by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog
By Sally Brockway for What’s On TV, 13th-19th July 2002
How death defying Rik Mayall made it back to our screens as the most attractive man in Britain….
Don’t get us wrong. Rik Mayall did want to talk to What’s On TV when we met up with him on the set of his new sitcom. But he still groaned when he missed yet another England goal in their World Cup clash with Denmark.
‘Not another one,’ moans Rik, as a roar goes up from the next room where his co-stars in ITV1’s Believe Nothing are watching the match. ‘I missed the first two goals when filming overran, and now this. It might never happen again. I hope you’re grateful,’ he jokes.
But despite all the swearing, Rik is happy to chat about his latest screen characterProfessor Adonis Cnut. ‘I looked up Adonis in the dictionary. It literally means “beautiful man”, says Rik, preening his hair and grinning. ‘Adonis is irresistible to women and the cleverest person in Britain. You might even say that I was typecast. In fact, I’m getting more and more like him as time goes on!’
The new six-part comedy is set in the slightly skewed world of Oxford academia where nothing is quite as it seems. The series also stars Michael Maloney as Adonis’s faithful servant, and Emily Bruni as the only woman capable of resisting his charms.
This is 44-year-old Rik’s first TV series since he narrowly escaped death four years ago after a horrific quad bike accident at his Devon farm. He suffered a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage. Doctors warned his wife Barbara that Rik could die from the injuries, but, miraculously, he managed to make a complete recovery.
‘I think by doing a live tour of Bottom, I’ve more than proved that I can still do the job,’ says Rik, who starred alongside Adrian Edmondson in the BBC2 comedy. ‘I do worry about making mistakes, and I’m very careful about the work I choose. But nothing has changed. There are no ill effects and I still remember lines just as well.
‘The only reminder of the accident is that I have to take pills — it’s something you have to do when you’ve had a brain injury. And unfortunately I can’t drink alcohol any more.
‘I know that’s no big deal when you’ve been on the brink of death and pulled through, but I do miss waking up in the morning with a hangover.
‘It’s been difficult during the World Cup. It would have been nice to watch the matches in a pub with a beer. In fact, it would have been nice to watch the matches, full stop! When I get home, my son will say, “What did you think of the goals, Dad?” And I’ll have to say, “I didn’t see them!”‘