British Comedy: The Young Ones FAQ (1/2) v1.43

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The Young Ones FAQ (1/2) v1.43
Created and maintained by Andrew Wong ( )
Last updated 13 September 1997


1. What is THE YOUNG ONES ?
2. How did it start?
3. What were the episodes ?
1. Demolition
2. Oil
3. Boring
4. Bomb
5. Interesting (the gang hold a party)
6. Flood
7. Bambi (the gang go to the launderette, and University Challenge)
8. Cash
9. Nasty
10. Time
11. Sick
12. Summer Holiday
4. Who were the regular cast and crew ?
5. What have they done since ?
1. Adrian Edmondson
2. Rik Mayall
3. Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall
4. Nigel Planer
5. Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer
6. Christopher Ryan
7. Alexei Sayle
8. Ben Elton
9. Lise Mayer
6. Merchandise
1. Videos
2. Books
1. Batchelor Boys:The Young Ones Book (Updated!)
2. Neil's Book Of The Dead
3. Singles
1. Cliff Richard and The Young Ones:Living Doll
2. Neil: Hole in my shoe
3. Neil: My White Bicycle
4. Album - Neil: Neil's Heavy Concept Album
7. Other articles on the Internet
8. Contributors and thanks

What is The Young Ones?

The Young Ones is a British-made television sitcom made in 1982 and 1984,
about four totally mis-matched students sharing a house together in the
early 1980s.

But like all classic television programmes, it transcended its' roots to
become the classic British comedy series of the early 1980s, helping to
launch the then-alternative comedy scene into mainstream TV culture.

Like Monty Python in the 1960s and The Goodies in the 1970s, it
occasionally went into surreal sketches and characters that retained a
vague, at best link to the main narrative.

Almost every significant "alternative" British comedian of the late 1980s
and 1990s were featured in The Young Ones, either on screen or behind the
scenes. People such as Chris Barrie, Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, Dawn
French, Stephen Fry, Hale & Pace, Lenny Henry, Hugh Laurie, Norman Lovett,
Griff Rhys Jones, Tony Robinson, Jennifer Saunders, Mel Smith, and
two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson got their first starts on television
through The Young Ones.

How did it start?

During the late 1970s to early 1980s, the British "youth" culture was (yet
again) in a vague alternative rebellion. Punk had hit the music culture,
with bands like The Sex Pistols spitting on stage, and saying naughty
swear words on live television, shocking mainstream conservative Britain.

The comedy scene was no exception. Alternative comedians were now coming
to the fore, with their brand of "toilet" humour mixed in with a bit of
left-wing political satire and a few swear words.

During this time, Rik Mayall (Rick), Adrian Edmondson, (Vyvyan) and Ben
Elton had all graduated with a drama degree from Manchester University,
and headed for The Comedy Store in London. This was the "centre" of the
alternative-comedy scene. Ben Elton established himself as a stand-up
comedian and became the main compere at the Comedy Store.

Mayall and Edmondson had set up a double-act called Twentieth Century
Coyote, and then later created the manic "Dangerous Brothers" - a clear
template for Rik and Vyvyan. Nigel Planer (Neil) and Peter Richardson
(later in The Comic Strip) were also a double-act entitled The Outer

The original plan for The Young Ones would have throw these two
double-acts together. However, for some reason Peter Richardson either
rejected the idea, or was not considered. Apparently, (according to
someone who spoke to Adrian Edmondson), Ben Elton wanted to replace him,
but the production team felt he was a better writer than actor.

At this time, Christopher Ryan (a stage actor, not a comedian) was in a
play called CAN'T PAY, WON'T PAY. Andy De La Tour (an alternative
comedian) recommended him for the role, Paul Jackson (the producer) saw
him at the play, and the rest is history...

What were the episodes?

There were two series of six episodes each, making a grand total of twelve

First, I will quote the backsleeve of the relevant episode from the BBC
video, followed by any comments I may have. The scripts for each episode
may be available illegally from the British Comedy Library at


Season 1 (1982)


"Fascist oiks at the Town Hall want to demolish the house. Why bother with
Vyv around to do the business for them ?"

This was the pilot episode, and it shows. All the essential elements that
made The Young Ones what it is is there in one form or another, but some
elements of the characters are expanded upon here and others contracted.
Mike is more of a self-styled ladykiller, Neil keeps trying to commit
suicide, Rick's poetry and love of Cliff Richard is more fanatical, and
Vyvyan makes his entrance through a wall. The band playing in the living


"As Rick, Vyv, Neil, and Mike move into their new house, the talking
statue at the front door begins an odyssey of zaniness that is to
culminate in a worker's revolution and a fully-fledged benefit concert in
the front room."

Moving into an new house, Vyvyan finds oil in the basement. This was made
six months after Demolition, yet transmitted the week after it. Infamous
moments from this one include Buddy Holly singing about insects, the two
hard-working executives taking a holiday in front of a 20-watt bulb, Neil
having six pairs of arms and Radical Posture / Alexei Sayle singing about
Dr. Marten boots.


"Is life really that boring for the four students ? A terrorist siege in
their own house; a visitation from Hell; a fairy tale world that
flourishes while they are asleep. And yet they are so B-O-R-E-D that Neil
is driven to dig himself in a grave and Vyv chops his finger off."

It's an average boring normal day in Studentville - or is it? This
features a walk down Abbey Road (in London) to the Kebab and Calculator
(in Bristol), the three bears, a red dwarf from Hell called Footoomch
(sp?), Vyvyan's mother, and Madness singing House Of Fun. Anyone who was
in Studentville will know days like this :-)


"A potentially explosive situation erupts when a bomb falls on the house
.... But worse ! The TV licence man calls."

The lads find an atomic bomb and try to auction it to the highest seller.
This involves Neil painting himself white to deflect a nuclear blast, the
Dicky and Dino show, and Dexys' Midnight Runners singing "Jackie Wilson
said" in the toilet. Footage of a plane dropping the bomb precedes the

"Haven't you really got anything better to do" fact: - Notice that when
the gang switches on the TV to find out what's going on, the picture of
the test card is actually stuck onto the TV, and the camera swings around
to hide this fact after the TV has outlived its' usefulness...


"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 ... "

This one features Jennifer Saunders with toy mice in her handbag, Neil on
the moon, Rick's sociology professor Jim Morrison, Cinderella and Santa
Claus. The song is "You're My Kind Of Climate" by RIP, RIG AND PANIC,
featuring a young Neneh Cherry. If you've ever held a party as a stoodent,
you may well sympathise with this one..


"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-wielding homicidal maniac."

It starts with the guys being bored, and Neil repeatedly bashing himself
in the face with a frying pan. The guys also try to eat Neil when he
returns from the supermarket empty-handed. Vyv hides in the wardrobe and
ends up in Narnia. No band or music.


Season 2 (1984)


"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
swotting away for teacher like a total spasmo?"

The lads compete on a game show (representing Scumbag College) against
some upper-class students from Footlights College, Cambridge while The
Elephant Man tries to convince Tony Robinson that he is an elephant.

Probably the most famous episode, this is especially appreciated after
exams! This features Motorhead performing Ace Of Spades with a rare
4-piece line-up, and lots of British stars of the future, including
someone who will later fall to pieces in front of 500,000,000 viewers
across the world...


"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...."

Our heroes find themselves running out of money, Vyvyan announces his
pregnancy and Neil becomes a police officer. The song is Subterranean
Homesick Blues performed by (amongst others) Jools Holland, Glen Tilbrook,
and Stewart Copeland (of The Police).


"Ashes to ashes, funk 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."

The video revolution catches with the gang as they decide to rent some
nasty videos with plenty of sex and violence. Of course, a vampire
(naturally from South Africa) tends to ruin things. The band playing in
the living room are The Damned with Video Nasty. This episode has a
different beginning sequence, presenting the episode as if it were a
horror film.


"Vyv's being violently and copiously sick because Rick's like scored with
a chick and the whole house has like gone through some kind of time warp."

Can it be true ?!! Rick found a girlfriend ?!!! This episode also starts
with different credits, a Dallas parody featuring a secretary typing with
her nipples... The band are Amazulu, performing "Moonlight Romance"


"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 !"

Neil has a cold, and even Vyvyan's cure of drilling a nail in his head
doesn't quite work, which is a pity since it sparks off a street riot.
They're also taken hostage by Brian Damage, an escaped murderer. But their
troubles are forgotten as the real horror happens - Neil's parents come to
tea!! Also features a good parody of "The Good Life" (aka "Good Neighbors"
in the US), Madness singing "Our House" and the return of Vyvyan's mother.


"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."

In the final episode, the summer holidays beckon. Rick's parents die, and
they are all thrown out of the house with no money. Will Rick be forced to
sell his body ? What will our intrepid heroes do next ? The music is
brought to you by John Otway, singing Body Talk.

Who were the regular cast and crew?

Rick, the political anarchist studying Sociology (or was it Domestic
Science?) who was a poetic genius, adored Cliff Richard and rude words,
was played by RIK MAYALL.

Vyvyan, the violent medical punk student who liked lager and curries was
played by ADRIAN EDMONDSON. He had orange hair and four metal stars glued
to his forehead. The back of his jacket says VERY METAL. His little pet
was Special Patrol Group (SPG), a Scottish hamster with an attitude....

Neil, the lentil-loving depressed hippie studying Peace Studies and
occasionally abused by his friends was played by NIGEL PLANER

Mike, the cool "straight" one who has lots and lots of girlfriends (or so
we think) and incriminating photos of the Dean, was played by CHRISTOPHER

The writers were:

* Ben Elton (also a stand-up comedian)
* Lise Mayer (still writing sketches)
* Rik Mayall

Additional material was by Alexei Sayle. The director was Geoff Posner.
The producer was Paul Jackson, who went on to produce Red Dwarf, and was
head of programming at Carlton Television...

Ed Bye was a production assistant. He later went on to direct GIRLS ON
TOP, promoted as the "female Young Ones" and starring French and Saunders.
He directed some episodes of Red Dwarf and now directs and produces The
Full Wax. He's also married to Ruby Wax.

What have they done since?

Adrian Edmondson

* Bottom (with Rik Mayall)
* Absolutely Fabulous - a food reviewer
* The Comic Strip Presents...Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase as Gregory
* If you see God, tell him (1993)

He is married to Jennifer Saunders (writer and star of Absolutely
Fabulous) and on a Hysteria AIDS benefit concert said "You might remember
me .. I used to be very funny. But it's been a long time since The Young
Ones, and I've just come to this benefit to boost my sadly flagging
career, though I don't know what the f**k this do is all about."

He also co-wrote a book entitled How to be a Complete B*stard. His first
novel, The Gobbler, is now available in paperback.

Please refer to the Adrian Edmondson FAQ for more info.

Rik Mayall

* Shock Treatment as Ricki, the male nurse
* The New Statesman as Alan B'stard, a right-wing Tory MP
* Drop Dead Fred - his first Hollywood movie with Phoebe Cates
* Rik Mayall Presents.... - a series of six 60-minutes TV films
* Blackadder 1: final episode as Mad Gerald
* Blackadder 2, Blackadder Goes Forth: Lord Flash-heart

and much much more. Refer to the Rik Mayall FAQ for more details.

Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall

* The Dangerous Brothers - made before The Young Ones were written.
* Waiting for Godot: the stage play
* Bottom (with Rik playing Richard, and Adrian playing Eddie Hitler)
* Blackadder Goes Forth (Private Plane)

Nigel Planer

* King and Castle as a pacifist martial artist employed by a debt
collection agency
* Roll over Beethoven: a short-lived ITV sitcom with Liza Goddard.
* Trials of Oz: played John Peel (Radio 1 DJ) in a re-enactment of The
Trials Of Oz
* Brazil (film) as one of the technicians unable to plug the hole in
Buttle (or is it Tuttle?)'s ceiling
* Yellowbeard (film): bit part
* Blackadder The Third (Nob and Nobility) as Lord Smedley
* Nicholas Craig Masterclasses as a pretentious actor doing 10-minute
acting lessons on BBC2. Brilliant !
* Bonjour La Classe as a French teacher
* The Comic Strip Presents...Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase as the
* An American Bud Lite commerical as a restaurant reviewer
* Shine On Harvey Moon
* A constable in one of Granada's Sherlock Holmes adaptations

He has also co-written a novel with Robert Llewelyn (Kryten, Red Dwarf)
entitled "Therapy - How to Avoid It". Priced at ?10, the ISBN number is 0
340 64905 4.

He also contributed a foreword to "Zen and the Magic of Roundabout
Maintenance", a book about the Magic Roundabout written by Dougal and
Zebedee (well, actually Roger Planer). The ISBN number is 0 14 090379 8,
and was priced at ?4.99

Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer

* Filthy, Rich and Catflap
* The Comic Strip Presents... Eat The Rich with Rik as the Union
organiser, Nigel as the unemployment office worker, and Ade as an
obvnoxious posh guy.
* The Comic Strip Presents... Bad News - a spoof British heavy metal
band, like Spinal Tap. They had the dubious honour of performing
with Weird "Al" Yankovic on his version of Bohemian Rhapsody...
* and many other COMIC STRIPS, which deserve an FAQ of their own...

Christopher Ryan

* Waiting for Godot - the stage play (with Rik and Adrian)
* Santa Claus The Motion Picture - one of the elfs
* Doctor Who: Trial of a Time Lord (Mindwarp)
* One Foot in the Grave - a plumber
* Absolutely Fabulous: Edina's first husband with a horrible New-Age
American wife
* Bottom - as Hedgehog, in Accident, Holy and Parade (with Rik & Ade)
* Back To School, Mr. Bean
* Only Fools and Horses

He's predominately a stage actor, and was in Guys And Dolls and Off The

Alexei Sayle

* Alexei Sayle presents... STUFF
* The Alexei Sayle Show
* Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
* Dr Who: Revelation of the Daleks
* Paris
* Gorky Park - as a black marketeer in Moscow
* Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special

Ben Elton (writer, playwright, actor/comedian)

* Co-wrote Blackadder 2, Blackadder 3 and Blackadder Goes Forth.
* Released many comedic albums, including Motormouth, and Motorvation.
* Written four novels - Stark, Gridlock, This Other Eden, Popcorn
* Written three plays - Gasping, Silly Cow, Popcorn
* Co-hosted Friday Night Live and Saturday Night Live (UK)
* Much Ado About Nothing (1993) - as Verges, Michael Keaton's sidekick
* Stark (1993) - a BBC-ABC (Australian) co-production, as CD.
* The Thin Blue Line (1995,1997) - a sitcom set in a police station
starring Rowan Atkinson, with Ben Elton as writer and producer

For more info, please refer to the Ben Elton FAQ

Lise Mayer

* Paramount City (London Underground - U.S.) - producer
* No Cure For Cancer - worked with Denis Leary
* Montreal Comedy Festival - wrote a sketch with Rowan Atkinson as a
Canada tourism salesman
* Amassed Hysteria! - co-edited the book with Rachel Swann.

She was the girlfriend of Rik Mayall at the time - until he left her when
she was pregnant for his current wife (at least according to a feature on
him in GQ Magazine). She has also allegedly "dated" with Rowan Atkinson,
Harry Enfield and Angus Deayton... though she's collaborated with Angus
Deayton on a number of writing duties.


For more information on the other actors mentioned, try other sections of
the British Comedy Library, refer to other World Wide Web sites, or E-mail
me ( -- I may have the press biographies.



United Kingdom
All 12 episodes are available on two double-tape packs from BBC Video, on
PAL VHS Hi-Fi Stereo tapes for ?16.99 per double-tape pack. Each
double-pack lasts about 200 minutes long, and is rated 15. They were
released by BBC Enterprises in 1992, and the video catalogue numbers are
BBCV 4788 and BBCV 4789.

There is also a compilation tape, called THE VERY BEST OF THE YOUNG ONES,
which has the episodes Bomb, Boring, Bambi, Interesting, and Summer
Holiday. On PAL VHS tape, it costs ?12.99, and the video number is BBCV

United States and Canada
CBS FOX have now released all the episodes of The Young Ones onto 4 NTSC
videotapes priced at $14.98 (Can$ 16.95 ?) each.

Each tape contains three episodes, consisting of :

Tape 1 Oil, Boring and Flood No. 5402
Tape 2 Bambi, Nasty and Time No. 8440
Tape 3 Cash, Interesting and Summer Holiday No. 8441
Tape 4 Demolition, Bomb, and Sick No. 8442

These Young Ones tapes should be available from your local video retailer
(such as Suncoast,.Best Buy and National Record Mart) - or these outlets:

MediaMart at
They seem to be the cheapest at US$12.99 per tape
VideoFlicks at
Located in Toronto, they charge US$13.99 (CAN$ 17.99) per tape
A1 Video at
They charge US$14.98 per tape
425 E Colorado Street
CA 91205
Tel: +1 800 343-4727
Direct Video
Tel: +1 800 461 1651

Videofinders charge $67.42 for the entire set, which includes postage and
packing. Don't forget to tell whoever you order from that the British
Comedy Library on the Internet sent you here!

You may care to note that the tapes have not been issued in order of
broadcast release, and the videos have been edited in some areas,
presumably for copyright reasons.

Cash has been edited, so as not to feature the "Subterranean Homesick
Blues" musical segment. What happens is that SPG shouts "Don't tell 'em
you're a pacifist!" and there's a crossfade to outside the recruitment
office, with new incidental music. Also in Nasty, the sequence of Neil in
the darkened bathroom singing "Hello Darkness, my old friend" has also
been cut out.

If you want the complete Young Ones, without edits, then there are
specialist video retailers in North America, who may have an NTSC copy of
the Complete Young Ones, and plenty of other British programmes,

The WVIZ Store BFS
1108 South Park Center BFS Inc.
Strongsville, Ohio 44136 350 Newkirk Road North
Tel: (216) 846-8793 CANADA

Tel. +1 800 268 3891

You can buy two subtitled Young Ones video tapes in the Netherlands:
SCV 36129: contains Bambi, Nasty, Time
SCV 96064: contains: Cash, Interesting, Summer Holiday

The tapes are marketed by Warner Home Video, and can be obtained at Free
Record Shops and some video rental shops in the Netherlands for about Hfl

Melody Line sells The Young Ones double-video packs, as well as other
British comedy videos. They are on the Web at,
and their Email address is You can also
call them on +46-31-17 39 50; or fax them on +46-31-13 97 95.


Australia and New Zealand Japan

Head of Marketing (Video) Head of Marketing
Polygram Video Pony Canyon Video Inc.
Unit A 3-3-5 Kudan Kita
122 McEvoy St. Chiyoda-Ku
Alexandria Tokyo 102
Tel. 612 318 8666 Tel: 813-3221-3151
Fax: 612-319-4758 Fax: 813-3221-3168


The BBC Shop
P.O. Box 1QX
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE99 1QX
Tel. +44 (0) 191 222 0381
BBC Video Enterprises (consumer inquiry line)
Tel. +44 (0) 181 576-2236

Otherwise you'll have to buy all 12 episodes on PAL format from the BBC,
then find a nice willing person with an NTSC/PAL/SECAM converter (as
appropriate). You could get together with others and share the costs. With
postage and packing, both tapes would cost ?51.48. If you're interested,
let me know...


First published in 1984, it was last re-printed in the UK in 1989, with an
Australian re-print in September 1993. Edited by Terence Blacker, the ISBN
number is 0 7221 5765 7. It's currently out of print, but you may be able
to track it down via out-of-print specialists Skoob, in London on +44 171
404 3063.

It was published by Sphere Books, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, UK but
they may well have moved on from there.

It's a book written by the "gang" and contains tips on how to cheat in
exams, how to spot a French exchange student, the joys on hitch- hiking,
an interview with David Bowie, and nude shots of the boys!!

It also gives the full names of the gang :

* Neil Pye
* Vyvyan Basterd
* Mike TheCoolPerson

Kristen Mirenda says :

"A sort of parody of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The book was
basically Neil's philosophy of life and a guide to living a
Neil-like hippyish alternative-lifestyle. It featured such things
as a guide to determining your health through urine color; Neil's
reminiscences of his first drug experience; some quasi-pagan
rituals; and how to write a job application that will guarantee
you don't get hired. Brief mention is made of his roomate Rick
but other than that I don't remember any YO references."

The US ISBN no. is 0-517-55964-1. Again, this is out of print, and even I
don't have a copy!


Cliff Richard and The Young Ones : Living Doll
As part of the Comic Relief fund-raising drive in 1986, this single was
released, which hit no.1 in the UK charts in March 1986. It was also
performed live at the Comic Relief concert, available on video. It was on
WEA Records, catalogue YZ65 for the 7" version. It states on the sleeve
"Coming soon: the book, the LP, the chocolates..." :-)

A video was made to accompany the single, which deviated quite a bit from
the single, and also featured Hank Marvin from The Shadows (Cliff's
original backing band....) The video is available from most of the Comic
Relief compilation tapes that are invariably released around the next
Comic Relief telethon.

The song was also performed for the Comic Relief concert, but a few
changes were made. It was announced that the total and utter king of rock
and roll was in fact John Craven (a newsreader who specialised in reading
the news to children from 8 to 15).

The B-side to that was (ALL THE LITTLE FLOWERS ARE) HAPPY. A transcription
of this is available from the FTP sites

Neil - Hole In My Shoe
A cover of the old 1960s classic, it got to no.6 in the UK charts. A 12"
of this song was also released, which apparently is roughly the same, but
with extra bits (talking and freaky sounds) tagged on at the end.

To promote the single, Neil/Nigel performed Hole In My Shoe live on TOP OF
THE POPS. It was quite a memorable performance because half way through it
he stumbled and knocked down the scenery (some Athenian-style pillars) and
this was transmitted live... It has apparently become an oft-repeated
clip, and is embedded in BBC2's "Boxpops" show.

Neil - My White Bicycle
As a result of the success of Hole in My Show, this single was released
and an album duly made. The B-side was Cosmic Jam and both tracks can be
found on the album. A 12" version was also released. It was released on
WEA Records (1984), and the 7" catalogue number is YZ30.


Encouraged by the success of Hole in My Shoe, an album duly followed,
called NEIL'S HEAVY CONCEPT ALBUM, produced by Dave Stewart (not from the
Eurythmics, but the one who did IT'S MY PARTY with Barbara Gaskin). Hole
In My Shoe is on that album, as is a track entitled Lentil Nightmare. The
back cover is like the Sgt Pepper back cover with black words on a red
background, and a group photo at the bottom, with three Neils facing
forward and another with his back to the camera. The sleeve notes are
available, if you so desire.


Other items on the Web

This is part one of the Young Ones FAQ - part two goes into much greater
depth, and is available from the British Comedy Library, along with many
other FAQs, scripts from most episodes and a transcript of the B-side to
Living Doll.

The British Comedy Library is on the Web at, and contains all the above
information plus this FAQ in Web format, with extra graphics!

I also maintain the Rik Mayall FAQ, the Adrian Edmondson FAQ and the Ben
Elton FAQ.

I did have a copy of an interview I did with Christopher Ryan but that
seems to have mysteriously disappeared... If you can find it, let me know!

If you have any material, please let me know so I can incorporate it here.

Contributors and thanks

This was once a small document before it mutated out of all control,
thanks partly to the folk below...

* Paul Herzog for transcribing quite a few scripts! (Must be bored...)
* Bill Houston and his friend for transcribing NASTY.
* James Kew for co-ordinating most of this stuff on ze 'Net...
* Alexander Lum for his valiant efforts to produce a FAQ.
* Chris McCulloch, for transcribing some more scripts!
* Kristen Mirenda ( for transcribing Bambi and CASH,
other items and pointing out other factual errors.
* Kristin Sabo for giving me some source information.

Thanks also go to "Baron Mind", Roderick Begbie, Oliver Bertrand, Paul
Burgin, Greg Cawthorn, Paul Claypole, Nick Cole, Mike Coughlin, Jon
Drukman, Michelle Fox, Chris Grace, Paul Herzog, Stuart Jackson, Bert
Keuken, Paul Lee, "Fingers Malone", Ryan Mooney, Rick Moore, Greg
O'Beirne, Russ Perry Jnr., James Poole, Steve Rapport, Mike Richards,
Simon Rowell, Annie Sattler, Cameron Shepherdley, Stephen Slater, Michelle
Street and Roger Walker.

I would like to thank all the above, and anyone else I haven't named for
their help and contributions.


That concludes the Young Ones FAQ. All opinions are mine unless otherwise
stated, and I take no legal responsibility for any crossed lines that
occur as a result of this document...

If you're after British books and audio books, may I recommend Bookpages,
a British-based Internet bookstore at
If you want any British videos or other items, sometimes I can endeavour
to get them for you, and I can accept most currencies. Let me know...

If you have any queries, questions, corrections or comments, please write
to me at or consult my Web pages at

This FAQ is postcard-ware i.e. if you truly like it, then I would
appreciate a postcard from you! My address is:
10 Gerllan, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9DE, UNITED KINGDOM.

My name was Andrew Wong, thank you and goodnight !
Copyright @1997 Andrew Wong
Last updated 13 September 1997

Andrew Wong WWW:
-----x----- Internet:
Rick: "Honestly, I don't know why I Take a candle to the British Comedy
bother sometimes..." Library above for FAQs, biogs,
Vyv: "I don't know why you bother ever." images, sounds and interviews!

Andrew Wong

Mar 18, 2004, 4:15:22 AM3/18/04
Archive-name: tv/british-comedy/young-ones/part2
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Version: 1.43
The Young Ones FAQ (2/2) v1.43
Created by Andrew Wong (

Last updated 13 September 1997

This is part 2 of the FAQ, designed for "the anal retentive" who wants to
know everything there ever was to know about The Young Ones. If you need
some catching up, might I kindly refer you to part one of the FAQ, which
has the main information on there, such as where to see it and where to
pick up video tapes...

1. Who featured in the series ?
1. Mark Arden and Stephen Frost
2. Robbie Coltrane
3. Ben Elton
4. Dawn French
5. Gareth Hale and Norman Pace
6. Jools Holland
7. David Rappaport
8. Tony Robinson
9. Jennifer Saunders
10. Alexei Sayle
11. Special Patrol Group
12. Other people who feature occasionally
2. British slangs and -isms
1. Quick definitions
2. Cliff Richard
3. The two-fingered salute
4. TV licences
5. O-levels and A-levels
6. Felicity Kendall
3. Quotable Lines
4. Rick's (The People's Poet) Peoples' Poems
1. Cliff
2. House
3. Pollution
4. Free-Form
5. The Peoples' Poem
6. Rick's Teen Anguish Poem
7. Rick's Trotsky poem
5. Cliff Richard and The Young Ones - a bit of the script.
6. Location (Updated)
7. The strange person at the back of the house
8. Memories of the time (Updated)
9. When was it transmitted ?
10. What are these flash-frames I keep hearing about ?
11. Reactions to the Young Ones
12. Looking back on the Young Ones
13. Little bits that don't fit in anywhere else
14. Spin-offs
15. Other articles on the Internet
16. Contributors and thanks

Who featured in the series?

Mark Arden and Stephen Frost

* Boring: two policemen in the front page of The Guardian
* Interesting: two party crashers
* Cash: two Elizabethan ghosts
* Nasty: two secret agents (Sweater & Ruffles)
* Sick: two muck-men, Mick & Tess

Robbie Coltrane

* OIL: Sully the bouncer at Mike's roller-disco
* BAMBI: Dr. Carlisle who finds human beings the size of amoebas
* TIME: Captain on the Pirate Radio show hosting the Dull Religious
Music Show

Ben Elton

* DEMOLITION: the presenter of Nozin' Around
* BAMBI: Kendal Mintcake, the Oxbridge oik who was given the Socialist
Worker Party for his birthday
* FLOOD: The blind DJ interviewing an armless female singer
* SICK: The schoolboy in the Grange Hill spoof
* SUMMER HOLIDAY: the guy in the advert drinking Hawk lager

Please see the Ben Elton FAQ for more details...

Dawn French

* INTERESTING:the violent Bible-bashing preacher
* NASTY: the Devil in the Pain-Away commercial
* TIME: The Easter Bunny

Gareth Hale (the one with the moustache) & Norman Pace

* NASTY: two grave diggers
* TIME: two peasants

Jools Holland

* CASH: part of the band
* SUMMER HOLIDAY: the punk with the enormous mohawk at the bank

David Rappaport (the dwarf in TIME BANDITS and LA LAW)

* BORING: Ftmsch, the red dwarf from Hell
* FLOOD: Shirley, the Wicked Witch's servant

(He later killed himself partly due to the lack of serious roles)

Tony Robinson

* BAMBI: The doctor looking after the Elephant Man
* NASTY: one of the criminals bound for Australia

Jennifer Saunders

* INTERESTING: the party-goer with lots of toy mice in her handbag
* TIME: Helen Mucus, Rick's girlfriend ?!!!

Alexei Sayle (The Balowski family)

* DEMOLITION: Jerzei Balowski, their Polish landlord.
* OIL: Alexei Yuri...Balowski, the lead singer of the band.
* BORING: Billy Balovski, Jerzei's clinically insane brother, who drove
in from Brazil to imitate a Dalek using a cactus pot.
* BOMB: Reggie Balowski, the Cockney arms dealer.
* INTERESTING: drunk party-goer who pukes all over a posh person.
* FLOOD: Jerzei (the landlord), who turns into an axe-wielding
homicidal maniac.
* BAMBI: A train driver
* CASH: A police officer who looks remarakbly similar to Mussolini and
becomes a stand-up comedian at nights
* NASTY: A South African Communist vampire - or is he ?
* TIME: Host of "Jester Balowski's Medieval Torture Hour"
* SICK: Brian Damage Balowski, an escaped murderer
* SUMMER HOLIDAY: Jerzei Balowski, the dreaded landlord

Special Patrol Group

Vyvyan's pet, a Scottish hamster with an attitude who likes sleeping
in front of Vyvyan's car, and giving Glasgow kisses to teddy bears.

People who occasionally pop up

* Mark Arden: BOMB as the "gay" husband on the cornflakes packet
* Helen Atkinson-Wood: NASTY as the woman condemned to Hell
* Chris Barrie: NASTY as Captain of the ship bound for Australia
* Arthur Brown: FLOOD
* Alan Freeman: CASH and SUMMER HOLIDAY as God
* Stephen Fry: BAMBI as Lord Snot, a contestant on University Challenge
from Footlights College, Oxbridge.
* Ronnie Golden: OIL as Buddy Holly
* Lenny Henry: SUMMER HOLIDAY as the Nazi postman
* Terry Jones: NASTY as the drunken priest. Better known as a member of
the Monty Python team.
* Hugh Laurie: BAMBI as Lord Monty from Footlights College
* Helen Lederer: SUMMER HOLIDAY, as the female "Good morning sir" bank
* Norman Lovett: SUMMER HOLIDAY - the owner of the Penny Arcade
* Lise Mayer: SUMMER HOLIDAY, as the woman Ben Elton is chatting up in
the Sharp advert (?)
* Paul Merton: TIME, as a Yokel under his real name "Paul Martin"
* Griff Rhys Jones: BAMBI as the quiz-host of University Challenge.
* Roger Sloman: BOMB as the TV licence inspector
* Mel Smith: BAMBI, the security guard at Granada studios.
* Emma Thompson: BAMBI as Miss Money-Sterling, the Oxbridge oik who
has a Porsche.
British slangs and -isms

Quick definitions

* Biro: Bic / ball-point pen
* Bob's your uncle: there you are etc.
* Call: to visit or telephone someone (erm....)
* Flares: bell-bottoms
* "Number two's" (slang): faeces / poo / s**t (rhyming slang)
* out on the pull: trying to find a mutual partner of the opposite sex
for the evening
* Pavement: Sidewalk
* Ring: call on the telephone
* skiving: to shirk away from doing any work
* snog: any kiss that isn't platonic <;-)
* Sorry?: Huh ? What ?
* take the piss: to make fun of, to deflate one's Ego
* ta: Thanks (informal)
* wanker: derogatory term for a person who masturbates

Cliff Richard
He is such an institution in the UK, I find it difficult to believe no-one
in the US has heard of him, but anyway...

Cliff started out as being Britain's answer to Elvis Presley in the 1950s,
and at one stage he out-sold Elvis. Like Elvis, he starred in a few
British films that involved Cliff saving Youth culture from the big square
daddy-ios, films like THE YOUNG ONES, and SUMMER HOLIDAY - in which Cliff
chartered a London bus to take his chums to Greece for a holiday and a
quick snog... Cliff also sang the title tune to The Young Ones (film), the
same tune which is used as the opening credits for The Young Ones (TV)

He is still going strong today, selling out auditoriums mainly to
middle-aged women. Currently starring as Heathcliff in a musical based on
Wuthering Heights, he is also reknown for his Christian beliefs.

For a guy who's 50 years old, it's amazing he's managed to stay so long in
the business. And it cannot be denied he has a better voice than most
"pop" stars today. The quality of the songs he sings are rather
questionable to say the least...

Basically, he's not the sort of artiste a hip, happening politically aware
student like Rik would be into. It's your typical tacky pop star that
British students have a unique fascination for...

The two-fingered salute
The UK equivalent of the middle-finger salute, though not as rude. It's
like saying Piss Off or something equally strong.

TV licences (BOMB)
The BBC does not rely on advertising for its' revenue. Instead any
household that owns a TV in the United Kingdom must pay a licence fee for
the privilege of owning a television. The money is then handed over to the
BBC and used to fund its' programming.

It's illegal to own a TV without a licence so TV detector vans
periodically patrol the streets looking for TV receivers. Then the house
is checked with the TV licence records, and if the house does not have a
licence, the house is in biiiiiiig trouble - a fine of up to 2000 pounds
(US $3000) can be charged. At the moment, a year's licence costs around 80
pounds (US $120)

Students are reknown for not paying their licence. I only got away with it
because I wasn't in when they came knocking at my door !

O-levels and A-levels
O-levels were the exams taken by 16 year olds before they left school. A C
grade was considered a pass. You needed 5 passes to be allowed to the next
stage of British education, which was usually A-levels. Generally, British
students take 3 A-levels, and the grades you eventually get determine
which university you get to. If you get AAA, you get to go to the great
universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Bradford :) If you get less than
that, you are more likely to head for the "red-brick" universities or the
polytechnics (vocational colleges)

O-levels were eliminated in 1987 in favour of GCSEs. Many older people
tend to complain that GCSEs are much easier than O-levels...

Felicity Kendall (sigh)
She was one of those British actresses who used to pop up on safe,
middle-class British sitcoms in the 1970s like The Good Life, Good
Neighbours etc. She was also voted Rear Of The Year some time in the early
1970s. It is rumoured that many teenagers growing up in the late 70s like
The Young Ones developed crushes on her. It's also a sympton of the
stoodent population liking things totally unyouthlike e.g. the current
trend for Johnny Cash, Mr. Blobby and Are You Being Served?

(by the way, she apparently appeared nude in Tom Stoppard's play Indian
Ink last year...)

Quotable Lines


* Neil: "Oh wow!"
* Neil: "Guys, there's some dinner on the floor if you want it"
* "Wow, I hope we don't have a crash..."


* Rik & Vyv: "Neil, your bedroom's on fire !"
* Neil: "No way man ! Everyone knows sleep gives you CANCER!"


* Neil: "I just looked at it and it blew up !"
* Policeman: "That's white man's electricity you're using." (to be used
with heavily emphasised smilies !)
* Neil: "Guys, why don't we, like, try going to lectures tomorrow ?"
Mike: "Neil, I know things are bad but there's no need to panic ! No,
I'll just treat this problem like my mattress - and sleep on it."
* Rick: "Wouldn't it be amazing if all this (Monopoly) money was real?"
Vyv: "Rick, that is the single most predictable and boring thing that
anyone could ever say whilst playing Monopoly."


* Neil: "It's like the kettle killed itself rather than be used by
* Mike: "If people weren't sick, we wouldn't need penicillin"
* Mike: "A social conscience is like a garden fence, you try to eat it,
it'll get stuck in your throat."
* Rick: "No, YOU put my address down. Rick, 15 Credibility Street" (at
the Social Security office)
* Rick: "Tomorrow everyone in England will be free, and there will be
no more social prejudice or hatred. GET UP NEIL, I HATE YOU !!!!!!!"


* Neil's hippie friend Neil: "My barely adequate psychic defences are
crumbling !"
* Rick: "You bought me a present! It's a telescope -- a telescope with
a mouse in it!"
* Professor Jim Morrison: "Wow, what is this stuff - tobacco or ...Pink
Floyd ?"
* Neil's hippie friend Neil: "Wow - it's so uncoool !"


* Rick: "God, I'm bored. Might as well be listening to Genesis"
* Rick: "There's nothing poofy about a man wanting to love his fellow
man- It's just when they start touching each others' bottoms...." -
(to be used with heavy smilies)
* Vyv: "I put it (serum that turns you into an axe-wielding homicidal
maniac) in a Coke can so nobody'd drink it by mistake."
Neil: "You know, I just bet that a bit later on someone does drink
that and turns into an axe-wielding homocidal maniac."
Rick: "Yes, I bet that as well. That's just the sort of crazy
imaginative thing that happens around here."
* Mr. Balowski: "Ah, Coca-Cola, symbol of free West!"
* Rick: "There's no one in here, Mr. Balowski! We're all holograms !"
* Neil: "Oh, well, out of one frying pan, into another frying pan."


* Vyv: "You haven't got a sister, Rick! You're the classic example of
an only child."
* Vyv: "This calls for a very special blend of psychology and extreme
* Rick: "Honestly, I don't know why I bother sometimes..."

Vyv: "I don't know why you bother ever."

* Neil: "Socks aren't vegetables,man, they should be wiped out !"
* Rick: "Hands up who likes me !"
* Miss Money-Sterling: "I've got a Porsche -bwaha haha ha" (a.k.a. Emma


* Vyv: "Neil, is it really necessary to nail the plates to the table?
What happens when we want to play Monopoly? Go directly to plate? Do
not pass plate nailed to the table by a stupid hippie?"
* Neil: "Boom shanka...May the seed of your loins be fruitful in the
belly of your woman."


* Rick: "Oh, that's right, Vyvyan. If the mountain won't come to
Muhammed, smash the drawing room to pieces. That's very Buddhist,
isn't it!"
* Rick: "Neil, the bathroom's free! Unlike the country under the
Thatcherite junta."
* Rick: "Neil, is it really necessary to have the light on when you're
in the bath?"
Neil: "Well, yeah."
Rick: "Why, what are you planning to do - photosynthesize?"
* Mike: "What's that thumping?"
Vyv: "Oh, it's probably Rick doing a bit of reading."
* Vyv: "YES !! WE'VE GOT A VIDEO !!!"
* Mike: "I hate to say anything negative, but no."
* Vyv: "Rick, shut up or I'll kill you."
* Neil: "Flares are coming back in -- I read it in my horoscope!"
* Rick: "Neil, how are you keeping that flowerpot up?!?"
* Rick: "Oh, no. The front door's exploded."
* Vyv: "'Vyvyan, Vyvyan, Vyvyan!' Honestly, whenever anything explodes
in this house, it's always 'blame Vyvyan!'"
* Rick: "What, me, Rick, a virgin? Try telling that to some of the foxy
chicks who owe me favours."
* Rick: "So in fact, all four of us have stayed up for the entire
night. Now that's what I call anarchy!"


* Neil: "Oh no, I'll die if I miss 'Scooby-Doo'!"
* Rick: "And that's Vyvyan....being sick"
* Mike: "Last one to find the jungle animal has to take off all their
clothes. (to Helen Mucus) All right, your turn."


* Rick: "We never clean the toilet, Neil! That's what being a student
is all about!"
* Neil: "I hope Mike hurries back with the cure!"
Vyv: "No Neil, it's Madness this week!"

Summer Holiday

* Mr. Balowski: "Aw, some sod broke your chair! That's 20 pounds you
owe me."
* Rick: "What's the difference ? There'll be plenty of chicks for these
tigers on the road to the promised land ! Who cares about Thatcher
and unemployment ? We can do just exactly whatever we want to do !
And do you know why ? Because we're Young Ones ! Bachelor Boys ! Wild
eyed big bottomed anarchists ! LOOK OUT !!! CLLLLLIIIIIFFFF !!!"
(which is *not* the last line in The Young Ones...)

Rick - The Peoples' Poet and his Poems

For your delectation and delight, some of Rick's superb poems...


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?

(According to Jon Drukman, it's the second line that makes sense but Rick
has to go and mess up his own poem :)


House, house, house
Oh, you are made of stone
But you are not alone
-Ly house!

Pollution (BOMB)

First, an extreme close-up of Rick squeezing a spot/boil/pimple

All around
Sometimes up
And sometimes down
But always around.
Pollution, are you coming to my town?
Or am I coming to yours?
We're on different buses, pollution
But we're both using petrol


Long, blue boomerang...

The People's Poem (FLOOD)

What do you think you're doing, pig?
Do you really give a fig, pig?
And what's your favourite sort of gig, pig?
Barry Manilow
Or the black and white minstrel show?

Rick's Teen Anguish Poem (from the book)

oh god,
am I so much more sensitive than everybody else ?
do I feel things so much more acutely than them,
and understand so much more.
I bet I'm the first person who's ever felt as rotten as this.
could it be
that I'm going to grow up
to be a great poet and thinker, and all those other wankers in my class
are going to have to work in factories or go on the dole?
yes, I think it could.

Rick's Trotsky poem (from the book)

Today, I saw a dog,
Yes, a dog.
Talking to a pig,
Yes, a pig.
They were on the pavement,
Discussing Trotsky.
Not brotsky or crotsky or drotsky or frotsky.
But Trotsky.

Cliff Richard and The Young Ones - Living Doll (a bit of the script)

It goes something like this....

Neil: "Look out everyone, he's coming through the doors."
Vyv: "BRILLIANT ! He didn't even open them...."
Neil: "He's here !!!!"
Mike: "Quick Rick, do the speech."
*Music starts* (Video - the Young Ones walking down a street,
Rick pointing at the camera)
Rick: "Hey kids, stop snogging and pay attention to me. 'Cos if
you're a wild-eyed loner standing at the gates of Oblivion,
hitch a ride with us. 'Cos we're on the last freedom moped out
of Nowhere City, and we haven't even told our parents what
time we'll be back ! So put on your dancing trousers, and get
down to the utter King of Rock and Roll, CLIFF RICHARD !!!"
(jumps in the air)
Cliff: Got myself a crying, talking, sleeping, walking, living doll.
(singing) Got to do my best to please her just 'cos she's a livin' doll.
Got a roving eye and that is why she satisfies my soul,
I've got the one and only walking talking livin' doll.

OK guys, ready Vyv?
Vyv: Completely ready when you are, Shaky!
Cliff: Neil?
Neil: Does anybody know where the toilets are?
Cliff: Mike?
Mike: Hey, does all this money really have to go to charity?
Mike: Yes it does, Michael! Hi Cliff, it's me !
Cliff: Who are you?
Rik: Huh he, great joke, Your Majesty!

Cliff: (singing) "Got myself a crying, talking, sleeping, walking
living doll"
Ones: (singing rather badly) "Living doll"

Cliff: "Got to do my best to please her, just 'cos she's a living
Ones: "Living doll"
Cliff: Got a roving eye and that is why she satisfies my soul
Ones: "'Fies my soul!
Vyv: Fies my soul ?!
Rik: Yes Vyvyan, it's raunchy!
Mike: Shut up guys!

All: (singing) I've got the one and only walking talking living
Rick: OK daddy-io! Lay the next funky riff on me!
Mike: He means, "What happens now?" Cliff.
Cliff: The instrumental break.
(twangy guitars)
"Great, which instruments do you want us to break?"
"Guitar" (sound of guitar played very badly, followed by
Vyv: smashing noises)
"Piano" (same again)
"Violin" (blah blah)
Rick: "Vyvian's trousers" (ripping noises)
Vyv: "Rick's head" *thud*
Neil: "Yeah! Ah, ah, Neil's head!" *thud*
Vyv: Hey! Cliff's head!
All: "No! No! NO!"
Rick: (singing)Oh take a look at her hair, it's real.
Neil: If you don't believe what I say ...
Mike: ... just feel!
Rick: Fwooaaarggh!
Mike: So no big hunk ...
Cliff: ... can steal her away from me.
(more twangy guitars)

Rick: "I still think locking girls up in a trunk is politically
Mike: "It's only a song, Rick."
Neil: "Well, I feel sorry for the elephants."
Cliff: Got myself a ...
Neil: ... crying ...
Vyv: ... talking ...
Mike: ... sleeping ...
Rick: ... walking ...
Ones: ... livin' doll!

Cliff: Livin' doll. Got to do my best to please her just cause she's
a livin' doll.
Ones: Livin' doll!
Cliff: OK guys, harmony now.
Young (very unharmonious) Got a rovin' eye and that is why she
Ones: satisfies my soul
Cliff: 'Fies my soul.
All: I've got the one and only walking talking livin' doll!
Rick: Oo-oo-oo-oo-ooooooh!
Cliff: I've got the one and only walking talking livin' doll!
(flourish, end of guitar riff)
Cliff: Erm... can I go now?
Rick: Er, yeah, thanks, Cliff, bye!
(Vyv hits Cliff with a club, Cliff falls to floor)

Rick: "Right kids, if you don't buy this record, you're an utter
utter utter utter utter ..."

(Meanwhile Vyv knocks out Mike and Neil, then Rick ('utter
ut-*thwack*-ter...'). He then looks around the room, looks at the camera,
smiles, shrugs, and then knocks himself out. The picture reverts to snow,
and on the record there seems to be a scratch.)

If you can remember the rest off the top of your head, let me know!


Although The Young Ones was based in London (they were all supposedly at a
North London polytechnic), the street scenes were filmed in Bristol,
because Paul Jackson was in Bristol when he was thinking about The Young

* The house is at 1 Coddrington Road, off Broadway Road, Bishopston,
* The train station in Bambi is Bristol Temple Meads.
* The Kebab And Calculator (their local as seen in Boring) is actually
The Cock O' The North in Henleaze, Bristol, though the landlord is
reputed to be a complete b*stard. Interestingly, it's one of only two
round pubs in the UK.
* In Bomb, Rick walks past Coopington Road...
* The police station in Cash is actually the Bristol North Swimming
Baths on Gloucester Road. The army careers office he goes to first is
about 50 yards down the road (and is actually an RSPCA charity shop
now). Both are about 100 yards away from the shop used as a
launderette in Bambi.
* The Swimming Baths also conveniently doubled as the "Fascist Pig
Bank" in Summer Holiday. The getaway car is parked beside a line of
bollards outside what is now the Bristol Flyer pub which is next door
to the baths.

(Just shows the lengths to which this FAQ has been carefully researched ;)

The strange person at the back of the house

(from Simon Jansen -

"Haas anyone else noticed the strange person who appears to share the
flat with the guys. If you look carefully in the first five episodes
you can see a mysterious person with long black hair who appears
sitting against walls in the background of quite a few scenes. He
has his hair over his face but it looks like another hippy. Once you
have noticed him he is very obvious! Places I remember seeing him
are sitting to the left of the screen in INTERESTING when Vyv tries
the new vacuum cleaner, behind Mike in DEMOLITION when he's reading
the TV Times and in BORING, he's next to the cupboard when the old guy
comes out from under the stairs. I can spot him in the first five
episodes but not after that. Does anyone know who this is?"

Kristen Mirenda thinks it could be the ratty human-sized stuffed animal
(teddy bear?) that's usually propped up in the hall.

Greg O'Beirne said "it's just meant to be a sort of surrealist sight gag.
It struck me as rather weirdly funny to have what I thought was a corpse
just sitting in the lounge room with nobody noticing it."

Ryan Mooney commented:

"The best places to see him are (in Demolition) when Rik sits down to
watch Nozin' Aroun'... and (in Bomb) when Vyv hits Neil over the head
with the kettle that has killed itself rather than be used by Neil.
It's no teddy bear - it's another hippie! It's not a corpse either -
it's in a sitting position and holding its hands. I have no
explanation, but as he appears in Bomb and Demolition (the only eps I
have so far examined for evidence), and these eps were made over six
months apart, it's not a one-off thing - there must be a reason!"

And while we're on the subject of strange things, the back of the house
(behind the kitchen area) appears to have been completely re-built between
Seasons 1 and 2. I guess the gang came into some money in an untelevised
adventure :-)

Memories of the time (from someone who was there!)

with many thanks to Stuart Jackson

"I had just started college in England (Hull) when The Young Ones
first started - Autumn 1982. By the third episode, word had got
round so much about how good it was, all the public TV rooms in
every hall of residence and in the Students' Union were jammed to
the rafters. It was a great atmosphere. In March of 1983 the
Young Ones did a university tour, and Hull was one of the venues.
I was lucky enough to get a was a sell out. Only
Rick, Vyv and Neil were there. Apparently, they'd killed Mike
(but he was miraculously revived for the second series). Rik
Mayall warmed up the crowd doing Kevin Turvey, a Brummie
Investigator which he'd done on an earlier show called "A Kick Up
The Eighties". Rik and Vyv then came on and did their stuff for
about 15 minutes. Then Neil came on to rapturous applause - at
which point Rik and Vyv told him in no uncertain terms to f***
off. They wouldn't continue the show until everyone in the
audience was screaming "f*** off, Neil". The show lasted about
two hours and remains the funniest live show I've been to.

The second series first aired in spring 1984, and was even more
popular - by this time I was living in conditions very similar to
that of The Young Ones. One of my most vivid memories of the time
was trying to keep warm by putting my hands in front of the open
fridge. It really does work you know."

Apparently, Nigel Planer also embarked on a tour in 1984 as Neil, just
after the second series was aired. He charged around ?1,000 per gig...

Transmission dates

First season premiere (on BBC2, 9:00pm to 9:30pm)

Tuesday 9 November 1982 Demolition
Tuesday 16 November 1982 Oil
Tuesday 23 November 1982 Bomb {Boring}
Tuesday 30 November 1982 Boring {Bomb}
Tuesday 7 December 1982 Interesting
Tuesday 14 December 1982 Flood

Average ratings for this series were 2,800,000 viewers.

The concert tour was during Spring 1983, and hit Hull University (one of
the great universities of the UK :) in March.

Thursday 5 May 1983 Demolition (repeat)
Thursday 12 May 1983 Oil (repeat)
Thursday 19 May 1983 Bomb (repeat)
Thursday 26 May 1983 Boring (repeat)
Thursday 2 June 1983 Interesting
Thursday 9 June 1983 Flood

Second season premiere

Tuesday 8 May 1984 Bambi {Sick}
Tuesday 15 May 1984 Cash
Tuesday 29 May 1984 Nasty
Tuesday 5 June 1984 Time {Sick}
Tuesday 12 June 1984 Sick {Time}
Tuesday 19 June 1984 Summer Holiday

The average ratings were 4,600,000.

Monday 18 March 1985 Demolition (second repeat)
Monday 25 March 1985 Oil (second repeat)
Monday 1 April 1985 Bomb (second repeat)
Monday 15 April 1985 Boring (second repeat)
Monday 22 April 1985 Interesting (second repeat)
Monday 29 April 1985 Flood (second repeat)
Monday 13 May 1985 Bambi (first repeat)
Monday 20 May 1985 Cash (first repeat)
Monday 10 June 1985 Nasty (first repeat)
Monday 17 June 1985 Sick (first repeat)
Monday 24 June 1985 Time (first repeat)
Monday 1 July 1985 Summer Holiday (first repeat)
Saturday 29 April 1989 9.55pm-10.30pm Time (second repeat)
Tuesday 29 August 1989 Bambi (second repeat)
Tuesday 5 Sept 1989 Cash (second repeat)
Tuesday 12 Sept 1989 Nasty (second repeat)
Tuesday 19 Sept 1989 Sick (second repeat)
Tuesday 26 Sept 1989 Summer Holiday (second repeat)

(This set of repeats had 6,500,000 viewers....)

The University Challenge clip from Bambi was repeated during the 1989
Comic Relief on 10 March 1989. This lead to the 2nd repeat of Time later
on in the year, as part of the BBC2 Anniversary screenings. The success of
this prompted the repeat of the other five episodes.

The titles in brackets are those listed wrongly in the Radio Times.

When SKY TV was launched, The Young Ones were regularly repeated, first on
The Comedy Channel and now on UK Gold. Alas, these were heavily cut to fit
within the 30 minute time-limit.

The Young Ones was also shown on MTV US in 1986 (the ultimate accolade :),
SuperChannel and on Dutch television. It has on occasion been repeated on
Comedy Central.

What are these flash-frames I keep hearing about ?

As you may (or may not) know, the illusion of moving pictures (and hence
television) is created by flashing 25 pictures per second in front of your
eyes. If these pictures consecutively show someone moving, then the person
appears to move before your very eyes...

Of course this can be abused, as in the case of subliminal advertising
(I'll get there in a second, don't worry....) It was rumoured that 1950s
films and TV shows would occasionally throw up a message in just one frame
saying "Drink Coke" or something like that. Thus the subconscious brain
would get the message, whilst the conscious brain would remain completely
unaware of this, save perhaps a surprised blink of the eye.

A couple of pictures that are completely irrelevant to the plot of The
Young Ones pops up every once in a while during the programme.

In the second season, flash-frame images included a dove in flight, a
jumping frog, a skier, a dripping tap and the "The End" caption from
Carry On Cowboy.

Reactions to the Young Ones

Upon the first screening of the pilot episode to the BBC's Head of
Variety, he was apparently "completely baffled..." However, the programme
was given a go-ahead for its' first series since Channel 4 had just been
created, and the BBC was scared that Channel 4 would end up recruiting all
the raw talent.

Looking back on the Young Ones

Rik Mayall said he chose to use students because he wanted to use an
excuse to have four people sitting around all day for a sitcom, and he
felt it wasn't the right time to have a comedy series about people on the
dole (unemployed). "I wanted them to be privileged, and for people to hate

Rik on his character: "Rick rants and raves, he's over-energetic,
unpredictable and quick tempered. I was a bit like that when I was, say,
15. I wouldn't say he's popular though. For kids, he's just as easy to
identify with. When people come up to us in the street, Neil is the one
they warm to. The back away from me slightly..."

He also said in a recent interview to The Observer that: "There are few
women in those shows, but the reason for that is that I fulfil the woman's
role. Adrian is the man and I am the woman. If you look at The Young Ones
it was a nuclear family. Mike was the dad, Neil was the mum, Vyv was the
little boy and Rick was the little girl, complete with pigtails."

(The following taken from an interview with Geoff Posner)

Though it appeared risky at the time to have Christopher Ryan as Mike, as
Geoff Posner points out : "Mike was very different to the others. He was
the one who always rose above the scrapes. He'd always find a way out ...
In fact, the only strange thing about any of the casting was Alexei Sayle.
If you look at his performances as the Balowski family they're very much
of the 'I'm just dropping in to do a bit, then I'm dropping out again'
variety. They're unashamed monologues which were completely unrelated to
anything else. Luckily, they were also very funny."

Reason for its' success : "Up until then, all sitcoms were full of nice
people being nice to each other. But suddenly here were four people who
were constantly arguing and hitting each other and although there was a
lot of criticism about the language and the violence, deep down at the
root of it all there was a basis of truth. Of course it was all
exaggerated but ... if you look at recent programmes like The Living Soap
(BBC2's attempt at to replicate MTV's Real World), that is the way that
some people behave when they live together."

Would it get made today?: "No, without a shadow of a doubt. Nowadays
there's too much emphasis on cost, on being accountable for everything.
People would be terrified of even trying it just in case it didn't get a
favourable reaction ... These days at the BBC there is a hell of a lot of
interference from people who may or may not have experience in the field
but who've graduated to senior positions and feel their voice should be
heard, and of course a project like this can only be won because - as in
Paul Jackson's case - it was an individual vision that had been fought

Little bits that don't fit in anywhere else...

* Lots of bands were featured in the Young Ones. Why was this? Simply
so the show came under the BBC's Entertainment budget rather than
Variety, and accordingly got more money.
* There is an out-take available on the first Bloopers compilation -
which is available from BBC Video I think. It's a clip from the
beginning of Sick, where they're all in bed and Vyvian throws a
bottle of Vodka into (Neils?) bedroom. In the outtake the burning rag
falls out of the bottle whilst he's holding it, and sets fire to the
* As part of the burping, punches and other sound effects, Ian Tomlin
resorted to wiring up a microphone to his own baby's backside....
* There was a joke in BORING where a policeman thought someone was
black, and subjected him to a torrent of racial abuse : "That's white
man's electricity you're using, Mr Rastus Chocolate Drop" etc.
Unfortuately, the production office got a letter from a teacher
saying that while she understood the point of the joke, she found the
one black boy in his class was having the same abuse levelled at him.
* The BAMBI episode won the Golden Rose at the Montreux Television
* The band Primus sampled Rik saying 'You just called me a bastard,
didn't you?', and Ade saying 'Shut up you bastard' on their album
Sailing The Seas of Cheese, on the last track... Just in case you
were interested...
* Neil made a cameo appearance on the 45 minute video of the making of
Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Quite hilarious,
* There was a Young Ones computer game that came out in the mid-1980s
for the Amstrad CPC, Spectrum and Commodore 64. It was a
platform-type game (quelle surprise) - and if you went through the
wardrobe, you ended up in Narnia! If you have a PC-compatible
machine, you might want to try downloading and playing the game
yourself thanks to a C64 emulator, available at
- just try to smash the VCR... :-)
* On a recent episode of University Challenge, a contestant, stumped
for an answer, finally came up with "Toxteth O'Grady, U.S.A." for an
answer. This brought the house down, apparently.
* An Australian band, 'Front End Loader' released a song called 'Travel
Scrabble Death', a line from Dawn French's Christian tirade in
Interesting. How did you ever live without knowing that fact?


While there were no official sequels, other British comedies featuring the
same actors or writers, or set in a university setting include :

American pilot?

According to Slogan...

There was a pilot episode shot and aired of an American version of
the Young Ones. It was called Oh, No! Not THEM! and featured
Nigel Planer as Neil, and it had a claymation opening credit
sequence. Obviously FOX didn't make the series...

In the pilot they were all sleeping in one bed and Rick (not
Mayall) was having a dream about a hot punk girl and woke up and
Neil asks him why he didn't kiss her. Weird, huh?

I'm not quite sure I believe that, but I'll check my sources and get back
to you all on this! :-)

Filthy, Rich and Catflap

Made after The Young Ones, it starred Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson and
Nigel Planer, and was written by Ben Elton. It was intended to be its'
successor, and on the video cassette it exclaims "Aaagh! The Young Ones
have grown up - it's horrible!" Alas, rumour has it that it's not very
good, though some might say that it improves with repeated viewing and the
jokes are far more subtle in their own way than on The Young Ones.
Available on BBC Video (catalogue number BBCV 4991), the video sleeve

"Three pretty bloody fabulous and funny episodes starring showbiz
superstar and sex symbol Richie Rich (Rik Mayall) along with his
freeloading, parasitic minder, Eddie Catflap (Adrian Edmonson)
and wino agent Ralph Filthy (Nigel Planer)."

An episode guide to Filthy, Rich and Catflap is available from the TARDIS
TV Database

Girls On Top

Produced by Central Television in the mid-1980s, this starred Dawn French,
Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax and Tracey Ullmann as four girls sharing a
flat, with Joan Greenwood as their landlady. The press labelled it a
female Young Ones, though the writers tried to get away from this label.

Blackadder Goes Forth - Private Plane

In this episode, Rik Mayall plays Lord Flash-heart, who comes to the
rescue of Edmund Blackadder, and meets Baron Von Richoften - played by
Adrian Edmondson. The scene plays an awful lot like the battles between
Rik and Vyvyan :)


Made in the 1990s, it was written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson who
also starred in the series as Richard Richard (erm...) and Eddie Hitler
(now hang on!). The similarities between Richard and Rik, and Eddie and
Vyvyan are rather striking...

Men Behaving Badly

Another sitcom made in the late 1990s and still going, it's about two
"lads" and their lives. Starring Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes, it's
become a cultural phenomenon (da doo de doo doo!) in the UK, with their
laddish antics and their relationship with the two women upstairs Leslie
Ash and Caroline Quentin. An American version was screened on NBC in
Autumn 1996.

A Very Pecuilar Practice

While this is NOT an out-and-out comedy like The Young Ones, I found it
rather amusing. This stars Peter Davison as a innocent idealistic doctor
thrust into a University medical centre complete with cynical
hard-bittened characters.

Other articles on the Net

As stated at the beginning, the first part of the FAQ contains the
essential basic information on the Young Ones. An edited episode guide is
also available from the TARDIS TV Database

The scripts for most of the episodes are now available from the FTP or WWW
sites. If you can't access them, ask me or consult James Kew's
alt.comedy.british FAQ.

The B-side to Living Doll, (ALL THE LITTLE FLOWERS ARE) HAPPY is also
available on the FTP site, transcribed by Greg O'Beirne

These files and more can be found at the TARDIS Archive, or the British

I also compile the Rik Mayall FAQ, Adrian Edmondson FAQ, and the Ben Elton

FAQ. I did have a copy of an interview I did with Christopher Ryan but

that seems to have mysteriously disappeared... If you can find it, please
let me know!

If you have any material, please let me know so I can incorporate it here.

All comments, brickbats and additions gratefully received !

Contributors and thanks

* Paul Herzog for transcribing quite a few scripts.

* Bill Houston and his friend for transcribing NASTY.
* James Kew for co-ordinating most of this stuff on ze 'Net...
* Alexander Lum for his valiant efforts to produce a FAQ.

* Kristen Mirenda ( for transcribing BAMBI and CASH,

other items and pointing out other factual errors.
* Kristin Sabo for giving me some source information.

Thanks also go to Michael Barrows, Roderick Begbie, Gareth Blinkhorn,
Michael Brown, Paul Burgin, Greg Cawthorn, Paul Claypole, Nick Cole,
Andrew Darby, Jon Drukman, Matthew Estella, Matthew George, Graham
Hawkins, Paul Herzog, Pete Houston, Stuart Jackson, Bert Keuken, James
Kew, Amanda King, Paul Lee, Ryan Mooney, Rachael Munns, Greg O'Beirne,
Russ Perry Jnr., James Poole, Steve Rapport, Simon Rowell, Annie Sattler,
Adrian Savage, Drew Savage, Stephen Slater, Slogan, Michelle Street and
Brett Wimpory.

Other pieces of info were ripped off (or quoted :-) from various sources,

* Deadline Magazine (November 1994)
* Didn't You Kill Your Mother-In-Law:The story of alternative comedy
* Times Educational Supplement (30 December 1983)

I would like to thank all the above, and anyone else I haven't named for
their help and contributions.


That concludes the Young Ones FAQ. All opinions are mine unless otherwise
stated, and I take no legal responsibility for any crossed lines that

occur as a result of this document :)

If you're after British books and audio books, may I recommend Bookpages,
a British-based Internet bookstore at
If you want any British videos or other items, sometimes I can endeavour
to get them for you, and I can accept most currencies. Let me know...

If you have any queries, questions, corrections or comments, please write
to me at or consult my Web pages at

This FAQ is postcard-ware i.e. if you truly like it, then I would
appreciate a postcard from you! My address is:
10 Gerllan, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9DE, UNITED KINGDOM.

My name was Andrew Wong, thank you and goodnight !

Copyright ? Andrew Wong

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