Home Shows A to Z





Diary 1950s to 1990s Articles Credits & Links

TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

From Radio Times "Disaster looms .......... in the last few days of a desperate government, riots spread as the economy collapses and the threat of nuclear conflict grows. Despite this, the BBC screens the final episode of The Young Ones."


Set in a house shared by four students who (occasionally) attend Scumbag College, the show starred new comedians who had not come up from pubs and social clubs but from fringe theatres, non OxBridge Universities and cabaret. They had met up at The Comedy Store, a room set aside upstairs at a strip club in London's Soho. There was no agenda to the new comedy, but it attracted like-minded writers and performers, all finding a way to respond to Britain's current political and cultural situations in their own individual way, using faux poetry, songs and comedy. After being spotted by TV and radio producers they then were booked for their first shows.


Both Twentieth Century Coyote (Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson) and French & Saunders made their debuts on BBC2's Friday Night Saturday Morning, while Boom Boom Out Go The Lights broadcast by BBC2 in October 1980 and May 1981 featured Rik Mayall (as poet Rik), The Outer Limits (Nigel Planer playing an early version of Neil and Peter Richardson) and Alexei Sayle. Despite having one foot in the past with Neil Shand as script editor, contact had been made with light entertainment producer Paul Jackson. The Young Ones show was commissioned by the BBC in response to Channel 4's The Comic Strip Presents which was about to debut at about the same time. The original idea was to use the two double acts Twentieth Century Coyote and The Outer Limits to play the four students, but Peter Richardson fell out with producer Jackson, so actor Christopher Ryan was brought in to become the fourth student.


The show came under the heading of the Variety department rather than Comedy at the BBC which allowed for a larger budget as long as it could justify itself by having other acts within the show, so bands were invited in to perform in the house living room, bathroom or local pub.


First series

Show 1 Demolition 9th November 1982 Nine Below Zero - Eleven Plus Eleven

Show 2 Oil 16th November 1982 Alexi Sayle and Radical Posture - Doctor Marten's Boots

Show 3 Boring 23rd November 1982 Madness – Our House (playing in the pub The Frog and Calculator)

Show 4 Bomb 30th November 1982 Dexys Midnight Runners – Jackie Wilson Said

Show 5 Interesting 7th December 1982 Rip Rig and Panic - You're My Kind Of Climate

Show 6 Flood 14th December 1982 no music act


Second series

Show 1 Bambi 8th May 1984 Motorhead - Ace Of Spades

Show 2 Cash 15th May 1984 Alan Freeman (as God), Kevin Bishop’s Nice Twelve (Jools Holland, Stewart Copeland, Chris Difford) – Subterranean Homesick Blues, Alexi Sayle - Stupid Noises

The show skips a week due to the live Eurovision Young Musician of the Year

Show 3 Nasty 29th May 1984 The Damned - Nasty (who specially reformed for the show only to split up two days' later)

Show 4 Sick 5th June 1984 Madness - Our House (playing outside their house)

Show 5 Time 12th June 1984 Amazulu - Moonlight Romance

Show 6 Summer Holiday 19th June 1984 John Otway - Body Talk, Jools Holland


Despite the show having ended the characters would still occasionally appear. Nigel Planer's Neil scored a number two single in the UK charts in 1984 with a cover of Hole In My Shoe, while Neil and Vyvian appeared in a series of adverts for a building society. But the real surprise was on BBC1's Wogan who on 12th March 1986 when guest Rik Mayall introduced the promo clip for that year's Comic Relief charity single Living Doll by The Young Ones with Cliff Richard which got to number one.


Meanwhile in America, in 1985 the show is broadcast by MTV, their first non-music show and becomes influential to the likes of The Beastie Boys, while Nigel Planer (Neil) appears in the US remake Oh Not Not Them for Fox, which thankfully for Planer was not commissioned.



THE YOUNG ONES


BBC2

9th November 1982 - 19th June 1984