Mayall’s Tales

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

For What’s On TV, 15th – 21st May 1993

From a loud and lewd game-show host to a smooth-talking party gatecrasher, Rik Mayall turns on the talent for his new series.

The grey hair is carefully coiffured and the paunch sits snugly in his waistcoat. Micky Love bounces down the steps of a TV studio set grinning from ear to ear, looking every inch the debonair game-show host.

Yet, look just a bit closer and you’ll see a vaguely manic look that could only belong to Rik Mayall, former Young One, current New Statesman and one half of Bottom.

‘My character, Micky, is not based on one particular game-show host, he’s a little bit of all the ones I’ve ever seen,’ says the 35-year-old actor. ‘I’ve been doing the research for him all my life. I still see game shows now and then, although I don’t exactly rush home to catch them.’

Rik plays the ageing game-show host in the first of three comedy films (written specially for him) called Rik Mayall Presents. In the second film, Briefest Encounter, he plays a gatecrasher at a party and in the third, Dancing Queen, he portrays a guy on his stag night.

But it’s as Mickey Love that Rik really comes into his own. Charming yet tacky, Micky is an allround entertainer who thinks his popular show, Family Values, is under threat when he overhears a conversation between his bosses. The truth is, his TV company is secretly compiling a tribute to him to be shown on their Time Of Their Life programme.

Rik stopped at nothing to make sure he looked the part of Micky. He had his dark locks dyed grey, then went on a diet of doughnuts and beer to build up a paunch.

‘My hair was coloured for about two months and I put on a stone and a half during filming,’ says Rik, who is currently touring Britain with Ade Edmondson in a stage version of their cult BBC2 comedy series, Bottom. ‘My children, Rosie, six, and Sid, four, thought my weight gain was really funny. But my wife, Barbara, wasn’t quite so keen.’

Rik didn’t have to go to the same lengths to look the part for Briefest Encounter. He plays Greg, a smooth-talking gatecrasher who strikes lucky with beautiful party guest Siobhan, played by former LA Lawstar Amanda Donohoe. ‘Kissing Amanda was a nightmare!’ laughs Rik with a definite twinkle in his eye. ‘I mean, can you imagine having to kiss someone like her? It was just appalling, but I somehow managed it. Plus we had to do two weeks of rehearsals – in a suite at the Hilton!’