Will the Real Rik Mayall Please Stand Up!

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Jane Bawden for What’s On TV, 28th January – 3rd February 1995

Rik Mayall is a man of many parts. He calls himself a ‘blank canvas waiting to take on an identity’.

He’s played a pretentious student in The Young Ones, an outrageous flatmate in Bottom, and sleazy MP Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman.

And, this week, Rik, 37, returns to TV to play the first of three more contrasting characters in his latest trilogy of dramas, Rik Mayall Presents.

‘One of my hobbies is people-watching,’ says Rik, who lives in west London with his wife Barbara and children Rosie ad Sid, ‘ I love to sit outside a cafe watching people go by. I use things that I see in different characters that I play.’

In this week’s drama, The Big Ones, Rik plays Louis, a compulsive liar who takes the identity of a dead gangster and falls for two women (Saffron Burrows and Phyllis Logan).

In next week’s one, Dirty Old Town, he plays Raymond, a down-and-out who is mistaken for a scriptwriter after an accident and, in the third week’s drama, Clair de Lune, Rik is a minicab driver who becomes involved with a mysterious woman.

‘The Big One is funny, Dirty Old Town is tragic and Clair de Lune is romantic,’ says Rik. ‘Each role is completely different.’

Like the last series, Rik is supported by a host of TV stars, including the Crystal Maze’s Ed Tudor-Pole and Serena Scott Thomas, star of Diana: Her True Story.

‘It helps working with actors of their calibre,’ says Rik, who will shortly be changing direction again when he appears with Stephen Fry in Cell Mates at London’s Albery Theatre.

‘I just like lots of change,’ he explains. ‘I don’t like to do the same thing over and over again.’