STARS from the world of comedy came together yesterday to bid their final farewells to Rik Mayall as his funeral took place in a country village.
The stars behind the comedy hit which established his reputation, The Young Ones, were among mourners who attended the private service at St George’s Church in picturesque Dittisham, Devon.
Ade Edmondson, a university friend of Mayall who went on to play the show’s punk Vyvyan, acted as a pall-bearer, while Nigel Planer (who played hippy Neil) and Alexei Sayle (landlord Jerzei Balowski) were among more than 100 people who paid their respects.
Ben Elton, who co-wrote the show, was also there to celebrate the life of the comic actor with whom he formed a strong bond as a student in Manchester when they were both teenagers.
Mayall – also known for TV hits such as Bottom, The New Statesman and Blackadder – died last week aged 56 at his home in Barnes, south-west London. He also had a home in Devon.
Friends attending the service filled the church with cheers and clapping as they recalled his achievements and humour.
Mourners also included stars with whom he worked repeatedly in the Channel 4 film series The Comic Strip Presents such as Dawn French and Edmondson’s wife Jennifer Saunders.
Others at the funeral were Harry Potter star Alan Rickman and the actor and director Peter Richardson, with whom Mayall worked on the Comic Strip Presents films. Comedian Ruby Wax was also among the mourners who filed into the church to the tune of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Guests filed out to the sounds of Van Morrison’s famous hit Brown Eyed Girl.
Prior to the service, Mayall’s Scottish-born widow Barbara asked fans for their “thoughts and prayers” during the ceremony, which was led by local clergyman Father Will Hazlewood.
Mayall’s wicker coffin, which was adorned with masses of red roses, was carried to the church by friends.
A memorial service for him will be held in September.
He collapsed and died following what his wife described as an “acute cardiac event” after going for a regular morning run.
Mayall shot to national fame for his role as poetry-writing anarchist Rick in The Young Ones, and went on to star as conniving Conservative MP Alan B’Stard in The New States-man and Lord Flashheart in Blackadder.