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Rik Mayall: Lord of Misrule

  • Documentary and factual
  • News and current affairs
  • 2014
  • Andy Humphries
  • 60 mins

Summary

Comedian and actor Rik Mayall died suddenly in June 2014, but left a body of work that spanned four decades and was a blend of rocket-fuelled physical comedy, surrealism, subversive satire and pompous punk wit. Mayall's characters included the Black Country investigative nerd Kevin Turvey, Felicity Kendal-adoring student poet Rick in The Young Ones, unemployed oddball Richard Richard in Bottom, ruthless MP Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman and the roguish Lord Flashheart, who appeared in the second and fourth series of Blackadder. Narrated by Simon Callow, this documentary celebrates Mayall's part in British comedy, with contributions by Michael Palin, Simon Pegg, Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle, Christopher Ryan, Tim McInnerny, Jools Holland, Ruby Wax and Greg Davies

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Review

In a year when a celeb seemed to pop off every week, some losses were keener than others. Rik Mayall was 56 when he died suddenly in June 2014: nowhere near retirement, as evidenced by his TV comeback last year in Man Down. That show’s bereft creator, Greg Davies, just about keeps it together to contribute to this documentary, as do Michael Palin, Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle, Tim McInnerny and Ruby Wax.

Mayall’s comedy comrades offer anecdotes that all add up to the same thing: he was simply a gift, a man as sweet off stage as he was terrifyingly talented on it. As Blackadder producer John Lloyd sagely notes: people like John Cleese. They respected Peter Cook. But they loved Rik Mayall.

Rare footage illustrates how Mayall justified the over-used phrase “force of nature”. He was like a child eternally refusing to grow up. That’s why it was so shocking when he turned out not to be unstoppable after all. It’s a case of being devastated it’s over, but more glad that it happened in the first place: the last ten minutes here will leave fans in tear-soaked, happy/sad pieces. 

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
NarratorSimon Callow
SelfRik Mayall
Self - Co-writer The Young OnesBen Elton
SelfGreg Davies
SelfSimon Pegg
SelfRowland Rivron
SelfAlexei Sayle
SelfRuby Wax
Self - Co-writer The Young OnesLise Mayer
Self - 20th Century CoyoteLloyd Peters

Crew

rolename
DirectorAndy Humphries
EditorJames Pounce

Details

Released on
2014-12-20
Languages
English
Formats
Colour

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