Rik Mayall Interviews and Articles Archive

The Pan Global Phenomenon in all his verbal glory.

Category: 2013

Man Down – Interviews With Greg Davies And Rik Mayall

Channel 4 Press, 25th October 2013.

GREG DAVIES

Your new series is Man Down. What’s it all about?

I suppose it’s about a man lost at sea. Well I don’t really want to say it’s about a teacher as it isn’t really. He happens to be a teacher because I was a teacher but it’s just about a silly man who’s never quite managed to grow up and his equally ridiculous friends. I suppose it’s about somebody being trapped in a cycle. It’s a story of a man whose own behaviour holds him back but he’s incapable of changing.

A lot of people’s material is, in some way, autobiographical. Is that the case, in any way, with Man Down?

I think it’s hugely autobiographical yes because I was a very unhappy teacher for a long time – for 13 years and I think I’ve mined that period which felt like a directionless period. I mean obviously I had an awful lot of fun and I hope that’s where the fun in this show comes from watching a man disintegrate a little bit as a lot of us do in our lives at some point. ‘Directionless’ is the best way I can think to say it. That’s what happens to this silly man who prioritises the wrong things so it’s autobiographical in the sense that I did have a period where I was all over the place really. I didn’t really get very far but you know I had a lot of fun! Please don’t think it’s a depressing piece it’s not, it’s just silly.

You were a teacher in a former career – did that make it easier inhabiting the roles of Dan and Mr Gilbert?

I think being a teacher helped me to play Dan because he’s the sort of a person who’s in the wrong job and I had a lot of fun when I was teaching but I was never…I wasn’t a very organised or thorough teacher. I think probably the kids who I taught will agree that we probably had quite a lot of fun but I’m not sure how much I really taught them. It’s more about that he has to get through it. You’ll see from the lessons in the show we show one of his lessons every episode and they’re just terrible.

What did you used to teach?

Drama so it’s the same. The school that we filmed at was the school that I taught at. That was my classroom the one that’s in the show is my classroom.

How was that?

Weird! Like therapy

A lot of dramas and comedies seem to revolve around schools and teachers. Why do you think that is?

I suppose because all human life is there in a school I think that’s probably why. School resonates with everyone – teachers resonate with everyone because we all did it didn’t we, we all went to school. It’s one of the few things that unites everybody is that we were all there so I guess that’s why.

What was it like filming with the children? Did you find yourself reverting back to teacher mode?

A little bit when they got tired I found myself cocking an eyebrow and someone in the crew, when I told them all to be quiet and stand against a wall once, went “you’ve still got it”. But they were lovely kids, they will do great. They were far more focussed and mature than me during the shoot. Incredibly ambitious 11 year olds.

How many of them were there?

30 I think we had. Well I used to teach 30 an hour when I was teaching so it was easy peasy and they were so willing, they were so up for it – it was great. Some of my favourite scenes were in the school but most of the sitcom isn’t in the school and we have one scene with the kids and then the rest of it is all set outside.

Do you like the character of Dan? Is that important when you’re playing a role?

I do like him as he’s so close to how I was – I mean he’s not – he’s a grossly exaggerated version and I think he’s incredibly selfish and irritating but I hope there’s a fundamental kindness to him. He’s just quite sad; he’s quite a sad character really. In every episode he tried to change and he just picks the wrong way of doing it. In every episode he thinks – my life will get better if I do this thing but you know straight away

when he picks it, no that won’t make it better. I think in every episode from the get go the audience are told this is going to end badly and it does! There are no secrets it will end badly so if you watch the first two minutes of one of our shows and think “oh god this doesn’t look like it will end well…” no it will end horribly!

Does it feel different when you’re filming a show that you’ve written and created?

Yes it feels far more frightening.

Is it more stressful?

Yes it is, oh my god it’s so much more stressful.  I sort of can’t think about it for very long or my head will explode. I thought it was enough to put my head about the parapet doing stand-up comedy 10 years ago but when you’re then offering up a series and saying this has come out of my brain as well as me being the main character in it, it’s er and incredible act of ego mania really. Hopefully, I mean the other characters are so brilliant and they brought them to life so well I hope that there’s something for everyone in there.

How does the writing process work? Do you have a set routine?

I think it works for different people in different ways. For me, the way it works is I would stumble out of bed and I stay in my pants all day in my flat then I’d fall asleep then I’d write for five minutes then I would fall asleep again then I would have to go outside, go for a walk then I’ll come back and have a massive meal then fall asleep again and I’ll eat eight packets of biscuits and go to bed. The next day I’ll get up again have a shower, play on video games watch some tele, fall asleep on the sofa, write a bit more – are you getting the gist? There’s no pattern to it whatsoever. If you were in my flat when I was writing this, if people had put cameras I think anyone who watched half an hour of that footage I’d be put into an institution. I poured a kettle on the floor during the writing process. I made myself a cup of tea and I spilt a little thimble full on my trousers and I was so stressed that I couldn’t break the back of this episode that I just emptied the whole kettle on the floor of my flat like a nutter! But I did feel better for it although it was an act of madness it released the pressure.

You cast Rik Mayall as your dad. Was that the easiest bit of casting in TV history?

It was easy in that I thought before I’d  even started writing the sitcom wouldn’t it be amazing if Rik Mayall was my dad because I’ve been compared to him for the last 10 years and of course he’s one of my comedy heroes. It was a fantasy casting in my head before I’d even started writing it and then to find out he was interested was beyond exciting. I mean I didn’t used to look like him. It seems in the last 10 years I’ve morphed into him for some reason so it seemed an obvious thing and then he came into meet me and I knew straight away that we’d have a great time together and we have.

Had you ever met or worked together before?

No, no. He gave me a hug and that was his opener. Just straight in with a hug it was lovely and I knew this is my dad even though, as I’m sure Twitter will go mental with pointing it out that he’s only 10 years older than me. Here’s a pre-twitter message to you all I fucking know get over it – it’s a comedy.

A couple of last questions now and the first one I wanted to ask about is ‘beef’ – where has this come from?

Ah yes. There’s an episode where my character goes to a running club and there’s this extraordinary running mentor played by Ramon Tikaram and he motivates all the runners and Ramon is brilliant playing the character. When he’s motivating people just in the background of all those scenes we had someone screaming the word ‘beef’. I don’t know why. I wrote it in the script because it made me laugh and I can’t tell you why it made me laugh but because it made us laugh on the set with someone screaming beef…When you spend an intense amount of time together as we all have as a crew it just became an expression for everything. Whenever someone shouts ‘beef’ everyone will respond ‘beef’

When you were filming did you often find then that you would crack up and laugh a lot?

Yes I thought it was really good fun to shoot we had a brilliant, lovely crew. Sometimes it doesn’t work 35/40 people together to try and make something creative, what are the chances of it clicking but it really did click with this group. I don’t think you’d meet anyone who’d tell you we didn’t have fun. There was a lot of laughing on set and I just hope that transfers to the screen.

Final question, what’s next for you?

Well I’m doing a stand up tour, I’m sort of half way through a stand up tour. I started it earlier in the year and then thank god Channel 4 said I could make this series so the tour was shelved until the Autumn then I’ll finish the tour off in the Autumn. I’m promoting this and I’m doing the rest of my tour then I’ll do some deep breathing and have a break. I’m having the best time I’ll tell you that! Everyone has been so great on Man Down.

RIK MAYALL

Your latest project is Man Down tell us about your character?

I was first attracted to the part through Greg who I’ve always admired and thought was great because he is. Then the pilot came up last year and I had a spare week and he was looking for a psycho to attack him so I thought this looks lovely. And that was always one of the dreams of my life is to beat the shit out of Greg Davis and of course he is my love child  – as many people are aware – we look like each other. I’m grown up now and I’ve been hunting for angles to sort of express the age I am now and here was a lovely one! To be a dad, I mean I’m a dad and I’m somewhere in my fifties but I’ve always wanted to do something a little more grown up. To have this particularly peculiar dad who’s in unusual circumstances because his son is so grown up. Greg and I had the same rhythm so we worked well together and he’s a great writer so the script excited me.

So the character of dad has a habit of showing his love in slightly unconventional ways?

Yes I think that’s the best way to describe it. If I was to give away the gags the audience may fail to be surprised when they saw them. I think they should watch it because surprise is one of his hobbies.

So you’ve been working for over 30 years do you still have the same hunger for it?

Yes I adore it, it’s my life it’s what I do. It’s always been the passion and I adore it, it’s my everything. As you know a big chunk of my art came to a holt when my partner Adrian decided to give up comedy and we’d done Bottom and The Young Ones and stuff but now I’m in my fifties and I want to work out what I’m going to do for the next 25 years so this is the next chapter. This character is very Rik Mayall and it’s what the punters would expect as I think the essence of my work is that I’ve always taken the mick out of myself.

Have you done any other parts where you’ve had a beard?

No that I’m aware of, well there was the mutton chops that I had for some very good adverts that I did for Bombardier beer and of course Lord Flashheart from Blackadder but that was blond and it was really more like a moustache and sideburns. This time though my beard has come out white – something’s happened over the last couple of years where my hair’s gone white!

Has there ever been a character you’ve played that you’ve either loved or hated?

Hmm no because if I’ve ever had trouble with a character then I’d wrench him and stretch him and fix him, it’s like car if you’re very good at cars – some blokes like to beat up old cars that don’t work so they can fix them. Also in doing that you can make it into a good character who you can use and work with so no I don’t have a character that I’ve hated. Occasionally there might have been ones that I haven’t been able to tinker with correctly but then if that’s the case I would ask can I do this and change that. Sometimes people say no and so I continue to talk to them until they realise why they should say yes to me.

Is that what you like to do  – really invest in the character or feel like you know the character and feel like you’ve put a lot into it yourself?

In order to live in contemporary life I have to submerse aspects of my own character in order to live because I like excitement, I like exploring and I like adventure and that’s what acting is. I don’t have to go to war say or assassinate presidents because I can do that in acting. It allows me to experience things you might not get to otherwise. My parents gave me an upbringing that was full of permission with care and my dad gave me a taste for life

How do you think comedy has changed over the 39 years you’ve been working?

I think it’s become less theatrical which I miss. I always like a studio audience. I like all forms of entertainment and that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy filming with a camera without an audience because the thing is I know how techniques work and I know if you want to get a laugh in a big theatre you do it in a different way than if you’ve got a camera right up close just looking at your two eyes and your mouth. I understand the disciplines and I’m good at my job. I mean it’s a different era. I don’t think for example that the audience are quite so amazed by the shock of something these days, in a theatrical sense say because everything can be done a computer. Another example twelve years ago Adrian and I wrote another series of Bottom and took it to the BBC and they said no it’s too violent so we took it on the road and changed it in a live show. I think these days obviously there’s a lot more restrictions in place than there might have been.

Have you got any further ambitions?

Yes I would like this series to be a success so that it gets another series and another. I would really like the opportunity to explore the character of Greg’s dad fully.

Rik Mayall to play dad of Inbetweeners star Greg Davies in new Channel 4 sitcom

By Jack Seale, www.radiotimes.com 28th May 2013

Davies will appear alongside his comedy godfather in teacher-com Man Down, which he has also written

It’s impossible to watch Greg Davies without thinking of Rik Mayall: Davies’ bulging eyes, dancing nostrils and menacing air all owe a debt to the star of Bottom and The Young Ones.

Greg Davies looks like Rik Mayall. Greg Davies sounds like Rik Mayall. So who could play Greg Davies’ dad in a sitcom? How about Rik Mayall?

Mayall – who, admittedly, is only 10 years older than Davies – has indeed been cast in Man Down, a new Channel 4 series.

Written by Davies and based on his own experiences as a teacher – which he also drew on to play the sadistic Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners – Man Down is about an educator who hates his job. It starts shooting soon, directed by Matt Lipsey (Psychoville).

Rik Mayall to play Greg Davies’ dad

From www.chortle.co.uk 29th May 2013

Young One signs up for C4 sitcom

He’s often described himself as looking like a ‘fat Rik Mayall’… and now comedian Greg Davies will play the Young One’s son in a new Channel 4 sitcom.

Mayall has been cast in Davies’s semi-autobiographical sitcom, Man Down, about a disillusioned teacher and ‘childish idiot trapped in an adult’s life’.

The casting is hardly flattering for Mayall, who at 55 is ten years older than Davies, but he joked: ‘It means I impregnated someone when I was 12, and that’s pretty rock and roll.’

Mayall took part in a pilot episode in November but has now been confirmed for the full series, which is set to start filming soon.

‘I’m desperate to bring back Bottom but Ade isn’t’: Rik Mayall’s back on TV but without his pal

By Nicola Methven for the Daily Mirror
30th March 2013

A spin-off called Hooligan’s Island featuring hopeless Richie and Eddie was written and due to begin filming when Ade got cold feet.

Their partnership in the 1980s made them one of the big comedy duos.

And Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson have been best friends since meeting at university 38 years ago.

But the pair, who became household names in anarchic sitcom The Young Ones, have had a falling out.

And Rik, 55, is struggling to get over it.

The problem arose after they were ­commissioned to bring back their 90s slapstick comedy Bottom for a new series on BBC2.

A spin-off called Hooligan’s Island featuring the same hopeless characters, Richie and Eddie, was all written and due to begin filming when Ade, 56, got cold feet and scrapped the entire project.

Rik shrugs: “I thought it would be fun and Ade thought it would be fun but then he had a change of heart. It’s a shame.

“Of course, I f***ing tried to persuade him to change his mind. But if he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to.”

He adds: “I’m desperate to do it. I thought it would be lovely to have them in a different situation and being much older.

“Ade said we weren’t old enough to be mad old b******s – but if we leave it another 10 years, how the f*** are we going to do anything?”

The dad-of-three knew where he wanted to take his character, Richie Rich.

“I’ve always loved Wilfred Bramble, who played Steptoe, I wanted to play him like that,” he sighs.

“But I think Ade thought we shouldn’t repeat what we’d done.”

Although they may have had something of a rift now, Ade was one of the first at hospital 15 years ago when Rik was nearly crushed to death by his 600lb quad bike.

He suffered a fractured skull and severe haemorrhaging and spent five days on a ventilator showing zero signs of life.

The comic actor now makes light of the trauma at his Devon farm.

“I beat Jesus Christ,” he laughs. “He was dead for three days at Easter.

“When I crashed it was the day before Good Friday, Crap Thursday, and I was technically dead until Easter Monday – that’s five days.

“Jesus was nailed up on Friday and came to on Easter day. I beat him 5-3.”

The accident happened just after he had turned 40 and doctors told his wife to say her final goodbyes.

Rik says: “They had one of those screens with a line going across showing there was nothing going on in here [points to his head]. Beeeeeeep.

“So they say to Barbara, my wife, ‘he’s been dead for five days, it seems like a waste of time so if there’s no sign of life, we’ll unplug him in an hour’.

“They left Barb with me and just before 5pm, the machine suddenly went beep, beep and she called the doctors and said, ‘look, he’s not dead’.

“I don’t know if the doctors had said it really loudly to scare the s**t out of me but it worked.”

Rik met Barbara, a make-up artist, while working on a show for BBC Scotland.

She quickly became pregnant with their eldest daughter Rosie, now 26, and, after they got married in Barbados, they went on to have Sid, 24 and Bonnie, 19.

Post-accident, after a six month recuperation, the first acting job Rik secured was in Jonathan Creek, playing Gideon Pryke.

So it’s fitting that, a decade and a half on, he’s returning – and, poignantly for him, the BBC1 show goes out on Easter Monday.

He is thrilled to be back as Pryke, and indebted to writer David Renwick.

“Once every century I like to appear in Jonathan Creek.

“Inevitably I’m still a sex god,” he jokes. “A mature and experienced sex god.”

Pryke too has suffered a few changes – for a start he’s in a wheelchair.

In the plot he joins Sheridan Smith’s character Joey, and Alan Davies as Creek, to investigate strange goings on.

One of the guest stars is Joanna Lumley, and Rik is also joined by former Young Ones pal Nigel Planer, who plays Lumley’s husband.

“In the last one I was fully able bodied. A young, sex-god of a detective,” Rik explains.

“He’s very enigmatic, very clever and intelligent – you can imagine what a stretch that was for me. Ha!”

He finds it interesting his crash happened on a quad bike and now Pryke is also riding around on a piece of machinery with wheels.

Sadly, he hasn’t got much better at driving.

He admits: “I took out an actor playing a cop.” Rik is now in talks to play the father of Inbetweeners teacher Greg Davies in a sitcom.

But Davies is 44, so Mayall must age to be convincing as his dad.

But he chuckles: “It means I impregnated someone when I was 12, and that’s pretty rock and roll.”

Devon star Rik Mayall in Jonathan Creek

By the Plymouth Herald
28th March 2013

“SO WHY did you cast Rik as Pryke?” the alternative comedian shoots at  Jonathan Creek writer David Renwick.

“It would be hard to re-cast after you played him the first time around…”  comes Renwick’s reply.

Indeed it would – it’s fair to say that Rik Mayall is one of a kind. And  Pryke was the first role he took, after his near-death quad bike accident in  April 1998.

Before then, he’d been keeping busy with West End roles and voiceover work,  having enjoyed a successful couple of decades in comedy.

Mayall rose to prominence with his stage partner Ade Edmondson at London’s  Comedy Store in the early Eighties, then went on to play conceited student and  card-carrying Cliff Richard fan Rick in the BBC’s iconic series The Young  Ones.

Edmondson and Mayall reunited as barbaric flatmates Richie and Eddie in  violence-riddled comedy Bottom – and more recently in The Comic Strip Presents:  Five Go To Rehab on Gold.

But Mayall’s accident, which landed him in intensive care, almost ended  everything.

“The accident was over Easter and as you know, Jesus our Lord was nailed to  the cross on Good Friday,” recounts Mayall, who refers to himself in the third  person throughout the interview.

“The day before that is Crap Thursday, and that’s the day Rik Mayall died.  And then he was dead on Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday until Bank Holiday  Monday.

“I’d been medically dead for all of those days and the doctors said to my  wife Barbara, ‘OK we’ve kept him alive for five days now and there’s no sign of  any independent life’.

“There’s a little screen next to me with a dead line and the doctor said, ‘If  there’s any sign of life within the next hour we’ll keep him plugged up but if  not, we’ll take the plugs out and let him die’.

“So Barbara is sitting next to me going, ‘Come on, die you b**tard, I want  the money’. But sure enough, during the hour, this line went ‘bleep… bleep’  and he started showing signs of independent life.

“So I came back to life. I was dead for five days over Easter, which means  2000 years later, I beat Jesus Christ 5-3.”

Laughter is never far from Mayall. And even though reprising his Jonathan  Creek role brings his horrific mishap back to mind, the Drop Dead Fred actor  remains chipper.

“Jonathan Creek was the first job I got after that accident,” he says. “This  is why this episode is being shown over Easter – it’s for the public  really!”

He enjoys the challenge of playing a good guy. “I tend to always play ego…  I’ve been well-known for 32 years and there’s an expectation there and it’s  always good to confound that,” Mayall explains.

Pryke, who  now uses a mobility scooter to get around, may be temperate but  Mayall himself is far from Mr Modest.

“This time around it was interesting that I should have been given a part of  someone who is disabled,” he says. “The quad bike only had three wheels, Pryke’s  had six wheels, so that’s twice the risk of death, and I risked it.”

Rik Mayall interview: Jonathan Creek, Bottom, Hooligan’s Island & more.

By Rachel Bowles for http://www.denofgeek.com
28th March, 2013

We spoke to the inimitable Rik Mayall about his return to Jonathan Creek, the scrapped Bottom reunion, and why he is Jesus.

Just a word of warning for the faint-hearted. Before you proceed, the following interview contains some, ahem, colourful language from Dr the Rik Mayall, a pan-global phenomenon, and the only one of his kind…

(Oh, and any TV, film, radio or theatre writers reading this, there’s an open talent call at the end, so have your business cards at the ready).

This is your return to Jonathan Creek as the formidable DI Gideon Pryke.
The very first time I was offered Gideon Pryke was straight after Blair assassinated me, when I fell off my quad bike…’fell off’ my quad bike. I was medically dead for five days, this was the day before Good Friday before Easter. 2000 years after Jesus.

(nervous laughter)
Oh you can laugh, but I am the son of God. That’s what Jesus said, ‘You can laugh!’

So on the fifth day you rose again.
Don’t try and squash this, I was dead for five days and Jesus was dead for three. I went down on Crap Thursday which is the day before Good Friday. So from Crap Thursday to bank holiday Monday, can you imagine that? A bank holiday, there is nothing weirder than that, try telling that to the bankrupt. So I beat Jesus 5-3 and I became the new Jesus. No I can’t say that, there has only ever been one Jesus. Gideon Pryke was the first role I took after that so it was quite a job to do that, but I think I did a brilliant job, I really like the character, honestly. In The Black Canary he wasn’t really interested in people, he was just interested in the crime and I think that very quietly he was a bit of a c*nt with a small ‘c’. A very small ‘c’.  I think he has quite a crush on Sheridan’s character Joey in this new episode, I mean who hasn’t? He takes an interest in Joey very early on but it’s also to do with the plot, it is such an impossible mystery. I am not being sycophantic but I think David has written a fantastic piece. It is such an interweaving plot. You just think ‘What the fuck is going on?’

Were you really medically dead for five days? Have you fully recovered?
Oh yeah. I died. Which is fantastic because I have died already, I have been there and come back. I am completely recovered thank you. I wanted to do a live tour and tell people about how great Rik Mayall is. Did I tell you I was given a doctorate?

No?
You didn’t know this? I was given a doctorate, awarded a doctorate. Other people get their fucking Baftas, but Exeter University, which is a fucking difficult university to get into… you need to find a really good map, no I mean it is a really brainy place and only the top brainies go there and not just naughty children. Right out of the blue they awarded me this doctorate; I thought ‘This is nice!’ a doctorate of literature for writing thousands of knob jokes. So I am now ‘Dr The Rik Mayall’ a pan-global phenomenon.

Talking about thousands of knob jokes….
What is the number that is a bigger than a billion?

A trillion
Okay what is the number that is bigger than a trillion?

Septillion?
Is that a fact?

There is a number called septillion but that is probably seven times more, so there must be something before that.
Decatrilion?

Quadrillion?
Quadrillion!… okay so a quadrillion, what was it?

Knob jokes.
(Laughs) ok so speaking of my quadrillion knob jokes, or the knob joke that I have told a quadrillion times in so many different ways.

Is Bottom going to be returning, can you elaborate on that?
I promised myself I wouldn’t today because I want to talk about….what’s it called again?

Jonathan Creek!
I want to talk about Jonathan Creek. Yes I am completely recovered thank you!

You’re dodging the question!
Yes with my skills at dodging. So I was having a wank this morning…

So is Bottom coming back? There have been a lot of rumours on Twitter.

In simple terms, I phoned Ade and said ‘Hey why don’t we do Bottom but have it as older blokes’ and it got called Hooligan’s Island which I wasn’t so keen on because we have used that title, I think it was just a working title at the time but the BBC snapped it up they said alright write a couple of episodes and see if you get anything. I did and Ade thought we weren’t old enough and I wanted us to be older like…dammit who played Alfred Steptoe, who played the old Steptoe, William Bramble? Wilfred Bramble! I wanted us to be like that, crumbling old shits and crumbling old nasties and Ade said we’re not old enough and that we should do it in ten years. I said that in ten fucking years I won’t be able to think, the two brain cells I have left will not work! There is a fucking thing called acting and something called makeup but he said ‘No I don’t think we’re old enough!’

On the other hand it is very exciting being in your mid-fifties, people are, personally I am not, but people can be very bitter in their fifties. People get the blues in their forties, like the male menopause. I missed most of that because I was…

Dead?
Yeah I was dead!! Also I was stuck in recovery. Me and Ade did a couple of Bottom tours and I have done various telly and films so things are pretty okay. Of course by the time I was fifty I wasn’t unhappy at all but baddies have got to be motivated and I have always liked playing baddies or idiots or bastards! You can stretch further out into playing something straighter but I have always loved Anthony Hopkins, I would have quite liked some of his roles please!

Did you want Hitchcock?
Err no, I was thinking more of Hannibal Lecter. He is very rich though, and he does it without my vanity.

What are you doing next?
There has been an offer of a sitcom which will be completely different where I play someone’s dad, so we will have a look at the script. There’s a very naughty thing that I promised I wouldn’t say today, it is very naughty and has been very quietly released. It is called The Last Hurrah, it is released on CD which I wrote with a couple of bad men from Cornwall called Craig Green and Dominic Vince. It sounds very nice but I play a snowman called Elton and I don’t think that’s going to be going out on the normal channels. He is immortal, he has lived forever, he knew Hannibal and Adolf, and he knew them all and has been everywhere. There is a gentleman’s drinking club in London called The Last Hurrah which has been there for five hundred years and no one has been able to find it. We made the CD down in Plymouth and no one really knows about it so I am hoping it gets its own cult, rather than me announcing it to the national press, which I haven’t done!

Just going back to Jonathan Creek
But I am supposed to be talking about Jonathan Creek, of course!

Do you get given the whole script when you’re filming, or are some of the twists or reveals held back from the actors?
I know the whole thing, I think you have to. It depends on the kind of actor you are too. Everything that you can possibly think out, Pryke already has thought out so he is more interested in what other people think, but it is such a dense plot, it is very stimulating right until the very end, and I was surprised by the ending. It is a real page turner; it could have been a novel. Also can I just say what fun it was to do again, that is a really pathetic show biz thing to say but it really was fun working with David, he is a fucking good director.

Nigel Planer is in this episode…
Yes I meant to say that!

Did you get to share screen time with him in this?
I got to share a lot of dressing room time with him. He is such an animal; he nearly put my back out three or four times. It was lovely seeing Nige, we didn’t get to share a lot of screen time, we saw each other a lot on the set and I laughed so much with him. I see him in normal life anyway but it was so nice. I would love to do something with Nige again. Get someone who is reading this to have an idea and write a film or a play or a sitcom for me and Ade and Nige. That would be a good idea, what I would like to have is writers, I want some writers who can stimulate the part of my brain that hasn’t been touched yet. I would love to do more on the stage, having actual contact with the audience is great. You can give them a good seeing to!

And on that note, Rik Mayall, thank you very much!

Daily Mail Interview

As he returns to TV in a Jonathan Creek  special, Rik Mayall reveals his bitterness  after his Young Ones chum Ade Edmondson suddenly pulled out of their latest project.

By Nicole Lampert for the Daily Mail, 22nd March 2013

Jesus wasn’t the only one to be resurrected  at Easter. Rik Mayall was too.

‘And as I was technically dead for five days  I beat our Lord Jesus 5-3,’ laughs the still outrageous comedian. It was the day  before Good Friday in April 1998 that Rik had a quad bike accident which left  him with a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain.

He was clinically ‘dead’ – being kept alive  by a life-support machine – for five days. On the sixth day the doctors told his  make-up artist wife Barbara they were going to switch the machine  off.

There was a slim chance his brain would  start working by itself, they told her, but they also warned her to say  goodbye.

But then the machine monitoring his brain  started beeping. ‘There was independent life in there,’ he says. That day is  still commemorated by Rik, his wife and their three children with an exchange of  presents. He’s not a person who likes to be serious for more than a few seconds,  but he is when he says, ‘The main difference between now and before my accident  is I’m just very glad to be alive.

Other people get moody in their forties and  fifties – men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just  really happy.’

The theme of resurrection has been on his  mind again lately. Up until a few weeks ago he believed his long-standing  working relationship with Adrian Edmondson was back on for the first time in a  decade as the pair worked on reviving their cult comedy series Bottom.

The duo – known as The Dangerous Brothers  because of their propensity for hitting each other over the head – found fame  after meeting at Manchester University.

Even when they were in The Young Ones in the  early 80s it was still very much the Rik and Ade show. But since Rik’s accident  they have worked on their own projects and, devastatingly, it appears that Ade  no longer wants the relationship to continue.

‘We started working on something and then we  realised why we’d stopped working together,’ Ade said recently of his decision  not to continue with Bottom. ‘Once you get to a certain age you want to do  things you really enjoy, not just things you can do.’

Rik tries to make a joke of it. ‘You want to  know about my bottom?’ he guffaws. But he can’t hide his disappointment that the  project has been scuppered.

‘The BBC came to us about reviving these  characters and we wrote two episodes in which we were really old b******s and  they were very funny and the BBC liked them,’ he says. ‘But then Ade changed his  mind.

‘He said we weren’t old enough – I said  that’s why it’s called acting. He wants to wait ten f*****g years until we’re  older, but I won’t be able to see or walk by then. I loved working with him. I  was on my knees laughing. But he wants to be a musician and he wants to talk  about walls in Yorkshire.’

Edmondson has written and presented several  documentaries about Britain lately, but Rik doesn’t appear to be a fan of his  more serious work. ‘I’ve watched, oh, minutes of those shows,’ he says.

‘When he’s not being serious about Yorkshire  walls he’s very funny. Especially when I’m beating him up. But good luck to him.  Anyway, let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about me,’ he says, grinning  maniacally.

We’re actually here to talk about yet  another  resurrection. While he’s done lots of theatre work over the past  few years, apart from a few adverts Rik has been absent from our TV screens. But  now he’s back with a show that itself appears to have risen from the ashes:  Jonathan Creek.

The gentle BBC comedy-drama, which stars Alan  Davies as the sleuth who specialises in supernatural mysteries, has been revived  for a one-off at Easter after nine years (although there have been a couple of  specials in between) by writer David Renwick. Jonathan Creek has always been  rather important to Rik.

He was front- runner to play Jonathan  originally, ‘but I was tragically unavailable’. Instead he played Detective  Inspector Gideon Pryke in the show’s 1998 Christmas Special – the first job he  took on after his accident.

He was still ill – ‘It was pretty dodgy for  a few years as they had to work out which pills I needed to be on to get the  blood to run through the brain’ – but he was back at work.

And now Gideon has been brought back,  although Rik is almost unrecognisable in the role. It was a bit of a joke for  David to make Rik, known for his often violent slapstick, play someone who in  this one-off episode has been paralysed from the neck down apart from his left  finger, which he uses to drive his wheelchair madly.

Gideon, it transpires, was hit by a sniper  while rescuing a puppy during a siege at the Chinese embassy. But Rik is up for  the challenge.

‘It’s fabulous to come back to this,’ he  says. ‘Gideon’s different from the other characters I play. I tend to play ego.  I’ve been well known for 32 years now and there’s an expectation, so it’s good  to confound that. And it was lovely to work with Nigel Planer again.’

Rik’s former Young Ones companion plays the  man whose mysterious death the detectives are investigating. ‘We only had one  scene together – it was just me and his severed head,’ says Rik. ‘But it was a  very good head; I wanted to take it home. The wardrobe department got cross with  me because I got fake blood all over my trousers.’

Jonathan Creek will be back for a series of  three episodes next year and Rik says he’d love to be a part of it. But for now  he’s rather pleased to be on at Easter. ‘Maybe it’s divine intervention,’ he  says mischievously.

Bottom TV show ‘back in a decade’

Belfast Telegraph, 5th march 2013

Rik Mayall has revealed the revival of his madcap cult show Bottom could finally happen – but not for another decade.

He and co-star Ade Edmondson were due to work on a comeback series called Hooligan’s Island last year but the plans were dropped within months.

However Rik, soon to be seen in the return of Jonathan Creek, said that in 10 years’ time they will have reached a ripe old age for the reunion.

The project was announced in August but by October it had been mothballed. Ade said at the time: “We started working on something and we realised why we stopped working together. It wasn’t working.”

Rik, who is 55 on Thursday, said that he hopes they will bring back their characters Richie and Eddie when they are reaching pensionable age.

Speaking about the cancellation, Rik explained: “Ade said ‘we’re not old enough’ (to bring Bottom back). I said ‘yes we are – it’s called acting’.

“He just put his foot down and said, ‘it’s not going to work mate.’ He wants to wait 10 years until we’re older.

Rik joked: “I won’t be able to see or hear or walk.”

The comedy star, who reprises his role as Gideon Pryke in this Easter’s BBC One Jonathan Creek special called The Clue Of The Savant’s Thumb, said Richie and Eddie would not be mellowing out in their old age.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Creek writer David Renwick said he has started working on a further three episodes, due to be filmed later this year.

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