There will be a lot of you who will probably have no idea who I am writing about. But today Rik Mayall died, and I am devastated. He was my hero, the man who made me laugh louder than anyone, with the sole exception of my Torn-Apart and my boys. He was completely mad, a huge breath of fresh air after the British sit-com culture of the seventies. Along with his best friend Ade Edmondson, he exploded on our television screens in the early eighties, and won the heart of every teenager. The Young Ones was anarchic, rude, chaotic and hand over face horrifyingly dreadful at times. But any of us from that period can quote the script by heart.
The charity single he and the rest of the cast performed with Cliff Richard was wickedly awful, but I can’t hear the original of Living Doll any more without expecting the shouty chorus!! His series The New Statesman, in which he played a highly ambitious and ruthless Tory M.P. was all the funnier due to its almost perfectly accurate depiction of many a real life member of parliament. And his role as Lord Flasheart in the brilliant Blackadder series was sublime!!
As with a lot of successful comedy actors, the frantic gurning he employed belied a really handsome man. He always reminded me in some strange way of my Torn-Apart, which may be why I actually cried at the news of his death. In 1998 he had a near fatal quad bike accident, and as a result of the head injuries sustained, he suffered from fits, and it is suspected that this may have been the cause of his death today. He was only 56. British comedy will never be the same. Without him, it would have spluttered to an end a long, long time ago.
R.I.P. Rik Mayall