BBC

LONDON

British comedian and actor Rik Mayall has died aged 56, according to his management team.

He played the obnoxious, poetry-writing anarchist Rick in The Young Ones alongside his friend Adrian Edmondson before the duo later went on to star in their sitcom Bottom.

Mayall also appeared in shows including Blackadder and The New Statesman. He died at home in London. The Metropolitan Police said the death was not believed to be suspicious.

They said they were called to reports of a sudden death of a man in his 50s at 13:19 BST on Monday, in Barnes in south west London. London Ambulance Service said “a man, aged in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene”.

The actor, who was married with three children, was left seriously ill after a quad bike accident in 1998 which left him in a coma for several days.

His big break came at The Comic Strip Club, performing with comedy partner Adrian Edmondson as 20th Century Coyote in the 1980s, which led to cult television hit The Comic Strip Presents.

He co-wrote The Young Ones with Lise Mayer and Ben Elton, which ran for 12 episodes between 1982 and 1985. It shared cult status and schoolboy humour with later sitcom Bottom.

Mayall and Edmondson’s slapstick comedy often involved fires, explosions, and hefty blows to the head with a frying pan.

The pair met at Manchester University before forming the on-stage comedy duo The Dangerous Brothers. Mayall’s film roles included the comedies Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso.

He also famously played the loud-mouthed and lecherous Lord Flashheart in BBC comedy series Blackadder, starring Rowan Atkinson.

The actor appeared in the second and fourth series, shouting catchphrases such as “woof!” and “let’s do-oo-oo it!” But his early, anarchic characters gave way to the smooth, scheming Conservative politician Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman, which ran on ITV from 1986 to 1992.

A statement from Mayall’s management, Brunskill, said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning. “We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time.”