Rik, of course, famously played Rick in The Young Ones. Back in the 80s, it was compulsory and regular viewing among my friends. I remember having marathons, watching episode after episode, and laughing no matter how many times I'd seen them. He was one of the first comedians who spoke directly to my generation.
Mayall was fabulous in Blackadder, The New Statesman and Believe Nothing. I even enjoyed Drop Dead Fred, although I haven't seen it since it was a new release on Beta video. And, of course, there was The Comic Strip Presents.
But it was as Rick the People's Poet that I will remember him. Although I'd heard he was never the same after his bike accident and found comedy difficult, a quick search shows Rik has continued working fairly solidly for the past 15 years.
“I feel sorry for you, you zeros, you nobodies. What’s going to live on after you die? Nothing, that’s what! This house will become a shrine! And punks and skins and Rastas will all gather round and all hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader! And all the grown-ups will say, ‘But why are the kids crying?’ And the kids will say, ‘Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!’ ... And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, ‘Why kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?’”Mayall was 56.