Almost a year after we lost our dear Rik, I feel compelled to reflect on the first twelve months of my time on this Earth without The People's Poet. I don't mean to gush [ooh, er...] but, well yes I ruddy well do actually. Gush with bloody great brass knobs on!
I cannot imagine the loss felt, and adjustment needed, for Rik's wife and children. He must have been an absolute blast to live with and the void he left must be enormous. Behind the knob gags, flatulence and endless double-entendre he was a loving husband and father. To Ade Edmondson, he was the best friend anyone could hope for, someone you could share an eternity laughing with. Such friendships are rare, and to anyone who has such a relationship, I applaud and envy you!
For the first time, the world of comedy entertainment has been without the sharp-edged wit of the great Rik Mayall. No stuffy TV presenters have had to sit on a knife-edge in fear of anyone saying "fuck" before the watershed, nor could his loving fandom pose for photographs without him flipping the bird.
I was fortunate enough to see Rik and Ade perform Bottom Live on stage in 2003. I have never laughed so hard, and it was an absolute privilege to see my favourite comedians in the flesh.
There are many reasons why I will always remember Rik Mayall, from the significant to the trivial, and never have to explain myself to others when I snigger at the prospect of the gas man coming round. Rik, you are the reason why I find Doncaster and Bridlington so amusing. You are the reason why I flippantly exclaim "I beg your pardon?!" when someone asks me to "get my tools out." You are the reason why I stop in Primark and chuckle quietly at the sight of an XXXL pair of y-fronts. You are the reason why I buy Special K instead of Weetabix, the reason why I think of Oranjeboom, clogs, dykes and windmills when I go to Amsterdam, and the reason why my girlfriend gets confused when my instant to answer to anything that remotely sounds like "have you got the screws?" is "nope, it's just the way I'm standing!"
You're the reason I laugh at cattleprods, crap Halloween costumes, sprouts, caviar, Tizer, Ouzo, Drambuie, fairground rides, pub quizzes, the Welsh, cricket, hedgehogs, plaster-casts, union-jack sandwiches, semtex, salad cream, chess, smoking jackets, Leo Tolstoy, pigeon pellets, blow-up dolls and why I cannot take anyone with the surname of "Thwaite" seriously. In conclusion, you shaped my entire world, my sense of humour, lexicon and my love of the boob. I will also remember the time I caught a glimpse of you on the set of Churchill: The Hollywood Years, when you were clearly off your tits drunk!
On a more sombre note though, I now live without the optimism that there will never be another series of Bottom, no more amazing audiobooks and thrilling tales on Crackanory told in your singular wit. But like Drop Dead Fred you will always be around somewhere in my world, and no-one else can see you but me.
Wikia contributors, smashing birds and ruddy great blokes, please update this page with your own thoughts, memories and tributes!