-down. Mark is on the run, the in-laws have arrived, the daughter has her boyfriend up in the bedroom. The mania ratchets up and things end, as they do, with Uzis at dawn near Chiswick. A Film Four production, this received a limited run at the National Film Theatre before being put on video. For more information, look at the Internet Movie Database's reference to it at http://uk.imdb.com/M/title-exact?Remember+Me%3F+(1997) Guest House Paradiso (unreleased) -------------------- Mayall is currently writing a film script with Adrian Edmondson, which will either be a "polished Peter Sellers-type Clouseau thing or Hope-Crosby-Marx Brothers stuff". He has also appeared in: * The Eye of The Needle (directed by Richard Marguant, available on Warner Home Video UK) * Couples and Robbers - a short film directed by Claire Peploe * Whoops Apocalypse as an SAS Commander, directed by Tom Busman (1986) * Little Noises as Mathius, for Monument Films * Eat The Rich (a Comic Strip film directed by Peter Richardson, 1987) * Little Noises (1991) * Horse Opera for Initial / Channel 4 productions * The Princess and the Goblin (1993 - voice only) * Bring me the Head of Mavis Davies (currently shooting, 1997) A more detailed filmography is available from the Internet Movie Database at http://uk.imdb.com/M/person-exact?Mayall%2C+Rik --------------------------- Video ===== * Kevin Turvey Investigates... - this is available in the USA from Movies Unlimited (1-800-4-Movies), costing US$30 * Three series of The New Statesman. This is also available in the USA from Movies Unlimited, costing US$60 per series set. * The Young Ones - available on two sets of two tapes. For more information, consult the Young Ones FAQ. * Bottom Live, the tape of their stage version of BOTTOM is available on PAL format via BBC Enterprises. * Bottom Live 2 - THE BIG NO.2 TOUR, the tape of their second stage version of Bottom. * Ultimate Bottom - the above two tapes on one compilation * Bottom Fluff - a collection of mistakes from shooting Bottom * Out of my head with Rik Mayall - a video about drugs and drug education, costing around ?13 --------------------------------- Theatre ======= * Bottom stage tour, with Adrian Edmondson from April to June 1993, and again in the autumn of 1995. * Man Equals Man as Uriah at the Manchester Contact Theatre * The Government Inspector as Khelstakov at the National Theatre * The Common Pursuit by Simon Gray (as Nick) at the Phoenix Theatre, London * Waiting for Godot as Vladimir at the Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave. * Cell Mates, with Stephen Fry, again written by Simon Gray, performed in February 1995 at the Albery Theatre, London. * Bottom: The Big No.2 Tour with Ade Edmondson, performed throughout the UK during Autumn 1995. * Bottom: Hooligans' Island with Ade Edmondson, performed throughout the UK during January 1997. He also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 1979 in a show called DEATH ON THE TOILET. He was charging ?1 to see it at the time. However, according to the Festival programme, it's written by Nanker Phelge (a pseudonym used by the Rolling Stones). In the programme, they write: "Twentieth Century Coyote Death on the Toilet by Nanker Phelge. Where will you be when the day of judgement comes? More to the point - what will you be doing? Hmmm. I don't know, but I'm changing my underwear regularly just in case. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if you died on the .. the er... um... it would be. And what happens when you get up there? I mean all the judging and that? Hmmm. I don't know, I only hope you can get legal aid." "More moving than All-Bran - " B Max. "An emotional laxative" - Marjorie Poops (agony aunt) "I ran out of paper" - The Times." And at another point in the program, it says :- "Phoenix Festival Co. - Liz - ...by the writers of our 1978 hit "The Young Ones" He also appeared as a character called Jeremy on a 1980s charity concert (perhaps The Secret Policemen?), attempting to put some place called Wallop on the map with Billy Connolly, John Cleese etc. He was taking off an old Vegas Elvis number but with different words in his Young Ones character. something like: I don't wipe my bottom when I go to the loo I'm rude to policeman, I pick my nose too there's no stopping me cos I'm bloody mad I smoke marijauna and I don't go to lectures Cos I'm evil - my middle name is Jeremy Yeah I'm evil so don't you mess arouuuuund with me! --------------------------- Live - 'Stand up' ================= in the U.K. and Australia. All tours were sold out. * Comic Strip UK 1982 * Kevin Turvey and Bastard Squad UK 1983 * Rik Mayall, Ben Elton and Andy De La Tour, Edinburgh Festival and UK Tour 1983 * Rik Mayall and Ben Elton UK 1984 * Rik Mayall and Ben Elton UK 1985 * Rik Mayall and Ben Elton Ibitha 1985 * Rik Mayall and Ben Elton Australia 1986 * Rik Mayall and Andy De La Tour UK 67 dates 1989 * Rik Mayall and Andy De La Tour UK March 2 weeks 1990 * Rik Mayall and Ben Elton UK June 1992 Also, in 1987 he and Ben Elton did a series of stand-up shows in Perth, Western Australia. According to Des Shaw, Managing Director of Triple M, a local FM radio station, the shows were at what used to be called Club 242 at the Leederville Hotel in West Perth. During this period, Rik & Ben also did a one-off evening radio slot at 96FM, during which they played Living Doll, and did quite a lot of funny stuff live in the studio. --------------------------- Books ===== [ Search for any British book with Bookpages - http://www.bookpages.co.uk ] Bachelor Boys:The Young Ones Book --------------------------------- It's a book written by the "gang" and contains tips on how to cheat in exams, how to spot a French exchange student, the joys on hitch- hiking, an interview with David Bowie, and nude shots of the boys, including Rik!! First published in 1984, it was last re-printed in 1989, though there was an Australian re-print in September 1993. The ISBN number is 0722157657, and was published by Sphere Books, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, UK. Unfortunately it's currently out of print, though Bookpages may be able to source an out-of-print copy for you. The New Statesman ----------------- A script book of the series is available of the series, written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, and published by Andre Deutsch. The ISBN number is 0233987975, and it's available from Bookpages at http://www.bookpages.co.uk Fat Chance by Simon Gray (ISBN no. 0571177921) ------------------------ This book concentrates on the behind-the-scenes activities during the rehersals and performances of the play Cell Mates by Simon Gray. While not about Rik Mayall, there are some interesting anecdotes concerning him, including the story of him being arrested in Covent Garden for pulling a cap gun on a couple of American tourists. The book is available from Bookpages. Didn't you kill my mother-in-law by Roger Wilmut and Peter Rosengard -------------------------------------------------------------------- As the book is subtitled "The Story of Alternative Comedy in Britain from The Comedy Store to Saturday Live", it's pretty much essential reading for anyone who's interested in The Young Ones, and how Rik Mayall (amongst others) got his start. It does make fascinating reading! Unfortunately, it's out of print, though Bookpages may be able to source an out-of-print copy for you, if you Email them at op@bookpages.co.uk ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other information ================= Apparently, on one of his stage stand-up appearances, he played a particularly obnoxious stage character, who was very "hard". In an attempt to prove how hard he was, he said how he liked to hurt children, and at one point said something along the lines of tempting children to go into fridges, whereupon he'd shut the door. Unfortunately, at one particular appearance, a local child had actually done this -- so upon hearing this line, the audience was not pleased. Mayall at this point, broke out of character, and said how sorry he was and didn't mean that bit. Rik starred with Stephen Fry in the play "Cell Mates" in 1995. Unfortunately, Stephen Fry made an abrupt departure from the play, and disappeared for a while which caused great headlines. Mayall himself refuses to talk about this period, apart from "I'm a friend of both Stephen and the writer Simon Gray, so I want to go on record that I don't want to take sides ... I know when I was being great, and I was when I was with Stephen." (quote taken from Time Out no.1404) During this time, an incident occured where Mayall ended up pulling a prop gun on a stranger in Covent Garden after one performance. An armed-response unit was in the area, and "an incident" could have ensued. Mayall said "It was a silly mistake. I said 'Do you want some of this, motherfucker?' and he told the police." (quote taken from Time Out no.1404), and he was asked to make a statement saying what a bad thing it was to carry replica guns. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- His agent ========= Aude Powell The Brunskill Management Limited Suite 8A 169 Queens Gate LONDON SW7 5EH Tel. (+44) (0) 171 584 8060 Fax. (+44) (0) 1768 881 850 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contributions and thanks ======================== All info taken from press releases and what I've read, with help from Sam Aitcheson, Chris Bone, Claire Rose, Steve Dowan, Joanna Ferrett, Graham Hawkins, Jennifer Huebl, Trudy Kamester, Jane Ledger, Greg O'Beirne, J. Doyle, Rich Johnston and Ryan Mooney. Interview quotes have been taken from an interview by Bruce Dessau for Time Out no. 1404. However all mistakes rest with me ! -------------------------------------- This file is on the Web at the British Comedy Library - http://pobox.com/~brit-com/Comedy/index.html, which also contains the Young Ones FAQ, the Adrian Edmondson FAQ or the Ben Elton FAQ. More Web information on Rik Mayall is available from the Internet Movie Database at http://uk.imdb.com/M/person-exact?Mayall%2C+Rik, and The Times Internet Edition at http://www.the-times.co.uk If you want any British items, I may be able to buy them for you - if it makes life easier, I can also accept American currency... Please contact me for more details. You can throw your comments, brickbats, additions and bouquets via E-mail to brit-com@pobox.com, or take a look at my Web page at http://pobox.com/~achwong/index.html Finally, this FAQ is postcard-ware i.e. if you really liked it then I would appreciate a postcard from you! The address is: 10 Gerllan, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9DE, UNITED KINGDOM My name is Andrew Wong, thank you and goodnight...