Mayall Tells of Epilepsy Battle

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Luisa Metcalfe for The Daily Telegraph, 29th July 1999

RIK MAYALL, the comic actor, will have to take medication for the rest of his life to stave off the chances of life-threatening seizures after a serious head injury last year.

The star of such television programmes as The Young Ones, Bottom and Blackadder had an epileptic seizure in February after he got “bored” taking the pills. Mayall, 41, who is currently narrating the new pre-school children’s television show Jellikins, said: “There was a little relapse, only a little one. If you smack your head there’s a chance you might get epilepsy, a seizure, and I did.”

Mayall had an accident on a quad bike at his home in Devon in April last year which left him with serious injuries and in a coma for several days. Mayall remembers nothing of the accident but he said that he was now feeling “very good”.

He said: “I was supposed to take pills for a year until I knew it was safe, but I took them until Christmas and I got a bit bored.” He suffered a seizure while doing the voice-over for an educational programme. Thankfully, I bit my tongue. That’s the worst thing, if you have a seizure and you swallow your tongue, you’re a goner.”

His tongue had recovered sufficiently after six weeks to carry on working, but he now must continue with the treatment indefinitely. “I just keep having to take the medication, but it has no side-effects, which is great. I was very lucky. If the worst I have to do is take a couple of pills at bedtime, it could have been a lot worse.”

Mayall does all the voices for the animated series Jellikins, on which he worked both before and after the accident. The series is to be screened every Saturday at 6.50am on GMTV, starting this weekend. Mayall was particularly pleased with the show which has a cast of jelly characters.

He said: “There’s a whole world where these people can fall out of trees and not even hurt themselves.” He said it was a great antidote to imported American shows for children which contained more realistic violence.