Rik Mayall Interviews and Articles Archive

The Pan Global Phenomenon in all his verbal glory.

Month: April, 2013

‘I’m desperate to bring back Bottom but Ade isn’t’: Rik Mayall’s back on TV but without his pal

By Nicola Methven for the Daily Mirror
30th March 2013

A spin-off called Hooligan’s Island featuring hopeless Richie and Eddie was written and due to begin filming when Ade got cold feet.

Their partnership in the 1980s made them one of the big comedy duos.

And Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson have been best friends since meeting at university 38 years ago.

But the pair, who became household names in anarchic sitcom The Young Ones, have had a falling out.

And Rik, 55, is struggling to get over it.

The problem arose after they were ­commissioned to bring back their 90s slapstick comedy Bottom for a new series on BBC2.

A spin-off called Hooligan’s Island featuring the same hopeless characters, Richie and Eddie, was all written and due to begin filming when Ade, 56, got cold feet and scrapped the entire project.

Rik shrugs: “I thought it would be fun and Ade thought it would be fun but then he had a change of heart. It’s a shame.

“Of course, I f***ing tried to persuade him to change his mind. But if he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to.”

He adds: “I’m desperate to do it. I thought it would be lovely to have them in a different situation and being much older.

“Ade said we weren’t old enough to be mad old b******s – but if we leave it another 10 years, how the f*** are we going to do anything?”

The dad-of-three knew where he wanted to take his character, Richie Rich.

“I’ve always loved Wilfred Bramble, who played Steptoe, I wanted to play him like that,” he sighs.

“But I think Ade thought we shouldn’t repeat what we’d done.”

Although they may have had something of a rift now, Ade was one of the first at hospital 15 years ago when Rik was nearly crushed to death by his 600lb quad bike.

He suffered a fractured skull and severe haemorrhaging and spent five days on a ventilator showing zero signs of life.

The comic actor now makes light of the trauma at his Devon farm.

“I beat Jesus Christ,” he laughs. “He was dead for three days at Easter.

“When I crashed it was the day before Good Friday, Crap Thursday, and I was technically dead until Easter Monday – that’s five days.

“Jesus was nailed up on Friday and came to on Easter day. I beat him 5-3.”

The accident happened just after he had turned 40 and doctors told his wife to say her final goodbyes.

Rik says: “They had one of those screens with a line going across showing there was nothing going on in here [points to his head]. Beeeeeeep.

“So they say to Barbara, my wife, ‘he’s been dead for five days, it seems like a waste of time so if there’s no sign of life, we’ll unplug him in an hour’.

“They left Barb with me and just before 5pm, the machine suddenly went beep, beep and she called the doctors and said, ‘look, he’s not dead’.

“I don’t know if the doctors had said it really loudly to scare the s**t out of me but it worked.”

Rik met Barbara, a make-up artist, while working on a show for BBC Scotland.

She quickly became pregnant with their eldest daughter Rosie, now 26, and, after they got married in Barbados, they went on to have Sid, 24 and Bonnie, 19.

Post-accident, after a six month recuperation, the first acting job Rik secured was in Jonathan Creek, playing Gideon Pryke.

So it’s fitting that, a decade and a half on, he’s returning – and, poignantly for him, the BBC1 show goes out on Easter Monday.

He is thrilled to be back as Pryke, and indebted to writer David Renwick.

“Once every century I like to appear in Jonathan Creek.

“Inevitably I’m still a sex god,” he jokes. “A mature and experienced sex god.”

Pryke too has suffered a few changes – for a start he’s in a wheelchair.

In the plot he joins Sheridan Smith’s character Joey, and Alan Davies as Creek, to investigate strange goings on.

One of the guest stars is Joanna Lumley, and Rik is also joined by former Young Ones pal Nigel Planer, who plays Lumley’s husband.

“In the last one I was fully able bodied. A young, sex-god of a detective,” Rik explains.

“He’s very enigmatic, very clever and intelligent – you can imagine what a stretch that was for me. Ha!”

He finds it interesting his crash happened on a quad bike and now Pryke is also riding around on a piece of machinery with wheels.

Sadly, he hasn’t got much better at driving.

He admits: “I took out an actor playing a cop.” Rik is now in talks to play the father of Inbetweeners teacher Greg Davies in a sitcom.

But Davies is 44, so Mayall must age to be convincing as his dad.

But he chuckles: “It means I impregnated someone when I was 12, and that’s pretty rock and roll.”


Devon star Rik Mayall in Jonathan Creek

By the Plymouth Herald
28th March 2013

“SO WHY did you cast Rik as Pryke?” the alternative comedian shoots at  Jonathan Creek writer David Renwick.

“It would be hard to re-cast after you played him the first time around…”  comes Renwick’s reply.

Indeed it would – it’s fair to say that Rik Mayall is one of a kind. And  Pryke was the first role he took, after his near-death quad bike accident in  April 1998.

Before then, he’d been keeping busy with West End roles and voiceover work,  having enjoyed a successful couple of decades in comedy.

Mayall rose to prominence with his stage partner Ade Edmondson at London’s  Comedy Store in the early Eighties, then went on to play conceited student and  card-carrying Cliff Richard fan Rick in the BBC’s iconic series The Young  Ones.

Edmondson and Mayall reunited as barbaric flatmates Richie and Eddie in  violence-riddled comedy Bottom – and more recently in The Comic Strip Presents:  Five Go To Rehab on Gold.

But Mayall’s accident, which landed him in intensive care, almost ended  everything.

“The accident was over Easter and as you know, Jesus our Lord was nailed to  the cross on Good Friday,” recounts Mayall, who refers to himself in the third  person throughout the interview.

“The day before that is Crap Thursday, and that’s the day Rik Mayall died.  And then he was dead on Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday until Bank Holiday  Monday.

“I’d been medically dead for all of those days and the doctors said to my  wife Barbara, ‘OK we’ve kept him alive for five days now and there’s no sign of  any independent life’.

“There’s a little screen next to me with a dead line and the doctor said, ‘If  there’s any sign of life within the next hour we’ll keep him plugged up but if  not, we’ll take the plugs out and let him die’.

“So Barbara is sitting next to me going, ‘Come on, die you b**tard, I want  the money’. But sure enough, during the hour, this line went ‘bleep… bleep’  and he started showing signs of independent life.

“So I came back to life. I was dead for five days over Easter, which means  2000 years later, I beat Jesus Christ 5-3.”

Laughter is never far from Mayall. And even though reprising his Jonathan  Creek role brings his horrific mishap back to mind, the Drop Dead Fred actor  remains chipper.

“Jonathan Creek was the first job I got after that accident,” he says. “This  is why this episode is being shown over Easter – it’s for the public  really!”

He enjoys the challenge of playing a good guy. “I tend to always play ego…  I’ve been well-known for 32 years and there’s an expectation there and it’s  always good to confound that,” Mayall explains.

Pryke, who  now uses a mobility scooter to get around, may be temperate but  Mayall himself is far from Mr Modest.

“This time around it was interesting that I should have been given a part of  someone who is disabled,” he says. “The quad bike only had three wheels, Pryke’s  had six wheels, so that’s twice the risk of death, and I risked it.”

Rik Mayall interview: Jonathan Creek, Bottom, Hooligan’s Island & more.

By Rachel Bowles for http://www.denofgeek.com
28th March, 2013

We spoke to the inimitable Rik Mayall about his return to Jonathan Creek, the scrapped Bottom reunion, and why he is Jesus.

Just a word of warning for the faint-hearted. Before you proceed, the following interview contains some, ahem, colourful language from Dr the Rik Mayall, a pan-global phenomenon, and the only one of his kind…

(Oh, and any TV, film, radio or theatre writers reading this, there’s an open talent call at the end, so have your business cards at the ready).

This is your return to Jonathan Creek as the formidable DI Gideon Pryke.
The very first time I was offered Gideon Pryke was straight after Blair assassinated me, when I fell off my quad bike…’fell off’ my quad bike. I was medically dead for five days, this was the day before Good Friday before Easter. 2000 years after Jesus.

(nervous laughter)
Oh you can laugh, but I am the son of God. That’s what Jesus said, ‘You can laugh!’

So on the fifth day you rose again.
Don’t try and squash this, I was dead for five days and Jesus was dead for three. I went down on Crap Thursday which is the day before Good Friday. So from Crap Thursday to bank holiday Monday, can you imagine that? A bank holiday, there is nothing weirder than that, try telling that to the bankrupt. So I beat Jesus 5-3 and I became the new Jesus. No I can’t say that, there has only ever been one Jesus. Gideon Pryke was the first role I took after that so it was quite a job to do that, but I think I did a brilliant job, I really like the character, honestly. In The Black Canary he wasn’t really interested in people, he was just interested in the crime and I think that very quietly he was a bit of a c*nt with a small ‘c’. A very small ‘c’.  I think he has quite a crush on Sheridan’s character Joey in this new episode, I mean who hasn’t? He takes an interest in Joey very early on but it’s also to do with the plot, it is such an impossible mystery. I am not being sycophantic but I think David has written a fantastic piece. It is such an interweaving plot. You just think ‘What the fuck is going on?’

Were you really medically dead for five days? Have you fully recovered?
Oh yeah. I died. Which is fantastic because I have died already, I have been there and come back. I am completely recovered thank you. I wanted to do a live tour and tell people about how great Rik Mayall is. Did I tell you I was given a doctorate?

You didn’t know this? I was given a doctorate, awarded a doctorate. Other people get their fucking Baftas, but Exeter University, which is a fucking difficult university to get into… you need to find a really good map, no I mean it is a really brainy place and only the top brainies go there and not just naughty children. Right out of the blue they awarded me this doctorate; I thought ‘This is nice!’ a doctorate of literature for writing thousands of knob jokes. So I am now ‘Dr The Rik Mayall’ a pan-global phenomenon.

Talking about thousands of knob jokes….
What is the number that is a bigger than a billion?

A trillion
Okay what is the number that is bigger than a trillion?

Is that a fact?

There is a number called septillion but that is probably seven times more, so there must be something before that.

Quadrillion!… okay so a quadrillion, what was it?

Knob jokes.
(Laughs) ok so speaking of my quadrillion knob jokes, or the knob joke that I have told a quadrillion times in so many different ways.

Is Bottom going to be returning, can you elaborate on that?
I promised myself I wouldn’t today because I want to talk about….what’s it called again?

Jonathan Creek!
I want to talk about Jonathan Creek. Yes I am completely recovered thank you!

You’re dodging the question!
Yes with my skills at dodging. So I was having a wank this morning…

So is Bottom coming back? There have been a lot of rumours on Twitter.

In simple terms, I phoned Ade and said ‘Hey why don’t we do Bottom but have it as older blokes’ and it got called Hooligan’s Island which I wasn’t so keen on because we have used that title, I think it was just a working title at the time but the BBC snapped it up they said alright write a couple of episodes and see if you get anything. I did and Ade thought we weren’t old enough and I wanted us to be older like…dammit who played Alfred Steptoe, who played the old Steptoe, William Bramble? Wilfred Bramble! I wanted us to be like that, crumbling old shits and crumbling old nasties and Ade said we’re not old enough and that we should do it in ten years. I said that in ten fucking years I won’t be able to think, the two brain cells I have left will not work! There is a fucking thing called acting and something called makeup but he said ‘No I don’t think we’re old enough!’

On the other hand it is very exciting being in your mid-fifties, people are, personally I am not, but people can be very bitter in their fifties. People get the blues in their forties, like the male menopause. I missed most of that because I was…

Yeah I was dead!! Also I was stuck in recovery. Me and Ade did a couple of Bottom tours and I have done various telly and films so things are pretty okay. Of course by the time I was fifty I wasn’t unhappy at all but baddies have got to be motivated and I have always liked playing baddies or idiots or bastards! You can stretch further out into playing something straighter but I have always loved Anthony Hopkins, I would have quite liked some of his roles please!

Did you want Hitchcock?
Err no, I was thinking more of Hannibal Lecter. He is very rich though, and he does it without my vanity.

What are you doing next?
There has been an offer of a sitcom which will be completely different where I play someone’s dad, so we will have a look at the script. There’s a very naughty thing that I promised I wouldn’t say today, it is very naughty and has been very quietly released. It is called The Last Hurrah, it is released on CD which I wrote with a couple of bad men from Cornwall called Craig Green and Dominic Vince. It sounds very nice but I play a snowman called Elton and I don’t think that’s going to be going out on the normal channels. He is immortal, he has lived forever, he knew Hannibal and Adolf, and he knew them all and has been everywhere. There is a gentleman’s drinking club in London called The Last Hurrah which has been there for five hundred years and no one has been able to find it. We made the CD down in Plymouth and no one really knows about it so I am hoping it gets its own cult, rather than me announcing it to the national press, which I haven’t done!

Just going back to Jonathan Creek
But I am supposed to be talking about Jonathan Creek, of course!

Do you get given the whole script when you’re filming, or are some of the twists or reveals held back from the actors?
I know the whole thing, I think you have to. It depends on the kind of actor you are too. Everything that you can possibly think out, Pryke already has thought out so he is more interested in what other people think, but it is such a dense plot, it is very stimulating right until the very end, and I was surprised by the ending. It is a real page turner; it could have been a novel. Also can I just say what fun it was to do again, that is a really pathetic show biz thing to say but it really was fun working with David, he is a fucking good director.

Nigel Planer is in this episode…
Yes I meant to say that!

Did you get to share screen time with him in this?
I got to share a lot of dressing room time with him. He is such an animal; he nearly put my back out three or four times. It was lovely seeing Nige, we didn’t get to share a lot of screen time, we saw each other a lot on the set and I laughed so much with him. I see him in normal life anyway but it was so nice. I would love to do something with Nige again. Get someone who is reading this to have an idea and write a film or a play or a sitcom for me and Ade and Nige. That would be a good idea, what I would like to have is writers, I want some writers who can stimulate the part of my brain that hasn’t been touched yet. I would love to do more on the stage, having actual contact with the audience is great. You can give them a good seeing to!

And on that note, Rik Mayall, thank you very much!