A whole generation of comedy fans are in mourning with the news that Rik Mayall has passed away aged 56.
For those who grew up watching TV in the 80s and 90s, he will always be the snotty anarchist from The Young Ones, the classic sitcom he co-created with Ben Elton and his then-partner Lise Mayer. Revolutionary in both its politics and style, it was a show that encapsulated the discontent of Thatcher’s Britain while playing around with the sitcom format. What other show could get away with having Madness as non-sequitur musical guests?
To other fans, he’ll be remembered best as one half of Bottom: a two-handed sitcom with Adrian Edmondson that brought chaos and ultra-violent slapstick to the airwaves.
But if you’re a bit younger than all that, surely you will have fond memories of Drop Dead Fred. Mayall’s first (and last) big stab at American stardom saw him play the imaginary friend of a grown woman; causing chaos in her life while helping her through her personal troubles. It did not perform well at the US box-office but has since become a cult classic.
Mayall sustained severe injuries in a quad bike accident in 1998. He was in a coma for five days, and many suspect that the long-term effects of the accident affected his work rate over the following years.
Most recently he was seen in the Channel 4 sitcom Man Down, playing the father of comedian Greg Davies, to whom he bore an uncanny resemblance.
His death was announced this morning by his management team.