Rik Mayall talks about cut Harry Potter role in newly unearthed interview

The late Bottom actor was due to play poltergeist Peeves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but his scenes were cut before the film hit cinemas

The death of Rik Mayall earlier this week gave fans an opportunity to look back and celebrate the comic actor’s life and work and dig out some forgotten gems. Those included a interview in which Mayall talks about his role in blockbuster movie Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone.


Mayall was cast as the pesky poltergeist Peeves in the 2001 film, who is known to patrol Hogwarts getting up to chaotic mischief. The role was meant to be a recurring one but Mayall’s scenes never made it to screen, with director Chris Columbus later revealing that they were unhappy with the character’s design.

In the video, dug up by Yahoo, The Young Ones actor revealed that he wasn’t exactly a fan of the series – “The film, with respect … no, with no respect at all… the film was s**t” – and only took the part as the children at his own kid’s school were talking about the books. From the sounds of it, though, he at least had fun on set.

“I got sent off the set because every time I tried to do a bit of acting,” he said. “All the lads who were playing the school kids kept getting the giggles, they kept corpsing, so they threw me off.

“They asked me to do it with my back to them and they still laughed. So they asked me to do it around the other side of the cathedral and shout my lines, but they still laughed so they said they’d do my lines with someone else.”

After finishing his scenes, however, Mayall was told three weeks later that Peeves would not be appearing in the film – a blow that was fortunately softened with financial reward.


“I was in the film for around three weeks… but I still got the money. So that is the most exciting film I’ve ever been in, because I got the oodle and I wasn’t in it. Fantastic.”