Lord Flashheart, dead? Well, that’s all kind of fucked up.

Posted: June 10, 2014 in Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

flashheart

We have been in an exceptionally grumpy mood all day, Dear Reader, at the news that Rik Mayall has suddenly died at the ludicrously young age of 56. Our condolences go out, firstly of course, to his family, and secondly to his vast army of collaborators, fans and admirers.

angry young poetOne of our very obscure but absolutely true stories is that we once shared a few pints with him in the Students’ Union Bar at Southampton University.

We were contemporaries, and he was appearing with a rag-taggle bunch of co-conspirators, performing as the “Angry Young Poet” character that later morphed seamlessly into anarchist Rik of the Young Ones.

We remember thinking at the time that “Angry Young Poet” (which monniker could frankly have been on our business card had we had such things back then) was not only hilariously well written, but also brilliantly and compellingly performed, with all of Mayall’s trademark angst and gusto, despite being in front of an audience that comprised maybe 25 rather sloshed students lying awkwardly across retired leather chairs with the stuffing hanging out of them and some collapsed on the floor, entwined in drunken embrace with various paramours.

That from his first word he held us all utterly captivated tells you all you need to know.

Neil! Somehow it was always Neil's fault.

“Neil!” Somehow it was always Neil’s fault.

Much will be said about the Young Ones, which he imbued with his unique anarchic style and broke new ground for comedy with his colleagues. It’s hard to believe, given it’s gigantic influence on humour then and since, that it only ever comprised 12 episodes.

Along with the regular cast, the series featured a wide variety of guest appearances by comedians, actors, and singers, including co-creator Ben Elton, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Hale and Pace, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Mark Arden, Stephen Frost, Jools Holland, Terry Jones, Chris Barrie, Norman Lovett, Lenny Henry, David Rappaport, Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson. It was a veritable cornucopia of talent.

Mayall’s many other successes stand the test of time, including the charming “kids” movie Drop Dead Fred, which captured his genuinely charming inner nature perfectly, and which has long been one of our favourite movies.

But he was always at his best delivering Ben Elton’s mildly insane dialogue, (Elton was co-author with Mayall on the Young Ones, with Mayall’s then girlfriend Lise Mayer), and that’s why for us he will always be, immortally, Lord Flashheart in Blackadder.

 

Woof!

Huzzah!

Sob.

 

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