You Ask the Questions: Rik Mayall

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

The Independant, 5th December 2001

(Such as: so, Rik Mayall, who’s funnier, you or Ade Edmondson? And why have you been peddling the same joke for 25 years?)

Rik Mayallwas born in Essex in 1958. He studied drama at Manchester University, where he met Adrian Edmondson, with whom he was to form an enduring comedy partnership.

After graduating Mayall co-wrote and starred in A Kick Up The Eighties, but it was his role as Rick in the Eighties cult comedy The Young Ones, which he co-wrote with Ben Elton, that made him a household name. Since then he has appeared in many of Britain’s best-loved TV-comedy programmes, including The New Statesman, The Comic Strip Presents, Blackadder and Bottom. His film credits include Drop Dead Fred and Carry On Columbus. In April 1998, Mayall suffered severe brain hoemorrhaging and a fractured skull when he fell from his quad-bike on his Devon farm. He has since made a full recovery.

Mayall is married with three children and divides his time between Homes in Notting Hill, London and Devon.

What would you describe as your greatest comedy success and disaster? Nicholas E Gough, Swindon

a) My oeuvre. b) I don’t have them.

What are your memories of that horrific quad bike accident? Stella Cordon, by e-mail

Mainly hordes of fabulous young nurses at the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (highly Recommended).

In the Thatcher Eighties you had a success with Alan B’stard. If you were playing a similar part now what would you call him/her? Duncan Graham, by e-mail

He is called Adonis Cnut and I’m writing the show with the same writers behind Alan B’stard at the moment. It’s called Believe Nothing and it’s going to be fantastic.

What’s your response to critics who say that you’ve spent the past 25 years peddling one joke? Carla Mills, London


Did your involvement with Cliff Richard (‘Living Doll’, 1986) influence your views on the ageing process? Nicholas E Gough, Swindon

He is my hero. Don’t be snide.

I am reading the second Harry Potter book and I keep seeing you as Gilderoy Lockhart. I just found out that Ken Branagh will be playing the part. Ugh! How could they? I like your brand of ham much better than his. Was the part ever in the offing for you to do it? Davanna Kilgore, Ozona, Florida

Here’s a good question. Everyone I know keeps saying that I should play Gilderoy and yeah, I’d eat that with both pants. Even the wife says I am him. I was in the first one for about a month, but ended up on the cutting room floor. So maybe my relationship with the producers is a bit too much on the wobbly side.

You have worked with Ade Edmondson for nearly a quarter of a century. What is it that makes this relationship so successful and, who’s funnier? S Forsyth, Cardiff

No, no… It’s exactly 26 years and three months this Christmas (PS Me).

You make me laugh. Who makes you laugh? Simon Montague, by e-mail

Spike, obviously. Stan & Ollie. The Great Tommy Cooper, Viv Stanshall. But no one as much as Ade.

What was the inspiration for Richie and Eddie in Bottom? Simone Lloyd, by e-mail

The rent.