Few people have had such a colossal impact on Mr. Wapojif’s brain as Rik Mayall. Ever since I was a wee one Mayall’s berserk, loveable rogue antics kept Mr. Wapojif, and many millions, massively entertained. Mr. Wapojif particularly remembers watching the final few minutes of the Bottom episode Culture on the BBC in 1992. In this iconic series Richie and Eddie, two loveably deranged and unemployable losers (adapted from Mayall and comedy partner Ade Edmondson’s West End theatre run in Waiting For Godot), are playing chess in their London flat. Richie doesn’t get it, loses his temper, and punches Eddie in the face. Carnage unfolds as the two beat the crap out of each other. For Mr. Wapojif’s young brain, this was hysterical.
Bottom wasn’t/isn’t for everyone (it’s not something The Royal Family spent their afternoons enjoying, probably, and stuffy upper class folk were no doubt perplexed beyond belief and/or disgusted), but it was hugely popular amongst those who “got” it. Then there’s The Young Ones (which Rik co-wrote with Ben Elton and Lise Mayer – he starred as the moronic student Rick) from the early ‘80s, which set about a new wave of alternative comedy. Mayall also appeared in the legendary Blackadder and The New Statesman, as well as having a dig at films (like Drop Dead Fred).
It was an immense shock hearing of his sudden death yesterday aged 56, so today we honour his legacy with a collection of some of his finest (and maddest) moments over the years. He was a real star, with the added X Factor, a distinctive voice, incredible energy, brilliant acting, and a penchant for profanity. A true legend, and he’ll be greatly missed.
Whilst critics of the show suggested it was puerile, the writing was also exceptional at its peak. They captured the squalor of poverty and unemployment as well as Orwell and Bukowski.
The fight scene which made me a Bottom fan for life.
Slapstick violence was a regular part of the show.
The legendary turn as Lord Flashheart, from the second series of Blackadder.
The Young Ones
The Young Ones, back in the early ’80s.
Mayall was also a cast member for Comic Strip Presents on Channel 4, a show which helped launch Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. This was a 1998 reunion of sorts.
The New Statesman
A scene from The New Statesman, where Mayall played corrupt politician Alan B’stard.
Mayall’s bloopers were hugely popular with the audience and are a fitting way to remember him by.