This article is from the Rik Mayall FAQ, by Andrew Wong firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Born on 7 Match 1958 in a village called Matching Tye, from an early age
he was interested in drama - his father ran the drama department in a
teacher training college. He went to Kings School, Worcester (a privately
funded "public" school). Despite getting DDN at A-Levels, he went to
Manchester University at 17, and left at the age of 20 in 1978 with a 2:2
degree in Drama. While at Manchester, he met Adrian Edmondson and
apparently the two of them went around together shouting "We're going to
be stars!". He also won the Boris Karloff award for 'Most Outrageous Ham' at
a student drama festival.
Whilst there he, with Adrian Edmondson and three others formed an
improvisational theatre company called 20th Century Coyote, which started out
performing lunchtime theatre and shows entitled "Dead Funny", "Who Is Dick
Treacle?" and "King Ron And His Nubile Daughter"
Mayall toured the United States with the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare
Company played Dromio of Syracuse in Comedy Of Errors for three months.
On returning, picked up again with Edmondson, he producing
occasional shows, while working most of a year in a foundry to try to clear
his debts. They took one show, "Death On The Toilet", to the Edinburgh
Fringe Festival in 1979 and scored a hit, and subsequently took it to the
Comic Strip in Soho. In the show, Mayall played both God and Death with
Edmondson as a man called Edwin.
They succeeded Hale and Pace at the Woolwich Tramshed, but since most of
their work was, at this stage, deriving from Irish playwright Samuel
Beckett's complex writings, it was largely unintelligible to most audiences.
Trying a totally different tack, they created the manic Dangerous Brothers
and, in addition, Rik developed a character who would recite truly awful
During the Young Ones period (1980-1984), he was going out with co-writer
Lise Meyer, but left her when she was pregnant for his current wife
Barbara, who was a make-up artist. "He refuses to discuss it now, even to
give his side of the story" (source: GQ magazine). He has three children
with Barbara -- the third was born in 1995, and is named Bonnie.