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

( Part1 - Part2 )
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Archive-name: tv/british-comedy/young-ones/part2
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Version: 1.43
The Young Ones FAQ (2/2) v1.43
Created by Andrew Wong (
Last updated 13 September 1997

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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!
 Vyv:       (loudly) GONNA LOCK HER UP IN A TRUNK!
 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
Comedy Library at

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
 Last updated 13 September 1997

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