20 Facts to Get You to the Bottom of Rik

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Harriet Mellor for Sun TV Super Guide, 28th January 1995

What a clown-and-out! Rik Mayall is almost unrecognisable as a bearded dosser in the new series of Rik Mayall Presents (Sunday, ITV, 9.45pm).

Rik, who also stars in BOTTOM (Friday, BBG2, 9pm), says: “Having to wear the beard was a drag. It had food in it all the time and I wasn’t allowed a trim.

The series starts tomorrow with Rik playing an estate agent who takes on a multimillionaire’s identity.

He romps in a Jacuzzi with stunning ex-model Saffron Burrows before bedding Phyllis Logan, who played upper-crust Lady Jane in Lovejoy.

Here are 20 things the TV Super Guide presents on Rik:

1 – His real name is Richard but he adopted Rik in his teens because he loved the comic strip, Erik The Viking.

2 – He puts his manic personality down to the tantrums he used to have as a child. He says: “I’ve learned how to control it but the potential to be self-centered is still there”

3 – He lost his confidence after critics panned his sitcom Filthy Rich And Catflap seven years ago and applied to train as a teacher. He says: “I stayed in for three weeks — I thought people would be pointing at me saying, ‘There’s that bloke that isn’t funny any more’.”

4 – Rik, who is 5ft 11in, has taken up jogging after his weight ballooned from around 12st to 14st over Christmas.

5 – Rik was accused of going berserk at a punk who insulted him in a London pub in 1988. It was alleged that he smashed a glass into the lad’s face, leaving him with a cut that needed four stitches. Rik, who claimed it was self-defence, said: “He went for me and fell over.”

6 – Rik was born in Harlow, W Essex, on March 7, 1959. His parents John and Gillian were drama teachers. Rik’s main childhood memory is of his older brother Anthony now a civil engineer, forcing him to eat worms.

7 – Rik sat the 11-plus exam at ten,. He says: “When I was at primary school I was top of the class and very brainy. Then I changed schools and suddenly the others were just as clever, if not cleverer. There was nothing I could excel in until I discovered acting.’

8 – The head of his primary school in Droitwich, Worcs, once slapped him for pulling faces during a carol concert. Rik says: “I was always showing off.”

9 – His partnership with Bottom co-star Ade Edmondson began when they shared digs while studying drama at ManChester University.

10 – After graduating, Rik spent a year working in a London factory during the day while he wrote plays at night with Ade. Rik says: “I was so broke I had to get off with girls to get a bed for the night.”

11 – Rik shot to fame as a spot squeezing student in The Young Ones in 1982. He wrote the series with Ben Elton and Lise Meyer. He says: “We based them on medical students we knew at Manchester. They were the wildest. most stupid and horrible people we knew”

12 – Ronnie Barker, one of Rik’s heroes, once told him he hated his humour. Rik says: “He was nice about it but he doesn’t think I’m funny. He said to me, “Why use all that foul language?'” Rik also admires Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson and Eric Morecambe.

13 – For seven years Rik dated lecturer’s daughter Lise Meyer, who is now seeing Angus Deayton. Friends thought they would wed after they brought a ҋ 200,000 house in North London.

14 – But Rik two-timed Lise when he fell for make-up artist Barbara Robbins, who applied his acne as comic character Kevin Turvy. Rik stunned Lise by feigning illness at a dinner party — and running off to marry Barbara on a clifftop in Barbados.

15 – He and Barbara persuaded Little Richard — the singer turned preacher — to baptise their daughter Rosemary, now eight, at top London restaurant L’Escarot. They also have a son Sidney, six.

16 – Reemployment Secretary Michael Portillo helped Rik to research his role as Tory MP Alan B’Stard for The New Statesman because the writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran lived in his constituency. Rik used a photo of former Tory chairman Norman Fowler to perfect his look as B’Stard. Rik says: “I couldn’t master those funny crinkles that Norman has. Then I had my hair parted on the other side and that was it”

17 – Rik formed a spoof heavy metal band called Bad News with Ade Edmondson and Nigel Planer. When the band played at the Reading festival in the mid-Eighties they got 400 bottles of urine hurled at them. Rik says: “It was more than anyone else. It was great.

18 – Rik, said to be a millionaire, lives with his family in a £ 300,000, four-bedroom house in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. He has had a studio built inside for Barbara, who is now a painter.

19 – Rik is a ‘news junkie’ and often watches all of the evening bulletins on TV.
*Editors Note – I don’t know what happened to number 20, it wasn’t on the original document*