The Young Ones is a British sitcom created in 1982 for the BBC. Two series of six episodes were filmed between 1982 and 1984, with a one-off reunion for the characters in the same year for Comic Relief, when they performed Living Doll with Cliff Richard.


The Young Ones takes the form of an anarchic slapstick sitcom featuring violent physical humour, cutaway gags and frequent non-sequitur. Filmed in front of a studio audience, the action takes place primarily in the lounge/dining area of the squalid student house the four main characters share [although some portions of filming, such as those where the characters left the house, were cinematic.] Written by Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle and Rik Mayall, the show epitomised the then popular alternative comedy scene of the 1980s, with the crux of the show being the anti-Thatcherite movement of university students of the era. Many of the episodes featured absurd cutaway gags, such as the focus suddenly shifting to talking rats [which end up eating each other] or an extended scene featuring the headless spectres of two Elizabethan ghosts. Often these deviations bore no relation whatsoever to the main plot.

The show also featured live performances from popular bands of the time [see section below] and short cutaways to stand-up comic sketches from popular comedians, primarily Alexei Sayle. Along with Filthy Rich & Catflap, The Young Ones is an early step in the evolution of Rik and Ade's characters from Bottom, the subject of this Wikia. It takes its name from the 1961 Cliff Richard film, and song, of the same name.


Rick played by Rik Mayall

Vyvyan Basterd played by Ade Edmondson

Neil played by Nigel Planer

Mike the Cool Person played by Christopher Ryan

Recurring Characters Edit

The Balowski Family played by Alexei Sayle

Non-Human Characters Edit

The Young Ones featured a number of non-human characters, such as talking vegetables, rodents and items of household furniture. See Non-Human Characters (The Young Ones)


Series One

Title Original Air Date Summary
Demolition 9 November 1982 The Young Ones learn that their decrepit student house is to be demolished.
Oil 16 November 1982 Vyvyan discovers an oil source underneath the house.
Boring 23 November 1982 Boredom sets in for The Young Ones.
Bomb 30 November 1982 Life goes on at The Young Ones' household, despite an unexploded bomb landing in their kitchen.
Interesting 7 December 1982 The Young Ones hold their first house party.
Flood 14 December 1982 The Young Ones become trapped in the house when London floods.

Series Two

Title Original Air Date Summary
Bambi 8 May 1984 The Young Ones embark on a journey across the country and make an appearance on University Challenge.
Cash 15 May 1984 The cash-strapped boys must devise ways to stay warm and fed.
Nasty 29 May 1984 Vyvyan spends an inordinate amount time assembling a video cassette player so he can watch a video nasty,
Time 5 June 1984 Rick loses several hours of time and desperately tries to piece the events of last night back together.
Sick 12 June 1984 The Young Ones battle a nasty illness.
Summer Holiday 19 June 1984 The Young Ones are finally evicted.


The show was notable for dedicating portions of episodes to live performances from popular bands. The various acts would perform a song in its entirety, whilst the cast of characters sat and watched, or the song played over a montage of the characters up to their various antics. Only the final episode of the first series did not feature a musical performance. Click here for more info.

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