2014 has not been a good year for comedy departures. Robin Williams and Joan Rivers left us, but it was Rik Mayall's sudden death on June 9 that struck the most resonant chord with me. Without getting all UKIP about it, Mayall was a Great British Comic and the BBC tribute Lord of Misrule was a fitting send-off.Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 21st December 2014
Mayall managed to maintain the fizz of youthful energy throughout his career.Ellen E. Jones, The Independent, 21st December 2014
When almost anyone who's had their 15 minutes dies now, social media is awash with people who have never given the deceased a second thought chiming in that they'll be missed. When Rik Mayall died suddenly in June, thousands tweeted their grief.
"He was a golden youth," says Ben Elton. "He was the greatest of us all," says Alexei Sayle. "The sexy genius, Rik Mayall," says whoever wrote Simon Callow's suitably grandiose narration for this tribute programme, which does the usual run-through of all the late star's famous roles, making out that each was incredibly groundbreaking, while celebrity chums say what a great guy he was.
The thing is, with Rik Mayall, for once all of that is absolutely true. He was a bloody sexy genius. He was unique and I'm quite willing to believe he was brilliant to know. And that grief felt real: to a certain generation, at least, he was ours in a way no other entertainer could be and loved as much as any stranger could be. He never sold out, never became a sentimental, corny shadow of himself.
This tribute programme - obvious as it is, missing (totally understandably) any contributions from his family or Adrian Edmondson, but filled with wonderful early footage and photos - reminds us of just what we lost.
You may cry a wee bit. But you will definitely laugh.Andrea Mullaney, The Scotsman, 20th December 2014
In a year when a celeb seemed to pop off every week, some losses were keener than others. Rik Mayall was 56 when he died suddenly in June: nowhere near retirement, as evidenced by his TV comeback last year in Man Down. That show's bereft creator, Greg Davies, contributes to this documentary, as do Michael Palin, Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle, Tim McInnerny and Ruby Wax.
The rare footage here should illustrate how Mayall justified the over-used phrase "force of nature". He was like a child eternally refusing to grow up. That's why it was so shocking when he turned out not to be unstoppable after all.Jack Seale, Radio Times, 20th December 2014