TRIBUTES have been paid to beloved Droitwich actor and comedian Rik Mayall, who died earlier this week.
A statement was issued by the 56-year-old’s management company, Brunskill Management, to say he had passed away suddenly on Monday morning.
The star, who was born in Harlow in Essex, moved to Droitwich Spa when he was only three years old along with his three siblings, performing in shows at the Norbury Theatre, and attending King’s School in Worcester.
His parents John and Gillian Mayall were both drama teachers, and the young Rik Mayall appeared in productions written by them.
Clive Tudman from the Norbury Theatre said: “He liked Droitwich and he enjoyed it. Whenever he was here you usually saw him about, he’d come into the theatre. We saw him regularly.
“The first recollection I have is when he must have been about 16 his father who was a lecturer in Drama and an actor of ours did the play Waiting for Godot. The last line in that is a youngster running across the stage shouting ‘Godot isn’t coming’, and that was Rik. He was just an extrovert character.
“Sometimes his dad wrote scripts and his mum directed them. Rik always came to see the shows that they’d done, he always used to slip in at the last minute just before curtain up.
“He always had time for people if they approached him. He was just a genuinely nice person, but he’d still got that wicked sense of humour. I think his humour was in the family. It was just good fun knowing him.”
The actor rose to fame in The Young Ones as the obnoxious poetry-writing anarchist Rik, where he launched his life-long comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, and the two went on to work together in violent slapstick sitcom Bottom and its spin-off film ‘Guesthouse Paradiso’.
He also became a children's favourite with his animated reading of George's Marvellous Medicine for Jackanory, and appearance in the film 'Drop Dead Fred'.
He starred in two particularly memorable episodes of Blackadder as the scene-stealing Captain Flashheart, and also managed to sneak in a mention of Droitwich to the Blackadder episode ‘Bells’, while he immortalised nearby Redditch with his turn as self-styled investigative journalist Kevin Turvey in sketch show 'A Kick Up the Eighties'.
In 1998, the father of three was involved in a quad bike accident near his home in Devon, and he was discovered unconscious, remaining in a coma which lasted for several days. However he made a full recovery from the incident and returned to acting.
Droitwich residents took to Twitter to voice their sadness at his death.
Carol Ross said: “RIP Rik Mayall. My home town of Droitwich, where you spent your childhood, will remember you always.”
Andy Willetts said: “Gutted to hear about Rik Mayall. He was a fantastic comic actor and a Droitwich lad to boot.”
Sheryl Browne added: “Have to share. Once met Rik Mayall in Droitwich park. It was raining. He was smiling. RIP. God bless. Xx”
Rik Mayall himself only ever published one tweet. Typical of his style, it read: “Opening my very own Twitter to stop another b*****d from doing it. So f**k off & don’t expect to hear from me any time soon. Love Rik x”