Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall (March 7, 1958 – June 9, 2014) was an English comedian, writer, actor, and voice-over artist. Mayall was best known for his comedy partnership with Adrian "Ade" Edmondson, for his energetic "post-punk" style of acting, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s. He appeared in numerous cult classic British sitcoms, including: The Young Ones, Bottom, Filthy Rich & Catflap, Blackadder, and The New Statesman; and in the comedy films: Drop Dead Fred, Guest House Paradiso, and Carry On Columbus.
In 1985, Mayall debuted another comic creation. He had starred in the final episode of the first series of Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder (1983) as "Mad Gerald." He returned to play Lord Flashheart in the Blackadder II episode titled "Bells." A descendant of this character, Squadron Commander Flashheart, was in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Private Plane." In the same episode, he was reunited with Edmondson, who played German flying ace Baron von Richthofen the "Red Baron," in a scene where he comes to rescue Captain Blackadder from the Germans. Nearly a decade later, Mayall also appeared in Blackadder: Back & Forth as Robin Hood.
In 1986, Mayall played the Detective in the video of "Peter Gunn" by Art Of Noise featuring Duane Eddy.
In the same year, Mayall had a number one hit in the UK Singles charts, when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed with Cliff Richard to record "Living Doll" for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign.
Mayall played Rick one last time in the stage-show and supported the Comic Relief cause for the rest of his life.
He appeared on the children's television series Jackanory. His crazed portrayal of Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine proved memorable. However, the BBC received complaints "with viewers claiming both story and presentation to be both dangerous and offensive."
In a similar vein to his appearance on Jackanory, in 1989 Mayall starred in a series of bit shows for ITV called Grim Tales, in which he narrated Grimm Brothers fairy tales while puppets acted the stories.
In the early 1990s, Mayall starred in humorous adverts for Nintendo games and consoles. With money from the ads, he bought his house in London which he called "Nintendo Towers." In 1991, Edmondson and Mayall co-starred in the West End production of Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the Queen's Theatre, with Mayall playing Vladimir, Edmondson as Estragon and Christopher Ryan as Lucky.
It was a commercial success, filling large venues. Four additional stage shows were embarked upon in 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003, each meeting with great success. The violent nature of these shows saw both Edmondson and Mayall ending up in hospital at various points. A film version, Guest House Paradiso, was released in 1999. A fourth TV series was also written, but not commissioned by the BBC. Mayall starred alongside Phoebe Cates in Drop Dead Fred (1991) as the eponymous character, a troublesome imaginary friend who reappears from a woman's childhood.
Mayall also provided the voice of the character Froglip, the leader of the goblins, in the 1992 animated film adaption of the 1872 children's tale The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. In 1993, he appeared in Rik Mayall Presents, three individual comedy dramas. Mayall's performances won him a Best Comedy Performer award at that year's British Comedy Awards, and a second series of three was broadcast in early 1995. He provided the voice for Little Sod in Simon Brett's How to Be a Little Sod, written in 1991 and adapted as ten consecutive episodes broadcast by the BBC in 1995. In the early 1990s, he auditioned for the roles of Banzai, Zazu and Timon in The Lion King (1994); he was asked to audition by lyricist Tim Rice, but the role of Zazu finally went to Rowan Atkinson.
He joked in the "making of" documentary, which was included on the DVD release, that "the real reason why millions of people want to come and see this is because I'm in it! Me and Jesus!" In 2001, Mayall gave an excellent dramatic performance as Lt Daniel Blaney in the episode "The White Knight Stratagem" from the series "Murder Rooms: The Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes." In 2002, Mayall teamed up with Marks and Gran once more when he starred as Professor Adonis Cnut in the ITV sitcom, Believe Nothing. However, the sitcom failed to repeat the success of The New Statesman and lasted for only one series.