"Apocalypse" is the fourth episode of the first series. It was broadcast on 8 October 1991. Richie is bequeathed a large sum of cash by his dead Auntie Olga, and becomes convinced he is afflicted with a curse after a dodgy encounter with a fortune teller at the local fairground.
Auntie Olga is coming round, and Richie is working hard to plant evidence around the flat that will convince her he and Eddie are strapped for cash and need a sizeable donation. They even leave Elvis the Goldfish to perish just to prove how poor they are. Richie tries to ring Olga to ask where she is, and is told by her housekeeper Mrs Higginbottom that she is dead, and has left him £600 in her will. Delighted with the windfall, the duo head down to the fairground with half of the money and partake in the shooting gallery, where Eddie racks up £45 worth of turns. Richie meanwhile has been bragging about his large wad (ooh-er!) attracting the attention of the local pickpockets, who swipe his wallet before he can pay the stall attendant. Eddie offers to take one more shot, double or quits, and subsequently shoots the attendant in the face and scarpers. They both evade capture from the local thugs by hiding in the fortune tellers tent. The teller demands they pay for a turn or get out, which Richie reluctantly agrees to and gives her his watch as payment. Richie's future is less than positive however, when the teller reveals that he is going to die in three days time.
Richie goes to Hammersmith Hospital to get checked out, and after blagging his way to the front of the queue in A&E, falls foul of Sir Roger Cobham the world famous heart surgeon, who despite his reservations about Richie, gives him the quick once-over and tells him he is perfectly healthy. As he tries to leave via the elevator, the old boy in front falls down the lift shaft to his death in his wheelchair, horrifying Richie who counts himself lucky that it wasn't him who fell.
Richie goes into meltdown and spends the next two nights under the sofa, tasking Eddie with testing all the food and drink for poison. He then notices that there is a large bulge in the ceiling above the sofa, which Eddie explains is his piano upstairs. Richie demands that Eddie shift it, and whilst he is upstairs he starts praying to God for salvation. Whilst trying to shift his fate over to Eddie, he becomes incredibly annoyed with Eddie's melodious piano-playing and leaves the safety of the sofa to shout up to Eddie, who then comes crashing through the ceiling on top of the sofa. Richie then becomes convinced that Eddie is the source of the curse; it was his idea to go to the fair, his idea to run into the fortune teller's tent, and then ultimately ends up dropping a piano on him. Richie kicks him out of the flat and goes to bed, but is woken by strange noises from downstairs. Convinced it is Eddie trying to scare him, he opens the door to see the Grim Reaper stood before him. Richie recoils in horror and pleads for his life, and agrees to the Reaper's terms of letting Eddie live rent-free in the flat for the rest of his life. He even surrenders his favourite copy of Girlie World that he keeps under his mattress.
The Reaper stumbles down the stairs, however, revealing it to be Eddie wearing a black cloak and stilts. Richie is furious with Eddie, but before he can give him a good kicking, the fairground attendant bashes the front door down. The irate man informs Richie that he has his wallet, which he got from the fortune teller who stole it (thus revealing how she knew everything about Richard in the first place). After returning the wallet, the attendant who is aware of the other half of the inheritance, demands it from them, promptly snatching the money from Eddie so he can pay to get his eye fixed. He takes the copy of Girlie World as further compensation.
Intimidated by the taller, stronger man (and perhaps seeing this as fair), a nervous Richie reluctantly obliges. Seeking some form of justice, however, Richie who is understandably angry with Eddie for losing his £600 inheritance, and putting him through three days of hell, invites the carnival man to kick Eddie in the bollocks before he leaves. Genuinely grateful, he happily obliges.
Mark Arden as The Fairground Attendant
Liz Smith as The Fortune Teller
Helen Lederer as The Nurse
Roger Brierley as Sir Roger Cobham
- The first of two appearances by actress Helen Lederer, playing the nurse at Hammersmith Hospital. She would go on to play Lady Natasha in the second series episode "Digger." She also played a midwife in an episode of Filthy, Rich & Catflap.
- World famous stuntman Nick Gillard appeared in the episode as the old man who falls down the lift shaft in his wheelchair.
- Mark Arden appeared in a number of episodes of The Young Ones as a dimwitted policeman.
- This is one of two episodes that feature Richie and Eddie visiting the fair. The other being Hole.
- The book Bottom: The Scripts contains an extended portion of dialogue not heard in the episode. It was intended to be heard whilst Richie is cowering under the sofa in fear of the curse, and reads as follows: Richie: I can't go near the window, you know that. Anything could happen. Suppose some Arab terrorist was on his way to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and he's sitting on top of the number nine bus, and he sees me at the window and mistakes me for President Bush on a fact finding mission. Kerblam! Or I might fall out. Or the window might fall in.
- Apocalypse is the only episode to have part of the dialogue changed on tv or dvd versions of the series, as the line Richie said originally when he realises his wallet was stolen at the fair was “Thieving bastard Gypos! Someone swiped my wallet”. Possibly due to censorship, this was changed to “Thieving bastard Yobbos!“