How The Young Ones responded to a road crash and appalled Steve Martin

Thursday 23rd November 2023, 10:19am by Jay Richardson

The Young Ones. Image shows left to right: Rick (Rik Mayall), Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson), Neil (Nigel Planer)

The Young Ones famously ended with a bus driving off a cliff into a quarry.

But in real life, the cast actually helped to save a scooter rider who'd suffered a similar fate, Peter Richardson has revealed.

The sitcom's stars were touring in their guise of The Comic Strip's fictional heavy metal band Bad News, driving through Dorset, when they spotted a scooter lying at the bottom of a hill.

"We pulled over and called out 'anybody there?'" Richardson told Richard Herring on his RHLSTP podcast. "And this guy had not only gone over the hedge but he'd gone into a quarry.

"Rik [Mayall], Nigel [Planer] and I scrambled down the side of this quarry to help and this guy has broken so many bones, he was in a terrible state.

"Rik and Nigel immediately, God knows why, started being Rick and Neil from The Young Ones.

"'It's alright man, don't worry, Rick here.' And Nigel going, 'don't worry, I'll help you man, stay awake man'.

"This guy's lying there thinking: 'I've died and The Young Ones are there to greet me as I go through the gates of Saint Peter.'"

Comforting the stricken rider until an ambulance arrived, they then left for their gig in Exeter.

A fortnight later, playing at Bristol's Colston Hall, the group were approached by a young woman who turned out to be the man's sister, asking if they could sign a poster for him while he recovered in hospital.

Mayall obliged in familiar style, scribbling: "You stupid cunt".

"I'm sure he treasures that poster" reflected Richardson.

Peter Richardson

Elsewhere in the interview, and as reported by British Comedy Guide in February, the writer-director recalled his Comic Strip film about Boris Johnson that was kyboshed because of internal production wranglings.

He had approached Matt Lucas to play the former Prime Minister he told Herring. But despite having previously portrayed Johnson in a Great British Bake Off sketch, the Little Britain star turned down the Lie Another Day role.

Richardson also discussed his relationship with Steve Martin, who he'd originally wanted to play the Pope in The Pope Must Die before Robbie Coltrane took the role.

The American comedian had seen The Supergrass, The Comic Strip's 1985, first feature-length film. And, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, he'd been impressed by the realism one of its most memorable scenes.

Shooting Little Shop Of Horrors at Pinewood Studios, he invited Richardson for lunch.

"There's a scene in Supergrass I wanted to talk to you about which is where you're all falling about, laughing" he told Richardson. "I'm about to do this Little Shop Of Horrors and I've got to do this laughing thing. How did you do it? It looks so real."

"Well, I'll give you one word" Richardson replied. "Amyl Nitrate."

"He was shocked, he was appalled. Steve didn't like to lose control.

"I was acting [in that scene] so I just gave the camera a list of shots. I took this stuff" Richardson recalled of the poppers. "Me and Adrian [Edmondson] were really absolutely pissing ourselves."

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