Rik: I Owe it All to Ade

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

For Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail, 18th July 1997

Rik Mayall could have been mucking out instead of mucking about.

Madcap comedian Rik Mayall could have ended up as a farmer – if it hadn’t been for his encounters with lusty girls and Adrian Edmondson.

Rik and Ade’s anarchic partnership was formed when they met as students at Manchester University 22 years ago.

The pair now have a string of hit TV comedies to their credit and Rik is about to grace the big screen in the new movies, Remember Me? and the black comedy Bring Me The Head of Mavis Davis.

Yet if Rik had concentrated on swotting instead of snogging, he would never have met Ade and the world would have been spared from the comedy mayhem of The Young Ones and Bottom.

Rik, 39, revealed: “I only went to Manchester University because I screwed up my exams.

“I was too busy snogging – but don’t tell my mother – on the banks of the River Severn.

“So I only got two Cs and an E from my A Levels, which wasn’t good enough for entrance to university.

“But luckily for me, everyone had messed up their exams, it was a great summer back in 1975 and we were all at it. So they had university places to fill and I was admitted to Manchester because I’d done a good interview.” Once he got there Rik immediately formed a bond with Ade, who he thought was the hippest guy on campus.

Rik said: “Ade had long hair, John Lennon glasses and ripped jeans before anyone else had thought of them. He had the girls queuing up and I reckoned he was cool and I wanted to be his pal.

“All that I’ve done since then is because of meeting Ade. If he hadn’t been there, there wouldn’t have been any Young Ones or Bottom. I probably wouldn’t even have gone into showbiz.

“Instead I would have been a teacher or a farmer.”

And Rik reckons that it would be a nightmare if that friendship with Ade ever ended.

He added: “Outside of anything that affected my family, that really would be the worst thing that could happen.

“Ade and I have been through so much together and we bring out the best in each other.

“If we were to fall out I couldn’t even think of how to start another relationship like this one.”

The duo are now planning their next move, after completing a gruelling three- month stage tour of their Bottom comedy.

Rik said: “We are supposed to be writing new material right now, but I’m not sure what we will do next.

“Ade wants to write a film, but I don’t think it should be a big-screen version of Bottom. I haven’t seen a single successful transfer of a British TV comedy to a film.

“So I reckon we should do a Rik and Ade movie because there must be a way of getting our really upfront, violent, sudden, joyful humour on to the big screen.”

Rik’s days as a Young One are now long gone. He is married to former make-up artist Barbara, has three children, is going grey and turns 40 next year.

He said: “Most of the people I grew up with are older than me, Ade turned 40 in January, so I have seen them all go through that birthday.

“I’ve been going to 40th birthday parties for three or four years and, as you know, boys do really Roman things at these parties.

“So I think that now I’m ready for 40.”

Rik, who already has a number of big screen appearance behind him, including Drop Dead Fred, stars as a blond pop manager in Bring Me The Head of Mavis Davis.

His character decides that he’ll make a fortune and sell more records if his star singer – played by Ab Fab’s Jane Horrocks — was dead.

Rik said: “He decides to stage a tragic death for Mavis Davis and get ready for the money to pour in.”

But while he comes across as a nutter on telly, Rik is a family man who prefers to keep his children away from the limelight.

He said: “My kids went to the same school as Sinead O’Connor’s son.

“And when I went to the sports day I was just being ordinary Rik.

“I saw a photographer and went over to have a word because I didn’t want the day spoiled.

“As I was asking him to go away he told me to move because he was trying to take a picture of Sinead!”