Having seen every episode of The Young Ones and most of Bottom which was almost like a spin off from this I have to say that this was my favourite and is something of a cult classic nowadays. It was first broadcast in 1982 on BBC2 and ran for a couple of years over 2 series and just twelve episodes but was very popular when it was on at the time.
Like Bottom that followed it, this British sitcom had a humour that is slight different and not to everyone's tastes and although still crude is not quite as rude as it's successor. It also made household names of many of it's cast back then. I'm sure most people have heard of the Young Ones even if they have never seen the TV Programme.
The main characters in this programme are four students who share a house together. First there is Vyvyan played by Adrian Edmondson who is punk metal fan who is quite violent. Then there is Rick played by Rick Mayall, hippie Neil played by Nigel Planer and Mike played by Christopher Ryan. On their own it might not have been that funny but together they are fantastic and the chemistry between these unique and very different characters is brilliantly done.
The reason I think this show worked so well and why I enjoyed it so much is that there were no rules so to speak and they almost made things up as they went along. There were no boundaries or strict guidelines in place. The sitcom combined violent comedy to produce laughs and twists and turns for all the characters.
A lot of the series was filmed in the flat but they did venture out now and again. Those who are students might be able to relate to some of their antics but it's exagerrated so much that it makes it funny and hilarious at times. I love The Young Ones but might not appeal to all.
THE YOUNG ONES
Recently I have gotten into this old TV show, which was first show on TV in 1982. This was twenty eight years ago and before I was even born so it might seem a bit surprising this has quickly become my new favourite TV show, also after my recommendation my friend and sister have become really into it as well.
This was a well known and widely popular show of the 1980s. Everyone I have asked who was alive at the time knows about and remembers well this show.
It was written by Ben Elton, Lise Mayer and Rik Mayall who also stars in the show. It was this show which kicked off Ben Elton's career and along with Blackadder this is one of his best sitcom works.
It is a very funny comedy show which seems childish and over the top, although you still find it hard not to laugh at the unusual and surreal things that happen. It is about four stereotypical students who get away with doing whatever they like, including smashing the house up that they live in. It's just totally random and weird and crazy which you might not expect to work but it does.
In every episode a band comes onto the show and plays a song. This was planned by the producers so they could get more funding for the show. Bands that featured in the show included Madness and Motorhead two bands that are still well known and popular today.
If someone asked me to compare this to a show which has been shown on telly more recently, I would say it's like an 80s version of The Inbetweeners. I actually think this one is funnier though. I definitely recommend watching it.
There are four main characters in this show; Rick, Vyvyan, Neil and Mike. They are four mad students who go to 'Scumbag College' although they never do any work and spend most of their time messing around, damaging their house and hurting each other. They are each a stereotype that young people were categorised into being (I guess) in the late 70s and early 80s. Vyvyan is the metal head/punk or whatever you want to call it, Rick is the nerdy Cliff Richard fan, Neil is the laid back hippie and Mike is the 'ladies man' or so he seems to think.
Once in an interview, Rik Mayall stated that the characters were modelled after a typical family. Mike would be the father figure, Neil the mother, Vyvyan the son, and Rick was supposed to be the daughter!
Vyvyan is played by Ade Edmondson. He was a self styled punk who had orange hair in spikes and wore four stars across his forehead. He also wore a denim jacket which on the back said 'very metal'. Vyvyan was a medical student at the university. He was very violence and had a habit of smashing things up, including his flatmates. He especially liked to bully Rick. Vyvyan also had a pet hamster with an attitude...
I really like Vyvyan although he has a slightly annoying voice you can't help but laugh at the stupid things he says and does. He is quite unlike any other television character I could name around today. I think they all are though really!
Rick is played by Rik Mayall who is very famousPictures of The Britcom Zone: The Young Ones
Vyvyan is the one with spiky orange hair, Neil with long brown hair, Mike is the short one at the bottom & Rick is the one with the sarcy smile. and you might know him from 'The New Statesman' or 'Bottom' which are two of his other well known TV shows. He also plays Fred in 'Drop Dead Fred', a film I reviewed just the other day. Rick thinks of himself as being an anarchist and wears a blazer with the anarchy sign on the back. Although on the front of the blazer he also wears a Blue Peter badge which I think slightly contradicts being an anarchist! He is studying sociology at the university. The way he talks is quite a posh, immature accent which some people find hilarious and other people find utterly irritating. I think he is one of those people you either love or hate. Rick is the nerd of the house and a massive Cliff Richard fan. When he is bullied by Vyvyan he takes it out on Neil who being a pacifist is an easy target...
Neil is played by Nigel Planer. He is tall with long dark brown hair. He is a really laid back hippie and a pacifist who doesn't shout or argue with any of the other flatmates. The other four take advantage of this and Neil is made to do all the housework, cooking and cleaning. This is the way in which he is like the mother figure of the house. He moans quite a lot about having to do all the work and is extremely paranoid. He thinks the whole world is against him. At the university he is studying peace. He speaks in a very relaxed tone of voice never with any expression, and always says things like "Oh, I'm just off to commit suicide" or "Don't get heavy, man". None of the other characters take much notice of Neil, except when they want to borrow some money, or their dinner isn't on the table on time.
Mike is played by Christopher Ryan. Although the smallest of the four, he is like the father figure of the house. He thinks of himself as a ladies man although he is never seen with any women around him in any of the episodes he appears in and he goes to bed with a blow up doll next to him. He is always scheming and plotting up new ways in which to earn money. In the theme tune at the start of every episode he is papped giving money to his tutor as he hands him his degree papers, which suggests he must have bought his way into the university. He seems much older than student age, and in real life at the time I worked out he was actually thirty two years old which explains a lot about why he seems more sophisticated in his way of words that the rest of the characters. I say 'sophisticated way of words' but what I really mean is he thinks what he is saying makes him sound sophisticated but really is doesn't usually make much sense. He also says a lot of amusing one liners.
The Balowski family
Alexei Sayle, who was a well known comedian in the 1980s and whose career first kicked off in 1979, was also on the show. He appeared in every episode of the show but as different characters each time. In the first episode he plays a Russian rent collector who comes to the house demanding rent. He then reveals "I'm not really Russian y'know, I just do it to appear more sophisticated like" in a Liverpudlian accent. I think he is added into the show for an extra touch and to help it appeal to wider audiences. His humour is slightly different to the 'toilet humour' which the other four main characters seem to have. You might remember if you were alive at the time a song called 'Allo John you got a new motor' which he sang and it actually went to number one in the UK charts. Alexei Sayle is recognisable in his too small suit, hat over his eyes and Dr Marten boots.
There are two seasons of the young ones, with six episodes each. The Young ones also did a charity episode for Children in Need. The two seasons are both available to buy either individually or as a box set from HMV, Amazon and I'm sure various other places across the UK.
All episodes have the most random, weird things going on in them. They are really funny and great to watch although sometimes you just think 'what?!' For example sometimes in an episode household objects will randomly take the screen and make jokes. Or it will show Vyvyan's hamster talking and cracking jokes about his life as a mad hamster. Like I said, so weird. But at the same time you also can't help to find it funny. You've got to laugh.
I will give a brief description about each episode to give you an idea about the kind of things that go on in the show.
This is the first episode of the whole show which was first broadcast on Tuesday 9th November 1982. You can tell it's the first ever episode because of the way it introduces the characters and makes it very clear about what each individual character is like, putting more emphasis than usual on the way they behave. In this episode Neil keeps trying to commit suicide, Mike is a very exaggerated ladies man and Rick's poetry and love of Cliff Richard is more fanatical than usual. Vyvyan is also more violent and mad than usual which includes making his entrance through a wall!
In each episode there is a band playing, the one in this particular episode is Nine Below Zero.
In this episode the band are told that their house is a health hazard (you can see why) and needs to be demolished. So Rick ties himself up to a crucifix on the front of the house and refuses to be removed until they leave the house how it is! This is a great episode and after I'd watched it I couldn't wait to see what happened in the next one.
I would rate this first episode 9/10 as I found it hilarious.
In this episode Mike comes up with a cool idea of getting rich - by making his flatmates dig for oil in the basement. Except for one problem; there is no oil there and he even reveals he knows this towards the end of the episode.
The four also decide to have a benefit concert in the front room. Again there is a problem - they forgot to invite anyone so no one turns up. In this episode Alexei Sayle sings a rather funny song about 'Dr Marten Boots'. This is the best part of the episode but apart from this 'Oil' isn't the funniest in the series by a long way.
I would rate it as 6/10 as I think it could be funnier.
Although I wouldn't exactly describe the student's four lives as boring, they seem to think it is as throughout this episode they moan constantly saying 'why can't anything interesting ever happen around here?' They don't seem to notice the terrorist attacks going on behind them in their own living room!
In this episode they are so bored they decide to go to the pub where we are introduced to Vyvyan's mother for the first time. She is bar maid and at first when giving her the order (which is a rather strange order) Vyvyan doesn't even notice it's her.
In this episode Madness are playing 'House of Fun'. I liked this one, and would rate it as 8/10.
A rather strange occurrence - they find a huge red bomb. It's quite funny how they just happen to come across it one day and don't seem to think too much of it. Mike typically tries to sell it to get as much money possible from the highest bidder they can find. One of these bidders includes Alexei Sayle who comes in talks a load of rubbish then leaves which I found quite funny.
Also in this episode Neil paints himself white to detonate the effects of a nuclear blast. When they think the bomb may go off they run around like headless chickens then hide under the table. I would rate this one again as 8/10.
I loved this episode, as they decided to have a house party. Rick was the one letting people come in - big mistake. Some people arrived five minutes early and he told them off as "the party hasn't started yet". The guests a bit warily sit down but then when they try to drink something Rick snatches it away saying "can't you wait three minutes, alcoholic!" But then his teacher, who he has also invited, arrives also slightly early but he welcomes him in. He obviously idolises his teacher saying "Look I got some trousers like yours" with a creepy smile. The singer in this episode is Neneh Cherry. I would rate this one as 9/10.
London floods and the band are stuck indoors all day. Neil goes out to get some food after the others force him to, but when he forgets what he was out for and comes back with nothing they decide they want to eat him. This episode also features a trip to Narnia through the wardrobe. There is no band or singer playing in this episode. I enjoyed this but it wasn't as funny as other episodes. I would rate it 7/10.
These are all the episodes in the first series. Overall I would rate it as a series as 8/10 and think its definitely worth watching, especially if you like programmes like 'Bottom'. If you don't like the sound of this though, and aren't really into the sort of 'toilet humour' which plays a great part in the show, then this show might not be your cup of tea. Since you can watch it free online quite easily then I think its worth watching if you're bored one day and you can't find anything else to do or watch.
I'm certainly glad I found out about the show.
I wish there were shows like this still shown on television today. I don't think I've ever watched something this childish and well how can I put this? - stupid, but which still appeals to many teenagers and makes adults laugh. It really is a great show which I enjoyed watching and probably would watch again.
Although saying this I think if I watched it too much it might become a bit of a blag, and I'm sure the jokes would start to wear off eventually.
I think its one of those love-it-or-hate-it shows; it has the Marmite factor. Some people think this is annoying and hate it, others think its funny and love it. I'm one of those mad lovers. I really enjoyed watching it.
The complete boxset is £20.00 from HMV at my local store, or you can buy each series individually which are £10.00 each. Or you can do what I did and watch them online free of charge although this way the quality isn't always as good and you can't get things like subtitles to come up.
Well I hope reading this review hasn't felt like a waste of your time and I really hope you've got something out of this. If you are looking to buy this on boxset I would recommend it as it truly is one of the best shows ever been on TV.
I definitely recommend this show
The Young Ones is an 80's surreal comedy about four students who share a flat together in London. It stars Rik Mayall as Rick, Adrian Edmondson as Vyvyan, Nigel Planer as Neil and Christopher Ryan as Mike. It also features Alexei Sayle, who plays landlord Jerzy Balowski.
Rick is a self-proclaimed anarchist who studies sociology, Vyvyan is a punk medical student (which is somewhat ironic, due to the fact that he likes to inflict pain on others, especially Rick) Neil is a hippy with a mild obsession with lentils, and Mike is the cool, mysterious one who the others look up to and respect the most.
I love this show because it's so different from any other comedy. It has some references to sex, alcohol and drugs, but it also incorporates puppets (such as Vyvyan's hamster, Special Patrol Group) and ropey special effects that one might expect in a children's TV programme! Technically speaking, it has something for everyone, but parents may be apprehensive about letting their children watch violent punk Vyvyan Basterd become decapitated, like he does in the episode "Bambi."
One great thing about this show is that it has acted as a pedestal for many up-and-coming comedians and actors- Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Ben Elton, Emma Thompson have guest starred, among others. The show also features bands, which have included Madness, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Motorhead.
There are only twelve episodes, which I find quite annoying, because I feel that it had much more potential! I also think that the ending was a little too abrupt and easy; they all get killed when the bus that they are in drives over a cliff.
However, the series provides some great gags and hilarious one-liners that are as unforgettable as the silver studs on Vyvyan's forehead.
The Young Ones was to television comedy what some of the more outrageous pop artists are to rock'n'roll. The programme was the Eminem of comedy. Loved by a section of society separated from the remainder almost entirely on the grounds of age. While young people loved it, anyone over 35 probably hated it and probably didn't understand it. It was either brilliantly innovative or brilliantly exploitative whichever way you looked at it. Fans can recite huge tracts of the script verbatim, detractors would consider this silly.
It did however mark a new watershed in comedy for it defined that humour was not universal and could be honed to appeal to a narrow section of society. It was both anarchic and yet subtly structured.
It also launched the careers of some of the finest talents in British comedy and it also had Christopher Ryan in it. Rik Mayall had already appeared on TV as Kevin Turvey a hyperactive youth reporter. He appeared as Rik who liked to consider himself in the vanguard of the revolution which was to sweep Thatcher from power. He was unfortunately however as naïve and innocent as he was misguidedly idealistic. Mayall's future partner in the sitcom Bottom, Adrian Edmondsen, appeared as a destructive medical student called Vyvyan. Vyvyan was sadistic and inflicted a considerable amount of pain on the others apparently just to see what it was like.
Nigel Planer played Neil a hippie who would have disliked the actions of the others but was too agreeable to do so. Planer has gone on to become a fine actor, not just in comedy but in serious theatre too. Christopher Ryan played Mike who was easily the weakest of the characters. I think he was supposed to be cool but it just didn't work. Additionally the show did include a tendency for the various parts of the house to come to life like speaking walls.
One feature of The Young ones though was that by having just 2 series they did not allow the characters to become stale. To have continued would have required a new situation, I know some people are perpetual students but they are usually as funny as toothache. The programme was made in the early 1980s so fitted in neatly as a counterpoint to Thatcher's Britain.
The programmes featured many guests including Ben Elton and Fry and Laurie and also helped launch the career of Alexei Sayle who delivered a semi-monologue/rant against the evils of capitalism (usually). Rik also had a fixation about Cliff Richard who he seemed to think was a God. The team later joined Richard on a charity version of the song The Young Ones culminating in Vyvyan knocking him out.
Since The Young ones ended Mayall and Edmondson have worked together a lot on programmes like The Comic Strip presents... and Bottom, Mayall was also played the role of Alan B'Stard as an unscrupulous MP.
The Young Ones was immensely funny but does not appeal to everyone. Some of the humour was crude and cruel. Probably much more risqué material has been shown since and of course once certain taste barriers are breached they are impossible to re-erect. The nearest there has been in similar anarchic humour in recent years has been The League Of Gentlemen but that was nowhere near as funny as The Young Ones.
Created by Rik Mayall, Lise Mayer and Ben Elton
Starring Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan and Alexei Sayle.
This comedy show began it life in 1982 until 1984, creating 12 episodes split into 2 series.
Its style of humour being new to the BBC at the time (and it did receive a lot of complaints), but soon became a hit, especially with the younger, more rebellious of the audience.
The format for the show was simple, it involved a the lives of a group of 'mature' students living in a grotty shared house. Following their day to day antics as they struggle to survive on a their student income.
*Vyvyan (played by Adrian Edmondson) is the mad punk rocker, with orange hair and a line of studs crossing his forehead. He really detests Rick and attacks him at any and every opportunity, hitting him with whatever comes to hand.
He owns a battered Ford Anglia and a Hamster called Special Patrol Group, (who happens to have a Glaswegian accent, which is strange for a hamster?)
*Rick (played by Rik Mayall), studying Sociology and domestic science, is the pretend anarchist who believes he knows best and will argue his point, usually until Vyvyan hits him with something. He is bullied by Vyvyan and in turn he tends to bully Neil, as he knows Neil is a Pacifist and will not fight back. His arrogance sees him hated and belittled by the rest of the housemates. Rick has the uncanny ability to annoy everyone and anyone.
*Neil (played by Nigel Planter) is the laid back Hippy, studying a Peace degree, who would really be happy living own. He comes across as a truly paranoid, depressed vegetarian who worries about the environment a little too much. He thinks the worlds hates him and tries to please everyone in the house by doing their ironing, cooking and cleaning. He is the butt of many jokes during the series.
*Mike (played by Christopher Ryan) is the cool and mysterious character whose role seems to be the head of the house hold, despite his rather small size. He thinks of himself as a bit of a ladies man but never seems to attract the ladies.
He is always coming up with some new money making scheme but most fall before the first hurdle.
The four of them were students at 'Scumbag' collage although they were never really seen attending any lectures.
In every episode a band would appear and plug its latest song, the bands were such as 'Motorhead' 'Madness' 'the Damned' 'Dexys Midnight Runners', 'Amazulu' and others
1} Demolition... With Neil's failed suicide attempt and Vyvyan given a human leg as part of his studies (but deciding to nail it to the bonnet of his ford Anglia), everything is as normal at the house. Then when the council informs the four housemates that their house will be demolished each one of them come up with a plan to stop it happening, each plan as insane as the last.
There plans are all wasted as an act of god, (more or less) decides the fate of the house.
2} Oil... Even before the housemates have settled into the new house Vyvyen strikes oil in the cellar, so he and Mike, (nicknamed 'El Presidente') enslave Rick and Neil into digging in the cellar for more of the black gold.
With much slapstick fighting, and some seriously funny accidents this episode is hilarious.
3} Boring... with a medley of night time characters that only the insomniac Neil can see this episode sees the group bored to death. They try everything to stem the boredom... from going to the gym to drinking in the pub, even a game of monopoly doesn't help.
4} Bomb... When a huge atom bomb is dropped onto the house it cause some ripples amongst the housemates, even the arrival of the brutish television licence man can't stop the chaos. When the bomb does explode there is a a bit of a surprise for everyone.
5}Interesting... when the housemates plan a party things don't go according to plan. As Vyvyan tries to improve the performance of the vacuum cleaner, (sucking up an unsuspecting friend of Neils doesn't help), and his rather provocative press-ups, the fun really hit's the fan.
6} Flood... When the group are trapped in the house by a raging monsoon Vyvyan thinks it would be funny to try out his new cocktail, ( a brew which would turn any one into a homicidal maniac). And when a lion tamer rents the spare room things really hot up.
1} Bambi... A trip to the launderette leads to some of Vyvyans socks to go on the rampage.
Then, with an invitation to appear on Open University the group have an adventurous time getting to the studio to record the show, (With Vyvyan getting so frustrated on the train that he loses his head), once there the fun really begins.
2} Cash... With the group very short of cash they all decide that one of them must get a job...but to the horror of Rick, it has to be him and his only option is to join the army...??? But when Ricks away trying to sign up, the other three have a stroke of luck when a lorry crashes through their front room window.
3} Nasty... Whilst its bath time for Neil, having the scummy water that the others have bathed in, Rick locks himself in his room with his favourite magazine. Mike and Vyvyan settle down to watch a video but are interrupted by a strange shaped parcel delivered to there door..?
4} Time... Rick decides to bend the truth a little to the other housemates when he wakes up next to a beautiful women, but his lies are uncovered when her true identity is revealed.
Meanwhile, the house takes a trip in time, for reasons unknown, to medieval time where things take a very weird turn.
5} Sick... The four housemates are all ill and laid up in bed but somehow still manage to cause a street riot outside. When an escaped loony then takes the four housemates hostage things really go down hill. The worst is still to come for Neil as his parents are due to visit which causes more chaos and comedy.
6} Summer Holiday... It's the end of the collage year and the final exams have been taken and it is not long before the housemates are bored again.
Vyvyan decides a game of cricket would be fun and with some fine bowling and fire starting the chaos begins.
With the threat of eviction, due to the almost demolished house, and the terrible results in their exams things seem to be getting worse.
When Mike comes up with a plan to get some easy money everything really does take a twist as the housemates end the show with some brilliant sarcasm, fantastic humour and a big red double decker bus.
The young ones was probably the funniest comedy show of its time, if you liked dry sarcasm, a lot of over the top violence and some really weird storylines..??
The hatred between Vyvyan and Rick is brilliantly acted and the fights the two have are so funny you know they must enjoy every second of it.
If you don't like sarcastic, stupidly written and some really corny jokes then steer clear of this show as you may feel insulted by the acting involved and the violence inflicted on everyone in the house.
BUT...if you do like dry sarcasm and a bit.. ,nay... a lot of slapstick violence then this is for you.... Sit back and enjoy, you wont really need to concentrate too much to keep up with the story lines.....
I loved watching each episode but if I had to chose a favourite it would have to be.. Bambi... (series 2 episode 1).. When the four are invited to appear on University Challenge, pitting their wits against a rather pompus bunch of students, the footlights team from Oxford. The hilarious scenes when they are travelling on the train and then when they begin the contest against the posh lot....pure genius.
Around 1981 comedy was undergoing a change. What was later to be branded alternative comedy was delivering a brash, scathing and irreverent tirade of anti establishment humour in response to too many years of safe sitcoms and golf playing forty something stand up comedians telling mother in law jokes and predictable stories. Doing the rounds were a couple of youngsters performing an act called the Dangerous Brothers in which Rik Mayall had perfected a pompous off-the-wall prat of a poet to play off Ade Edmondsons, mad, fearless, self abusing punk whirlwind in a small TV show called Boom Boom
Out Go the Lights. At this time TV was showing more interest in this new breed of entertainer and the idea was mused at for a new breed of sitcom, a house filled with some of the characters already being touted by the various acts currently making waves. Mayall and his then girlfriend, Lise Mayer, began putting some ideas together. Nigel Planer had a hippy character called Neil who was doing a musical act on the same circuit and all they needed was a normal sort of character to balance the madness, Christopher Ryan was eventually drafted and with Ben Elton on board to help write the scripts, The Young Ones was born.
One word that summed up the show was anarchy. Even at the writing stage with Mayall and Mayer writing as a team and Elton working alone, the blending of the disparate threads of their scripts made for some strange links and storyline bridges, which were often dealt with in the most unsubtle and illogical fashion. The idea of four students sharing the flat from hell seemed to be offering little new, considering that this was meant to be the flagship of the breath of fresh air that was taking over the scene. But it was the style of The Young Ones rather than the idea that gave the show its individuality. It gloriously reflected the free-basing, high-octane, in-your-face, unpredictable quality of 'alternative' comedy and turned its back on all of the old, established rules and clichés of television humour to present 35 minutes of rampaging, violent slapstick which had more in common with Warner Brothers cartoons than with situation comedy as known to this point. A huge range of bizarre ideas was tethered to the loosest possible storylines and sudden cutaways to characters and situations not involved in the plot deliberately added confusion. The show also had musical guests - a first for a sitcom - whose appearances somehow had to be accommodated within the story. And normally it was as logical as someone saying, Bloody hell Motorhead are playing a concert in the kitchen or something as believable as that.
On reflection it has been noted that underneath all of the mayhem there is a veiled allusion to a family unit, a mum, a dad and two bickering kids. If there is a father it is Mike the Cool Person. Often seen, as the weakest character by many, but in reality is a breathing space and a balance between the more volatile madmen around him, Christopher Ryan played this father like figure. Looked up to by the other members of the house he spends his time promoting his image as some sort of shady and mysterious gangster figure and is always oddly indifferent to the antics around him. Nigel Planers hippie Neil Pye fills the role of the put upon mother, the one who always ends up doing all of the chores, is always the butt of the scathing remarks, he is permanently depressed and is likely to say things such as I'm not gonna say anything because I know no one's going to listen to me. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record. The two surrogate children are the most immediate characters. Rik Mayall is somewhat akin to a precocious daughter (complete with tiny pigtails) as the revolutionary, left wing peoples poet and mummys boy. His angle is as the anti-Thatcherite flag waver who betrays the real level of his reactionary nature by his devotion to Cliff Richard (also older readers will get the reference in the title of the show, which shares its name with one of his movies). Rik does however get some wonderfully through away lines such as Neil, the bathroom's free. Unlike the country under the Thatcherite junta. Finally we have Vyvyan Basterd, the out of control punk spirited anarchist who seems to enter half his scenes by crashing through a wall and spends a large amount of the show hitting Rik with heavy objects, a slapstick routine that came to fruition in their later show, Bottom. There was one other regular member of the show; the one time host of the Comedy Store, Alexei Sayle played various members of the Balowski family, from whom the house was rented. Sayle wrote his own bits for the show adding another style to be thrown into the mixing pot and he would turn up demanding rent or just paying a social visit and firing off an almost to fast to comprehend string of mad tangents and strange monologues.
Amongst the normal off the page scripting, there were lots off strange asides, flies on the wall being filmed by a fly on the wall documentary crew, rats talking about what books they have recently eaten and talking vegetables are just some of the interludes that came from the mind of, apparently, Lise Mayers questionable mind. Even stranger were randomly exploding pieces of furniture, talking fridges, 17th century burials in the garden, Buddy Holly being discovered hanging from the ceiling of one of the bedrooms, visits to Narnia and very strange goings on in the basement and you begin to realise the mad horizons that were being strived for here. There were also a few references to previous comedy works, one routine that Im never sure if its a tribute or an attack is a parody of Monty Pythons cheese shop sketch.
Alexei Sayle: 'Scuse me, is this the cheese shop?
Bartender: No sir.
Alexei Sayle: Well that's that sketch knackered then, isn't it?
The two series ran to only 12 shows before it was decided to end on a high, but by then future careers were in the bag, not to mention money was in the bank. Its also interesting to look out for the wealth of supporting cast that reads like a whos who of comedy, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Gareth Hale and Norman Pace, Lenny Henry, Helen Lederer, Norman Lovett, Paul Merton to name only a few. The show broke the mould, and like such respected shows as The Goon Show, Spike Milligans Q series, Monty Python and TW3 before signalled a change in the way programs would be made. Apart from the videos which can be cheaply picked up on Amazon or E-bay, the reruns are regular features on sky, unfortunately what used to be touted as Anarchy in the UK is now relegated to Anarchy in the UKTV Gold.
Running for two series of six episodes each, the Young Ones starred Rik Mayall as Rick the 'peoples' poet' virginal fan of Cliff Richard, Adrian Edmondson as insane and violent punk Vyvian, Christopher Ryan as 'cool guy' Mike and Nigel Planer as depressed hippie Neil. Alexei Sayle would also often show up as part of the Russian/scouse/cockney Balowski family, crack a joke, and leave.
British alternative comedy was at its satirical prime in the 1980s, and shows such as the Young Ones managed to tread new ground with the franchise as well as make a lot of over-emphasised comments on Thatcher's Government. The series was written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, with the latter two working independently from Ben, leading to the very disjointed and oddball nature of the episodes; this was part of the programme's charm. The series charted the lives and exploits of four different students living in Central London who meet bizarre people and hurt each other a lot.
The series was famous for its very strange style; episodes would always include something impossible happening both as part of the plot or as aside gags such as talking food, as well as its musical interludes. Not being a young rioter in the early 1980s, I was not even a young human, these can often be annoying 'fast-forward' material although some of the later ones integrate well into the plot.
Follwoing the success of the first series in 1982, the Young Ones (although without Mike, who they claimed had died) toured the country with an awar-winning stage show, which meant that their second and final series in 1984 proved even better in terms of character interactions and coherent plots.
Noteable episodes include:
"BOMB" - a bomb falls out of an aircraft and lands in the students' house, although they don't notice it until they try and get tomato ketchup for Rik's cornflakes out of the fridge. When they do, Vyvian begins ecstatically smacking it with a hammer while Neil paints himself white to deflect the blast and hides under the table.
"BORING" - boredom sets in, although it's not enough for the Young Ones to bother actually going to college. Neil digs himself a grave in case he accidetnally decides to kill himself and Vyvian's entertainment comes when he cuts his own finger off. It's not an accident.
"BAMBI" - the classic University Challenge episode in which Scumbag College take on the Oxbridge Footlights. Despite problems of decapitation on the train journey the students eventually arrive at the show three weeks late and don't stand a chance unless they replace the sensible questions with "who has the world's stupidest bottom burp?"
"NASTY" - the scary (well alright, not really) Halloween episode in which Harry the Ba***rd and a vampire are out to get the smelly students.
"SUMMER HOLIDAY" - the gripping (well, not really) final episode in which the Young Ones hijack a bus but accidentally drive it off a cliff. They're alright though, at least until it explodes.
Needless to say, the Young Ones' target audience seemed to be seventeen to twenty five year olds who would get a kick out of the exagger
ated political humour, although simply calling everything a "Nazi" didn't seem particularly intelligent. Others will have been attracted to the cartoon-style violence, unusual talking things and musical tracks, but for me the real humour just comes from the idiocy and stereotypical nature of the characters, and the way they deliver their lines. Both series are now available on DVD.
TRIVIA: The music in the series, which ranged from Madness to Motorhead with loads of rubbish in-between, integrated well into the plot but is only present so that the show could come under the BBC's 'entertainment' budget, which was larger than its comedy budget.
The early 1990s sitcom "Bottom" stars an older Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondon, although Christopher Ryan makes a number of guest appearances, and while this is often seen as the middle aged equivalent of the Young Ones it doesn't really have much in common. I prefer Bottom's more straightforward style as the silliness of this show sometimes detracts, but I always try and watch it if it's on- an advantage of this programme is that apart from the occasional "b***ard" it's swear-free and will likely be enjoyed by children as well: I know I used to love it.
British alternative comedy was at its satirical prime in the 1980s, and shows such as the Young Ones managed to tread new ground with the franchise as well as make a lot of over-emphasised comments on Thatcher's government. The series was written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, although it's no surprise if only two of those names are familiar. The series charted the lives and exploits of four different students living in central London who meet bizarre people and hurt each other a lot. Running for two series of six episodes each, the Young Ones starred Rik Mayall as 'peoples' poet' virginal fan of Cliff Richard, Adrian Edmondson as insane and violent punk Vyvian, Christopher Ryan as 'cool guy' Mike and Nigel Planer as depressed hippy Neil. Alexei Sayle would also often show up as part of the Russian/Scouse/Cockney Balowski family, crack a joke, and leave. The series was famous for its very strange style; episodes would always include something impossible happening both as part of the plot or as aside gags such as talking food, as well as its musical interludes. Not being a young rioter in the early 1980s, I was not even a young human, these can often be annoying 'fast-forward' material although some of the later ones integrate well into the plot. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------- Noteable episodes include: "Bomb" - a bomb falls out of an aircraft and lands in the students' house, although they don't notice it until they try and get tomato ketchup for Rik's cornflakes out of the fridge. When they do, Vyvian begins ecstatically smacking it with a hammer while Neil paints himself white to deflect the blast and hides under the table. "Boring" - boredom sets in, although it's not enough for the Young Ones to bother actually going to college. Neil digs himself a grave
in case he accidetnally decides to kill himself and Vyvian's entertainment comes when he cuts his own finger off. It's not an accident. "Bambi" - the classic University Challenge episode in which Scumbag College take on the Oxbridge Footlights. Despite problems of decapitation on the train journey the students eventually arrive at the show three weeks late and don't stand a chance unless they replace the sensible questions with "who has the world's stupidest bottom burp?" "Summer Holiday" - the gripping (well, not really) final episode in which the Young Ones hijack a bus but accidentally drive it off a cliff. They're alright though, at least until it explodes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------- Needless to say, the Young Ones' target audience seemed to be seventeen to twenty five year olds who would get a kick out of the exaggerated political humour, although simply calling everything a "Nazi" didn't seem particularly intelligent. Others will have been attracted to the cartoon-style violence, unusual talking things and musical tracks, but for me the real humour just comes from the idiocy and stereotypical nature of the characters, and the way they deliver their lines. The early 1990s sitcom "Bottom" stars an older Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondon, although Christopher Ryan makes a number of guest appearances, and while this is often seen as the middle aged equivalent of the Young Ones it doesn't really have much in common. I prefer Bottom's more straightforward style as the silliness of this show sometimes detracts, but I always try and watch it if it's on- an advantage of this programme is that apart from the occasional "b***ard" it's swear-free and will likely be enjoyed by children as well, I know I used to love it.
Cartoon humour arrived in the BBC 2 post watershed slot back in 1982 and the world was never the same again.... This was in the days of bachelorhood for the dave27 muse and I remember the rumours going around in YOUNG PEOPLE LAND about this mad TV sitcom long before it exploded across our screens. Me and my mates had picked up on Rik Mayall in the crap cult comedy prog, 'A Kick Up The Eighties', when he had made a career out of a Black Country accent in the role of investigative reporter, the abominable Kevin Turvey, and were all ears when we heard about THE NEW PROJECT. It was about a bunch of students living in a flat together, together with their grasping landlord, Jerzy Bulowski, played by the man with the tightest suits in showbusiness, Alexei Sayle, but that was about all we knew. I remember a collection of drunken, drugged up, layabout types huddled round a TV waiting for that first episode in hushed awe. But we were just not prepared for what was about to absorb our consciousness. That first series was scheduled for just six episodes and was penned by Mayall, together with his girlfriend of the time, Lise Mayer, and Ben Elton, who made some cameo appearances in the show, but was then an extremely nerdy, studenty chap. The show was indeed about students, four of the worst students you could ever have imagined and it made huge stars of the participants. They were (in no particular order): Rick, the People's Poet, played by Mayall, as the most despicable and irredeemable character in the entire world. He was convinced he was cool, but was in reality abhorred by the entire universe and we found that his name was spelt with a silent 'P'. He is the ultimate in political correctness, hates THATCHER and is a VIRGIN. Neil (Pye), played by Nigel Planer, was the morbid, eternally depressed, miserable, hippie, the put upon one, the butt of all the jokes, although slightly less unpopu
lar than the abysmal Rick. Mike (Coolperson), played by Christopher Ryan, liked to think of himself as the cool dude, the man of the world, the successful shag piece, although he ain't really. Vivien (Bastard), played by Adrian Edmondson, the loud mouthed, orange haired punk with metal studs across his forehead, the dealer of all sorts of violent retribution upon both Neil and Rick. The Bulowski Family, played by Sayle, an East European collection of thugs, committed to the exploitation of our little bunch of desperadoes. It helps to think of the students as four aspects of a family. Mike is the Father Figure and Neil the Earth Mother, Cook and Housewife. Viv is the violent man child and Rick is the spoilt and irredeemable daughter, and boy do they play up to those roles with a real vengeance. Eventually, they made two series, each of six episodes, before Rik, Ade and Nigel branched off on the unsuccessful 'Filthy, Rich And Catflap', before ditching Planer and finding their true forte with 'Bottom', but the Rik and Viv characters were constant throughout, although Viv mutated into Eddie Hitler late in life. I'm going to stick to just the first series here, but in many ways this tells you all that you need to know about this veritable classic of BBC comedy... 'The Young Ones' was in many ways groundbreaking comedy. It wasn't particularly subtle or clever, and relied on very student like humour, but it was brash and outrageous and noisy and so over the top that it came down with snow on top. It took slapstick to new heights and the violence with which Viv dealt with Rik was a wonder to behold. Suffice to say it variously involved glass windows, cricket bats, Molotov cocktails and a spade. Each episode revolved loosely around a central story, although it was really just the framework for some violent and hilarious set pieces between the main protagonists, an
d there were often quite surreal off script happenings with such doyens of alternative comedy as Robbie Coltrane, Elton, French and Saunders, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. There was also a mid point live performance from a band and these included Madness, Motorhead and The Belle Stars. The episodes were always titled with one odd word and we variously received Demolition, Oil, Boring, Bomb, Interesting and Flood. I'm not going to give you a clue as to plots and one liners, because that would be a waste of time outside of the context of their zany mayhem. You just need to check out this brilliant series and you have two choices - you can either buy the video or alternatively you can catch the repeats on UK Gold if you've got Sky. Be prepared though to ditch your sanity and go with the flow - there's no rhyme or reason involved here, but there is an awful lot of violent jokes and mind bending farce - it's all a bit like Brian Rix with an axe through the head.
The youngs was a T.V. sereies from the early eighties which followed the lives of four students, they are: Rik: An obnoxious virgin, always seems to be on the receiving end when Vyv gets violent. Vyv: A spikey haired ginger punk who's studying to be a doctor. He's pretty insane and hates Rik. Neil: A hippy, the funniest character, all he has to do is say something like "Don't get all uncool and heavy," and I'm in stitches. Mike: The "cool" one out of the group, not that funny really, his best line ever, (on discovering Rik has a girl in his bed, was, "I get the girls around here, there could be a copyright problem." Anyway the story where pretty crazy, plots that spring to mind are the whole house going back in time for no reason. the whole of London being flooded, appearing on University Challenge, robbing a bank, finding a bomb and discovering an oil mine. The episodes were also filled with special guests and each week a band would appear, these included Motorhead and Madness. You can still catch the repeats on UK gold, watch out for it.
Ah, take me back to those days when alternative comedy was really that. An alternative to the bland niceness of sit coms, where there was no over-the-top gratuitous violence or swearing and certainly no tampax jokes. Who can forget the scene, ..."Hello Rhiannon, are you glad you've come to the party?" as Rick playfully bounces the tampon up her arm. Oh yes, they were the days. Settling back in the armchair to marvel at the adolescent humour with adult overtones, giggling at Mike, empathising with Neil, grudgingly admiring Vivien and detesting Wrick (as I used to call him, or Rick with the silent P as Vivien once referred to him). Set around the lives of four students living in the same house, this was a mix of slapstick, carry on and something we'd never quite seen before - unless you were a Saturday Night Live fan and remember Rick and Ade as the Dangerous Brothers. It was anarchic enough to be seriously considered anarchic, but it never crossed any major social barriers offensively. Everything was a pee-take. The series has spawned some fantastic lines, such as:- "Coo,It's a laugh, innit?" "What is?" "That funny noise you make at the back of the throat." "May your seed be fruitful in the belly of your woman." (Has to be said with fingers raised in the peace sign). "You can bet that Cliff Richard didn't write Devil Woman sitting on a clean lavatory." and my personal favourite "Neil, Neil, orange peel." Now for those of you that have never seen any of this show, for a start, Where have you been? and secondly, you've missed some of the best English comedy to struggle out of the 80's which is now considered the staple diet of most successful comedy shows. The above quotes will probably have left you cold, not understanding the jokes at all, but for those of us who can remember th
ese scenes like when a remorseful Wrick is hugging his panda thinking he's murdered Neil and wanders down the stairs wailing the Neil-Neil-Orange-Peel line, it will hopefully have set you off on wistful reminisences with a silly grin slapped on your face. The four characters each represented something about the yoof of the day. Neil - The hippie. Unwashed, lank hair and dressed in sloppy clothes, Neil represented the caring and naive individual who held firm beliefs about the sanctity of life and nature in general. Oh and the occasional joint. I'd like to think he made being Vegetarian acceptable. Mike - The older student. Sunglasses were almost a permanent fixture on the smooth-talking, cool-walking dude, as he smarmed his way through the series. A secret failure, he never let the lads know and manipulated them for his own selfish gains. Once made it to the position of El Presidente. Vivien - Total bastard. Orange spikey hair, fearsome zits, facial piercings and lacking in any social graces, he was frequently seen carrying out unjustified violence against either Neil or Wrick, whoever was closest. Had a deep passion for his hamster, SPG. Wrick - The Gimp. Fancying himself as the People's Poet, Wrick has tickets on himself and harboured some very disturbing sexual habits. Behaves like an obnoxious 11 year old because he basically still is one. Fantasises about Felicity Kendall. Around these main characters, you have guest appearances, usually by people like Steven Frost, Keith Allen, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders who played various bizarre characters, whatever would fit into that week's theme. Alexie Sayle was the most regular of the guest, and he would usually appear as Uncle Jerzy the Landlord. He also made a guest appearance with his band and sang the great "Dr. Martens Boots". Other guest artists who have contributed to the weekly musical interlude have included
, Rip, Rig and Panic, Nine Below Zero and Madness. I would like to thank Christopher (Mike), Nigel (Neil), Ade (Vivien) and Rik (Wrick) for giving me some right good belly laughs, a collection of suitably stupid and puerile phrases that are still occasionally trotted out, and the knowledge that life really can be that difficult when you're a moron. Ooooooooh Heavy heavy heavvyyyyy!
Alternate comedy was given a shot of adrenaline in November 1982, when The Young Ones first hit our screens. It ran from then until June 1984, with 2 series, six episodes to a series and is one of the finest British sitcoms of all time. It wasn’t until The Young Ones that sitcoms had shown limb or digit amputations, decapitations, arcing jets of snot, or extreme pain being inflicted on Rik Mayall, usually involving Ade Edmondson and a cricket bat. The show also lay the foundations for Rik and Ade’s comedy series, Bottom, on which I was raised to be the rude and offensive human being I am today. Students ---------- The show follows the hilarious antics of four students living in a house, which they rent from Jertsey Bolovski (Alexei Sayle). The Young Ones showed students in a new light, and founded a new stereotype for them. They are not hard-working, well-turned-out individuals, but scruffy, skint virgins, and they all have a completely different personality. Vivien Vivien Basterd, the studded denim-clad medical student is played by Adrian Edmondson. He has a throbbing hatred of Rick and spends most of his time beating him senseless with various household objects and is often the source of many other violent out breaks in the house, such as arson and mass destruction. Neil Neil Pye, the suicidal hippy environmentalist is played by Nigel Planer. He is constantly abused and injured by his housemates, as well as being made to cook all the meals, which usually consist of lentils, but the odd snow risotto can be seen. Neil’s certainty that everyone hates him fuels his attempted suicides, which all go terribly wrong. Rick Rick (Rik Mayall) (I can’t remember his surname) is dead set against fascism and hates the pigs (police to any of you upper classes). Constantly protecting his Cornflakes from Vivien has made the two worst enemies, although his hatred for Vivien can never over
come his hatred for hippies i.e. Neil. Mike Mike Coolperson pretends he has girls fighting over him all the time and always keeps his cool in a crisis. He never goes into college (much like the others) and only stays because he’s blackmailing his superiors. Mike is the only person in the house who doesn’t have any major enemies and is respected by all. Alexei Sayle not only stars as Jertsey Bolovski, but the entire Bolovski family. He’s also responsible for some memorable songs such as ‘Dr. Martin Boots’ and ‘Stupid Noises’. Although each episode concentrates on the four housemates, they are interspersed with various sketches and music acts. Many famous faces first appeared on The Young Ones, such as Robbie Coltrane, French and Saunders, Lenny Henry, and Hale and Pace. Although Christopher Ryan and Nigel Planer did move on to other comedy ventures, it was Rik and Ade who continued together as an amazing double act, which they started in the days of Saturday Night Live as ‘The Dangerous Brothers’. Since the show Nigel Planer has tried to shake off his image as Neil, but has failed because he played the part so well and is probably the nations favourite character. He teamed up with Rik and Ade again in the comic strip short films, ‘Three men in a car’ and ‘Three men on a plane’. Here a guide to each episode of the two series. *The episode information is quoted from The Young Ones series 1 and 2 video covers* Series 1 --------- Written by : Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lisa Mayer Produced by : Paul Jackson Directed by : Geoff Posner Total Running Time: 200 mins approx ‘DEMOLITION’ ‘Fascist oiks at the Town Hall want to demolish the house. Why bother with Vyv around to do the business for them?’ ‘OIL’ ‘As Rick, Vyv, Neil and Mike move into their new
house, the talking statue at the front door begins an odessey of zaniness that is to culminate in a worker’s revolution and a fully fledged benefit concert in the front room.’ ‘BORING’ ‘Is life really that boring for the four students? A terrorist siege in their own house; a visitation from Hel; a fairy tale world that flourishes while they sleep. A yet they are so B-O-R-E-D that Neil is driven to dig himself a grave and Vyv chops a finger off.’ ‘BOMB’ ‘A potentially explosive situation erupts when a bomb falls on the house …But worse! The TV license man calls.’ ‘INTERESTING’ ‘It’s party-time! Where else could you mingle with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, a giant sandwich and a singing tomato? Pretty amazing stuff eh? Just ignore Neil’s boring hippy friend chilling-out in the fridge…’ ‘FLOOD’ ‘While London floods Rick tries to elevate proceedings with a game of hide-and-seek. Meanwhile his sociology file is set on fire by Vyv, Mike’s room is occupied by a pride of lions, and landlord, Alexei Sayle turns into an axe-weilding homicidal maniac.’ Series 2 --------- Written by : Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lisa Mayer Produced by : Paul Jackson Directed by : Geoff Posner Total Running Time: 206 mins approx ‘BAMBI’ ‘Who produced the world’s stickiest bogey and the world’s stupidest bottom-burp? Who’s smashing the oiks on University Challenge and who’s swatting away for teacher like a total spazmo?’ ‘CASH’ ‘Hey man! It’s really weird! Strange things keep happening. Like plates are disappearing and the tables keep, well, shrinking. Looks like there’s a poltergoost in the house…’ ‘NASTY’ ‘Ashes to ashes, fu
nk to funky, Vyv is now a video head and Neil’s wearing a dress because some really selfish negative vibe merchant boarded up his bedroom. Only pop music can save them now.’ ‘SICK’ ‘There’s bogeys on the blankets and snot on the sheets when Neil and the others come down with the worst colds in the history of civilisation!’ ‘SUMMER HOLIDAY’ ‘Hey, everybody! School’s out! Hurray! Hurray! Except, like there’s nothing to do, man, apart from getting on a big red bus and having a really explosive trip. It should be pretty good fun, actually.’ Memorable quote ---------------------- ‘Oh you should have heard me in the Undertakers Mike. I kept making all these jokes about him coming round to measure my stiffy!’
This is the altimate 80's comedy for me. The humour is fantastic. The Young Ones started off the alternative comedy front and even up to this day it is still going. In this programme you will meet Rick (Rik Mayall), Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson), Neil (Nigel Planer) and Mike. It is chance to see these fantastic comedian actors at their youngest and best! There are also lots of nice intermissions in the storylines from Alexei Sayle and this comedy gives a fresh alternative to properly scripted and laid out comedy. It almost seems that some of the programme is improvised. It's funny and strange and the characters are fantastic. Look at for the last episode, it is the best!
Starring: Rick: Rik Mayall Vyvyan: Adrian Edmonson Neil: Nigel Planer Mike: Christopher Ryan If you don’t already know, The Young Ones was a series running in the early eighties featuring 4 male students sharing a house in North London. It first appeared on BBC 2 in November 1982, and ran until June 1984, but has been repeated numerous times since then. Although there were only two series in total, each one consisted of six programmes, one a week, it contained many of the UKs best comedians around today. The characters played by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson also set the stage for what became known as “Bottom”. Rick is a sociology student who professes to be rebellious, and goes around shouting “Fascist” at people in the post office, Vyvyan is an anarchic punk medical student, Mike, a rather suave (but short) self-styled playboy type, and Neil is a hippie. The Young Ones was the epitome of eighties Britain – socialist students, fighting the establishment, poll tax, giros, grants, Anarchy, “The Pigs”, “Thatcher!” etc… Series One (1982): “Demolition”, “Oil”, “Bomb”, “Boring”, “Interesting”, and “Flood”. Series Two (1984): “Bambi”, “Cash”, “Nasty”, “Time”, “Sick”, and “Summer Holiday”. One of my favourite episodes called “Bambi” is when The Young Ones go on University Challenge representing “Scumbag College” against “Footlights College, Oxbridge” (a team which consists of Ben Elton (Kendal Mintcake), Stephen Fry (Lord Monty), Emma Thompson (Miss Money-Sterling), and Hugh Laurie (Lord Snot)). Griff Rhys Jones appears as Bamber Gasgoine (the question master). It is so funny watching the two teams, one of which is actually *above* the other, as the camera
angles on the real University Challenge used to suggest. Even the trip down to the television studios on the train is funny, with Neil swatting up on possible answers, Rick going over his History O’Level notes in the vain attempt to revise for the show, and Vyvyan reading the “The Daily Mirror Book of Facts: Did You Know”, which contains trivia classics such as: “The World’s Loudest Bottom Burp”, and “The World’s Stickiest Bogey” (both apparently by Toxteth O'Grady, U.S.A) Another favourite episode is where Vyvyan “eats” the television, when the TV licence man comes round, because they haven’t got a licence, and because it’s a kind of “punky” thing to do – and he is left with just the cord and the plug hanging out of his mouth. NEIL: Oh, no! It's the TV Detector Van! RICK: MIKE, YOU B******D! Why didn't you buy a license? I can't go to prison! I'm too pretty! These shows were absolute classics, and launched the careers of some of the UKs best comedians. French and Saunders used to appear on the show regularly, as did Alexei Sayle, playing numerous characters from the Balowski family, including the Young Ones’ foreign Landlord, Jerzy. Robbie Coltrane also appeared in one episode as “Dr Carlisle”, as did Hale and Pace, Mel Smith, and Tony Robinson, amongst others. The Young Ones also used to have a band on every show, playing in some room in their house, and featuring some real eighties classics such as Rip, Rig and Panic, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and Madness (who played at “The Kebab and Calculator” a nearby pub where Vyvyan’s Mum worked). They also had Motorhead, and The Damned, as well as Alexei Sayle singing a song about Dr Marten Boots. Some real features of the show include: - Rick’s Poems – throughout both series, Rick designates himself as
220;The People’s Poet”, and manages to write about anything from Cliff Richard to Trotsky, and Pollution. - Mike’s absolutely terrible jokes. (which would definitely qualify for the “tumbleweeds and bell-tolling silences” featured in Shooting Stars after Vic Reeves’ jokes): TV LICENCE MAN: Where's your licence? MIKE: As the eunuch said to Mussolini, “I haven't got one, and if I did, I wouldn't show it to you!” NEIL: That was a really cheap joke, Mike. MIKE: I'm saving up to pay the licence fine …And who would be without the animated household objects – such as the rotten vegetables in the fridge (the singing tomato, or the disabled carrot), or a plug-socket in love, or even the flies making a “Fly on the Wall Documentary”!!!! Another example classic line: RICK: [look at Vyvyan flatly] Well, someone's got to do it, Vyvyan! It's very easy to sit on your backside, isn't it? VYVYAN: Not if you haven't got a bottom! There are several BBC videos available of The Young Ones, in different episode compilations. I bought “The Very Best of the Young Ones” in the budget section at Virgin for £5.99. Videos currently available include: The Young Ones – Cash/ Interesting/ Summer Holiday The Young Ones – Demolition/ Bomb/ Sick The Young Ones – Oil/ Boring/ Flood The Young Ones – The Complete Young Ones Series 1 The Young Ones – The Complete Young Ones Series 2 The Young Ones – The Very Best of the Young Ones My advice is to go for the “complete series” videos, as on just two tapes you get the entire series, so it’s cheaper, *and* takes up less space on your video collection shelf (or in my case “Video Collection Room”!) Also, look out for re-runs on TV, I know both The Comedy Channel, a
nd UK Gold have shown episodes again on Sky, so keep an eye out. Finally, if you want a really big laugh, buy a compilation video with the episode “Bomb” on it (First Series), if only for the “Dicky and Dino” sketch. Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer feature as two American TV show hosts, with a penchant for golf. It is hysterical.
Another classic BBC comedy. This short running series was absolutely hilarious. It revolved around the lives of a group of students living in absolute squalor. Neil the hippy, Mike the cool guy, Vivian the punk and Richie the communist student. This program was of course the precursor to Bottom, and has both Rik Mayall and Ade Edmundson, as Richie and Vivian respectively. It also starred Alexei Sayle from time to time in various roles, and had some great cameos. Watch out for them, although my favourite was Madness. Classic 80's comedy.