Calmer Chameleon

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

What’s On TV, 26th September 2001

Rik Mayall continues to surprise us with his unexpected career moves.

For someone who made his name in such anarchic shows as the Young Ones and The Comic Strip Presents back in the Eighties, Rik Mayall has turned into a surprisingly conventional actor.

Recently, he’s done more straight acting than comedy on tv β€” appearing in such mainstream shows such as The Bill and Jonathan Creek. And its a trend he continues this week with a role in Murder Rooms.

“I like that feeling of wrong-footing the audience slightly,”Rik admits. “Rather than play someone they know, or they’ve seen before, its good to be able to surprise them.”

In this, the final episode of Murder Rooms, Rik plays Lieutenant Daniel Blaney, who is thrown together with his old adversary, forensic surgeon Joseph Bell, to solve the murder of a prominent business man.

“The first attraction was the script, I was grabbed,” says Rik, 43. “I was trying to work out the ending all the way through. I couldn’t , which makes it perfect. There was also the attraction of filming in Scotland, where my wife Barbara is from.”

Barbara β€” his wife of 15 years β€” and their children Rosie,15, Sidney,13, and Bonnie, 5, are the most important part of Riks life.

They were devastated when 3 years ago he suffered serious head injuries after falling off his quad bike at the family’s Devon farmhouse. For a while it was touch and go whether he’d survive.

Not surprisingly, Rik has been changed by his accident. He’s much calmer and more appreciative these days.

“It’s made me realise how lucky I am to be alive and not to worry about little things any more like getting old or finding grey hairs.”

Not that he’s slowed down much. Apart from the two- month break he takes in the summer, his work schedule is packed. In October,he starts a nationwide tour of the hit show Bottom with his best pal and business partner Adrian Edmondson.

He could also be making a new series of The New Statesman. It’s been 10 years since he played the unscrupulous tory MP Alan B’stard, and Rik thinks it’s high time he returned.

“I’s very important that he does because he needs to bring down new Labour a peg or two,” he laughs. “His public need him.”