Rik Mayall Dies Aged 56

Yesterday people across the UK were re-watching episodes of 'Bottom', 'The Young Ones', 'Drop Dead Fred' and 'The New Statesman' as it was announced that the star of these shows and films, comedian Rik Mayall had died aged 56. 

You couldn't miss Rik Mayall, who stole the show when he guested in 'Blackadder' as Flashheart ("Woof!")and as DI Gideon Pryke in 'Jonathan Creek'. Rik was part of a new generation of comics in the 1980s who broke from tradition and created what became known as alternative comedy. 

Rik met a few of his future comedy collaborators at the University of Manchester, such as Ade Edmondson, Ben Elton and Lise Mayer – with whom he co-wrote 'The Young Ones'. 

'Blackadder' producer John Lloyd said of Rik's death: "he was ridiculously young – it's very sad, he was a great guy, Rik – not just an absolutely brilliant comic and actor, but a great chap."

Ade Edmondson said: "There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing.

"They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.

"And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

Our own Funny Women founder Lynne Parker recalls how she met Rik as a member of the spoof rock band 'Bad News' at the Reading Festival in 1987. "I was working as a PR consultant to the festival in those days and had the privilege of standing in the wings while various famous bands played on stage.  Bad News were 'on tour' as part of a television special they were filming and had brought in Brian May of Queen to actually play guitar while they mimed! When Brian joined them all on stage the audience went wild! A memorable experience.  

"Most of all I remember how good looking Rik was in real life, which surprised me as he played so many grotesque comic characters.  He was so different to his various larger and uglier than life comedy personas.  He pushed the boundaries of humour and taste and set the benchmark high for a whole generation of alternative comedians. He will be sadly missed."

Rik leaves behind his wife Barbara Robbin, three children and of course, his Dangerous brother Ade Edmondson. 

Pictured: Rik Mayall 1958-2014; and as member of spoof rock band, Bad News.