Sad news reaches us at Culture House that Rik Mayall, one of the mainstays of my TV-addicted teenage years, has died at the age of 56. A virtuoso of all that was most grotesque and loathsome in man, Mayall made his name leading memorably in a number of game-changing sitcoms, including Channel 4′s the Comic Strip Presents…, ITV’s The New Statesman and BBC Two’s The Young Ones and Bottom. The delight with Mayall was that the more odious his characters became the more mesmerising he got. Here are some highlights:

1. Richie, Bottom

A lot of people didn’t get Bottom. I loved it. It was like a cross between Beckett and Feydeau. And well before I knew who either Beckett or Feydeau were, its sweaty nihilism worked a treat on me. It still does: