June 9th marks a year since the death of Rik Mayall. One of our most beloved and talented comedians, Mayall died at the age of 56 last year, and with his passing came an outpouring of grief from all corners of the nation. Mayall was quite literally a comedy icon – his anarchic, slapstick style of comedy became a cornerstone of eighties’ and nineties’ television, and quickly evolved into a genre itself. In celebration of his life, and to memorialise this tragic milestone, we’ve compiled a selection of Mayall’s best bits from the television performances that made him so great.
Various characters in The Comic Strip Presents… (1983-2012)
Mayall first found fame as a key member of the infamous British comedy troupe, The Comic Strip. Best known for their pioneering television series, The Comic Strip Presents, the core members included Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Nigel Planer, Alexei Sayle and Peter Richardson. The troupe began when Richardson convinced Mayall, Edmondson, Planer and Sayle to move with him from London’s Comedy Store to Soho. He later recruited French and Saunders, after issuing an advertisement for female comics. The television series first aired in November 1982, on the opening night of Channel 4. The first episode was a parody of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ novels entitled ‘Five Go Mad In Dorset’. Other well known skits from the series include, ‘A Fistful of Traveller’s Cheques’, ‘Slags’, ‘The Strike’ and ‘Bad News Tour’. Mayall appeared in almost every episode and co-wrote a number of the scripts.
Below is a faux-interview with Bad News – the tumultuous band that were at the centre of Edmondson’s recurring rockumentary skit. Edmondson plays the lead singer Vim, while Mayall, Planer and Richardson play the other members. Mayall is particularly notable in this clip, as his character, Colin Grigson, becomes increasingly upset during the hilariously angsty interview with a young Jools Holland.
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