Entertainment & Arts

Rik Mayall: His best lines

The Young Ones
Image caption The Young Ones ran for two series between 1982 and 1985

Here is a selection of some of the funniest lines from the late Rik Mayall's comedy career.

The Young Ones

Mayall played obnoxious, poetry-writing anarchist Rick in The Young Ones, a man obsessed with Cliff Richard, starring alongside his friend and comedy partner Adrian Edmondson as Vyvyan. Their slapstick comedy and schoolboy humour achieved cult status.

Rick (Ode to Cliff Richard): Oh Cliff / Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if / You really are a cliff / when fascists keep trying to push you over it! / Are they the lemmings / Or are you, Cliff? / Or are you, Cliff?

Neil: Wow... that was really pretty bad, Rick

Rick: Bad for society when the kids start to get into it!

Rick: I'm going to write to my MP!

Neil: But you haven't got an MP, Rick, you're an anarchist.

Rick: Oh right. Then I shall write to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Rick (to Madness who are performing in the pub): Do you lot know Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard?

Suggs: You hum it... I'll smash your face in.

Rick: I'll go sit over there.

Rick: God, I'm bored. Might as well be listening to Genesis.

Rick: What are you doing, Vyvyan?

Vyvyan: I'm entering a contest to win a Ford Tippex. You have to say what Cornflakes mean to you in 10 words. So I said: Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes. Cornflakes.

Rick: Pathetic! You'll never win, Vyvyan.

Vyvyan: Why not?

Rick: It's only nine words.

Vyvyan (writing): Corn... flakes!

Rick: This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say: "But why are the kids crying?" And the kids will say: "Haven't you heard? Rik is dead! The People's Poet is dead!"


Mayall and Edmondson played Richie and Eddie, two flatmates who lived on the dole in Hammersmith, London. As well as three TV series and five tours, it spawned the film Guest House Paradiso. The violent slapstick often involved fires, explosions and hefty blows to the head with a frying pan.

Richie: What about pin the tail on the donkey?

Eddie: We haven't got a donkey.

Richie: Well, pin the tail on the chicken.

Eddie: We haven't got a tail.

Richie: Oh. Well, pin the sausage on the chicken?

Eddie: We haven't got a chicken.

Richie: Well, pin the sausage on the fridge.

Eddie: Or a pin.

Richie: Sellotape a sausage to the fridge!

Eddie: We haven't got a sausage!

Richie: Put a bit of sellotape on the fridge!

Eddie: It's not much of a game, is it?

Eddie: Why are you putting mayonnaise on your face?

Richie: It's not mayonnaise, it's sun tan lotion.

Eddie (examining bottle): Never heard of low calorie sun tan lotion.

Richie: What? Oh no, blast! Oh God! Oh! Argh-rrgh! Phuh! Well where's the sun tan lotion then?

Eddie: You squirted that into your cheese roll.

Richie: But I ate that!

Eddie: Yeah, I know.

Richie: Well why didn't you tell me?

Eddie: Because I don't like you very much.

Richie: "Eddie, have you strained your vegetables?"

Eddie: "No it's just these hired trousers are a bit tight!"

Richie: This is just my London pomme-de-terre. My main castles are scattered all over the place, you know, 'cause I never know where I'm going to be... Bloody fox hunts go on for ever these days, don't you find? Never know where you're going to end up. Start off in Burke-shire, end up in... ah, eh, eh - Twat-shire!

Blackadder II

Lord Flashheart only appeared in two episodes of Blackadder, written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis. But Mayall managed to make the sex-obsessed, daring action hero one of the show's most memorable characters.

Flashheart: It's me, Flash! Flash by name, Flash by nature. Hurrah!

Blackadder: Where have you been?

Flashheart: Where haven't I been! Woof!

To Baldrick (dressed as a bridesmaid): Thanks, bridesmaid. Like the beard. Gives me something to hang on to!

To Lord Melchett: Hey Melchie! Still worshipping God? Last thing I heard He started worshipping ME...

To Nursie: Ah Nursie, I like it firm and fruity. Am I pleased to see you or did I just put a canoe in my pocket?

Blackadder IV

Flashheart: Hi, Flashheart here. Yeah, cancel the state funeral, tell the King to stop blubbing. Flash is not dead. I simply ran out of juice! Yeah, and before all the girls start saying "Oh, what's the point of living anymore", I'm talking about petrol! Woof, woof!

Flashheart: Enter the man who has no underwear. Ask me why.

Others: Why do you have no underwear, Lord Flash?

Flashheart: Because the pants haven't been built yet that'll take the job on.

Flashheart: Just because I can give multiple orgasms to the furniture just by sitting on it, doesn't mean that I'm not sick of this damn war: The blood, the noise, the endless poetry.

The New Statesman

Mayall played the corrupt, sleazy and utterly odious Conservative MP Alan B'Stard in the uproarious political satire The New Statesman, written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, which ran from 1987 to 1992 as well as returning for a number of specials.

Alan B'Stard: I suppose life's just too easy for me. I mean, I'm incredibly rich, I've got the largest majority on the House of Commons and, if I was any better looking, I think people would suspect I was an android.

Alan B'Stard: We hear an awful lot of leftie whingeing about NHS waiting lists. Well the answer's simple. Shut down the health service. Result? No more waiting lists. You see, in the good old days, you were poor, you got ill and you died. And yet these days people seem to think they've got some sort of God-given right to be cured. And what is the result of this sloppy socialist thinking? More poor people. In contrast, my policies would eradicate poor people, thereby eliminating poverty. And they say that we Conservatives have no heart.

Alan B'Stard: Who in this country was not moved when that great Englishman, Gazza, wept bitter tears at the World Cup last year? People thought that he was crying because he had been booked by the umpire and so would miss the final. But that was not the reason. He was crying at the thought that the Conservative government, the only government this young hero had ever known, was behind in the opinion polls.

Alan B'Stard: Why should we, the country that produced Shakespeare, Christopher Wren - and those are just the people on our banknotes for Christ's sake - cower down to the countries that produced Hitler, Napoleon, the Mafia, and the... the... The Smurfs!

Alan B'Stard: You know the really great thing about a fudged coalition is that neither of us need to carry out a single promise of our election manifestos.

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