The Comedy Vault – Rik Mayall Presents.

Rik Mayall Presents (ITV, 1993-1995)

Rik Mayall is someone who became famous for appearing in comedy shows that were at the more anarchic end of the genre, including The Young Ones and Bottom. He wanted to take the opportunity to prove that there was more to his style than this though, and he was keen to do something a little different, so this comedy-drama series was the ideal chance.

In Rik Mayall Presents, he played a different character all of the episodes, in a more straight style than some viewers might have been used to. Put it this way, there definitely wouldn’t be anybody being hit over the head with a frying pan in any of these. I suppose that it was either this, or make some more of those Nintendo adverts.

The episodes that stood out to me the most include “Micky Love”. This was about the host of long-running game show Family Values (and I am always interested in seeing a game show parody as much as the real ones). He is past his best by this point though, and his career comes to a spectacular end on live TV. There were also plenty of famous faces making a guest appearance.

In “Dancing Queen”, a stripper attends a chaotic stag party. But when the groom ends up on a train, and there’s no chance that he’ll make the wedding on time, he befriends the stripper, even though they have little in common. And in “Dirty Old Town”, a tramp has a film script fall into his possession. After being mistaken for its author, he suddenly finds himself in a showbusiness world that is totally alien to him.

Rik couldn’t do it all by himself though, and also appearing in the cast in various episodes were Peter Capaldi, Alan Cumming, Helena Bonham-Carter, Martin Clunes, Lee Evans, and many others. This went down very well with critics, and also led to Rik having success at The British Comedy Awards. Although there were only six episodes, they were all very enjoyable.

Rik also gained a new-found admiration from some viewers for proving that he could definitely perform as characters in this area, and also around this time, he was having some success in theatre shows too. There was also a repeat run on Granada Plus. Rik Mayall Presents has been released on DVD by Network, although there are no extras.

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