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

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

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.”