Oh no. What will happen to the world’s kipper industry now our darling Lord Flashheart has died?
Bizarrely, looking back, it was my parents who first introduced me to Rik Mayall in the form of a very unexpected Christmas present – a video (hark at how old I am) of some guy called Kevin Turvey who I’d never heard of. Perhaps it was because they watched it with me, but I found it more squirmy than funny the first time I saw it…. I think they found it so funny because of his broad West Midlands accent – how quickly we forget where we come from!
Next time Rik came to my attention was when the guy who worked with me on a Saturday in my parents shop asked me if I’d ever seen The Young Ones, stating how amazing he thought it was. I was shocked. Was this some cunning ploy to distract me from our usual tea break game of eating jam doughnuts without licking the sugar from our lips while looking up rude names in the phone book? How could this cool 80’s teenager think that The Young Ones was amazing?! Was it some Una Stubbs crush? How could he be admitting to be a Cliff fan in public? I’d thought he was someone to look up to! He played ace air guitar using just a brookstick, had a teabag t-shirt and bleached jeans! How could this epitome of cool be saying these things to me? The shock was enough to make me lose that week’s no sugar licking/rude name game I can tell you.
He told me when and where the next showing of The Young Ones would be, explained no more and left me perplexed as to why Cliff would need to be shown after the watershed.
And then I watched it.
Fortunately without mum and dad this time.
Oh. My. Word.
I think perhaps the controllers of the BBC had assumed the same as me and thought, ahhh, that lovely Cliff fellow making a series for us.
How wrong we both were.
The first episode I saw was Bambi….
I don’t think life has ever been the same again since. I can’t resist if I find an episode of The Young Ones while I’m flicking through telly channels late at night even now. Next thing I know I’m setting series link. It’s irresistible, stupid, shocking, laugh a minute sheer and utter mad brilliance.
Then, in 1993, they brought the madness LIVE to a stage near us – unbelievable and not to be missed! We were lucky enough to see them performing Bottom live at The Great Hall of Exeter University. What a night it was! If Bottom was outrageous and funny on telly, live it was something else. I’m so glad I took time out to look around me while we were there because the sight of so many people holding their stomachs and wiping away tears from their faces was unbelievable (in a good way, not mass hysteria or food poisoning) and one I’ll never forget. If you could have harnessed the power from the laughter that night you could have lit up the whole world.
I’m so sorry for Rik’s family, friends, colleagues and each and every one of us who he has made laugh over the years. He’s left us far too early and there’ll never be another one like him.
He has left us with an amazing legacy of laughter and with a generation of children who have been brought up by us madsters who have been brain addled by his brilliance – thank goodness.
Farewell People’s Poet. Goodbye to one of the funniest B’stards ever to tickle my funny bone (oo-er).