Rik Mayall Interviews and Articles Archive

The Pan Global Phenomenon in all his verbal glory.

Month: March, 2013

Daily Mail Interview

As he returns to TV in a Jonathan Creek  special, Rik Mayall reveals his bitterness  after his Young Ones chum Ade Edmondson suddenly pulled out of their latest project.

By Nicole Lampert for the Daily Mail, 22nd March 2013

Jesus wasn’t the only one to be resurrected  at Easter. Rik Mayall was too.

‘And as I was technically dead for five days  I beat our Lord Jesus 5-3,’ laughs the still outrageous comedian. It was the day  before Good Friday in April 1998 that Rik had a quad bike accident which left  him with a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain.

He was clinically ‘dead’ – being kept alive  by a life-support machine – for five days. On the sixth day the doctors told his  make-up artist wife Barbara they were going to switch the machine  off.

There was a slim chance his brain would  start working by itself, they told her, but they also warned her to say  goodbye.

But then the machine monitoring his brain  started beeping. ‘There was independent life in there,’ he says. That day is  still commemorated by Rik, his wife and their three children with an exchange of  presents. He’s not a person who likes to be serious for more than a few seconds,  but he is when he says, ‘The main difference between now and before my accident  is I’m just very glad to be alive.

Other people get moody in their forties and  fifties – men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just  really happy.’

The theme of resurrection has been on his  mind again lately. Up until a few weeks ago he believed his long-standing  working relationship with Adrian Edmondson was back on for the first time in a  decade as the pair worked on reviving their cult comedy series Bottom.

The duo – known as The Dangerous Brothers  because of their propensity for hitting each other over the head – found fame  after meeting at Manchester University.

Even when they were in The Young Ones in the  early 80s it was still very much the Rik and Ade show. But since Rik’s accident  they have worked on their own projects and, devastatingly, it appears that Ade  no longer wants the relationship to continue.

‘We started working on something and then we  realised why we’d stopped working together,’ Ade said recently of his decision  not to continue with Bottom. ‘Once you get to a certain age you want to do  things you really enjoy, not just things you can do.’

Rik tries to make a joke of it. ‘You want to  know about my bottom?’ he guffaws. But he can’t hide his disappointment that the  project has been scuppered.

‘The BBC came to us about reviving these  characters and we wrote two episodes in which we were really old b******s and  they were very funny and the BBC liked them,’ he says. ‘But then Ade changed his  mind.

‘He said we weren’t old enough – I said  that’s why it’s called acting. He wants to wait ten f*****g years until we’re  older, but I won’t be able to see or walk by then. I loved working with him. I  was on my knees laughing. But he wants to be a musician and he wants to talk  about walls in Yorkshire.’

Edmondson has written and presented several  documentaries about Britain lately, but Rik doesn’t appear to be a fan of his  more serious work. ‘I’ve watched, oh, minutes of those shows,’ he says.

‘When he’s not being serious about Yorkshire  walls he’s very funny. Especially when I’m beating him up. But good luck to him.  Anyway, let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about me,’ he says, grinning  maniacally.

We’re actually here to talk about yet  another  resurrection. While he’s done lots of theatre work over the past  few years, apart from a few adverts Rik has been absent from our TV screens. But  now he’s back with a show that itself appears to have risen from the ashes:  Jonathan Creek.

The gentle BBC comedy-drama, which stars Alan  Davies as the sleuth who specialises in supernatural mysteries, has been revived  for a one-off at Easter after nine years (although there have been a couple of  specials in between) by writer David Renwick. Jonathan Creek has always been  rather important to Rik.

He was front- runner to play Jonathan  originally, ‘but I was tragically unavailable’. Instead he played Detective  Inspector Gideon Pryke in the show’s 1998 Christmas Special – the first job he  took on after his accident.

He was still ill – ‘It was pretty dodgy for  a few years as they had to work out which pills I needed to be on to get the  blood to run through the brain’ – but he was back at work.

And now Gideon has been brought back,  although Rik is almost unrecognisable in the role. It was a bit of a joke for  David to make Rik, known for his often violent slapstick, play someone who in  this one-off episode has been paralysed from the neck down apart from his left  finger, which he uses to drive his wheelchair madly.

Gideon, it transpires, was hit by a sniper  while rescuing a puppy during a siege at the Chinese embassy. But Rik is up for  the challenge.

‘It’s fabulous to come back to this,’ he  says. ‘Gideon’s different from the other characters I play. I tend to play ego.  I’ve been well known for 32 years now and there’s an expectation, so it’s good  to confound that. And it was lovely to work with Nigel Planer again.’

Rik’s former Young Ones companion plays the  man whose mysterious death the detectives are investigating. ‘We only had one  scene together – it was just me and his severed head,’ says Rik. ‘But it was a  very good head; I wanted to take it home. The wardrobe department got cross with  me because I got fake blood all over my trousers.’

Jonathan Creek will be back for a series of  three episodes next year and Rik says he’d love to be a part of it. But for now  he’s rather pleased to be on at Easter. ‘Maybe it’s divine intervention,’ he  says mischievously.


Bottom TV show ‘back in a decade’

Belfast Telegraph, 5th march 2013

Rik Mayall has revealed the revival of his madcap cult show Bottom could finally happen – but not for another decade.

He and co-star Ade Edmondson were due to work on a comeback series called Hooligan’s Island last year but the plans were dropped within months.

However Rik, soon to be seen in the return of Jonathan Creek, said that in 10 years’ time they will have reached a ripe old age for the reunion.

The project was announced in August but by October it had been mothballed. Ade said at the time: “We started working on something and we realised why we stopped working together. It wasn’t working.”

Rik, who is 55 on Thursday, said that he hopes they will bring back their characters Richie and Eddie when they are reaching pensionable age.

Speaking about the cancellation, Rik explained: “Ade said ‘we’re not old enough’ (to bring Bottom back). I said ‘yes we are – it’s called acting’.

“He just put his foot down and said, ‘it’s not going to work mate.’ He wants to wait 10 years until we’re older.

Rik joked: “I won’t be able to see or hear or walk.”

The comedy star, who reprises his role as Gideon Pryke in this Easter’s BBC One Jonathan Creek special called The Clue Of The Savant’s Thumb, said Richie and Eddie would not be mellowing out in their old age.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Creek writer David Renwick said he has started working on a further three episodes, due to be filmed later this year.