Rik Mayall, the English comedian and actor best known for The Young Ones and Bottom, had died aged 56. Mayall, who formed a long and successful comedy partnership with Adrian Edmondson, also appeared in numerous feature films including Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso.
Ade [L] and Rik Mayall [R] in Bottom
Mayall died this morning, a spokesman for Brunskill Management confirmed.
Mayall and Edmondson were best friends since meeting at University, but fell out after they were commissioned to bring back their 90s slapstick comedy Bottom for a new series on BBC2. A spin-off called Hooligan's Island was all written and due to begin filming when Ade apparently got cold feet - the entire project was scrapped.
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"I thought it would be fun and Ade thought it would be fun but then he had a change of heart. It's a shame," Rik told the Mirror, "Of course, I f***ing tried to persuade him to change his mind. But if he doesn't want to, he doesn't want to."
He added: "I'm desperate to do it. I thought it would be lovely to have them in a different situation and being much older.
"Ade said we weren't old enough to be mad old b******s - but if we leave it another 10 years, how the f*** are we going to do anything?"
Rik had suffered a life-threatening injury 15 years ago when he was crushed by a 600lb quad bike. He sustained a fractured skull and severe haemorrhaging and spent five days on a ventilator.
Rik Mayall [Centre Left] has died
"I beat Jesus Christ," he joked of the incident. "He was dead for three days at Easter.
"When I crashed it was the day before Good Friday, Crap Thursday, and I was technically dead until Easter Monday - that's five days.
"Jesus was nailed up on Friday and came to on Easter day. I beat him 5-3."
Since 1985, Mayall has been married to the Scottish make-up artist Barbara Robbin, with home he has three children, Rosie, Sidney and Bonnie.
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Ade Edmonson [L] and Rik Mayall [R]
Tributes have already begun rolling in for Rik Mayall, with comedian Rory Bremner tweeting, "Oh no. Awful news about Rik Mayall- a fireball of creative comic energy and inspiration. Such brilliant raw talent."
"Awwww man... Rik Mayall... xxx" said actor Paddy Considine
"Such upsetting news about Rik Mayall. The Young Ones kept our family sane in the 80s," tweeted Lauren Laverne
When posting his first tweet in 2010, Mayall himself told fans: "Opening my very own Twitter to stop another bastard from doing it. So fuck off & don't expect to hear from me any time soon. Love Rik x"
Rik Mayall in 1985 [Photo: Getty Images, Credit|: Reg Lancaster]