Characters / The Young Ones

Rick (or Wick):

Played by Rik Mayall
The hypocritical, Cliff Richard-loving lefty activist who was convinced that he was a Marxist rebel, a poetic genius, the voice of an entire generation and the most well-liked and attractive member of the household; he was spectacularly wrong on all counts.
  • Attention Whore: Oh yes. Almost everything he says is just to get people to pay attention to him.
  • Bad Dreams: Subverted; He's actually having a rather pervy dream after he thinks he's killed Neil, only for his conscious to wake him up and scold him, reminding him he's supposed to be "Wracked with wemorse."
  • Blatant Lies: He insists a dress Neil finds in his wardrobe isn't his, despite it being in his size and having his name on it.
  • Butt Monkey: Along with Neil.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: According to Neil, Rick has passed out after half a glass of cider
  • Casanova Wannabe: Without any possibility of success.
  • Catchphrase: He shares "You bastard!" with Vyvyan.
    • "Fascist", as well.
  • Character Tics: Putting his hands on his hips when annoyed.
  • The Chew Toy: Well, strictly Neil is this for the rest of the four, but Rick is the one who spends most of his time being beaten up/whacked over the head/told to shut up, generally by Vyvyan.
  • The Danza: Rick played by Rik Mayall.
  • Dirty Coward: Seen when he tries to convince a vampire to bite Neil instead of him.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: He has a very noticeable case of rhotacism, which Rik Mayall actually had a mild case of in real-life, and massively exaggerated when playing Rick.
    "And Young Ones... / Shouwdn't be afwaid..."
  • Establishing Character Moment: The very first scene shows him dancing to the title song.
  • Expy: Mayall had done a very similar character in his stand up routines. In turn, his character from Bottom is essentially an older Rick.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even his own conscience doesn't like him.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine - Very extroverted and often irresponsible.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Nobody takes it seriously.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Often mispronounces words like "bourgeois", hinting that he doesn't actually know what they mean.
  • It's All About Me: Rick's response when he finds out his parents are dead? "THE SELFISH BASTARDS!"
  • Jerk Ass
  • Keet: Possibly ties into him being a Man Child. He's very hyperactive, loud, and feminine.
  • Large Ham: Constantly swerving between emotions, often Suddenly Shouting or Milking the Giant Cow, and constantly overreacting to the smallest issue.
    Rick: Neil! Are these lentils South African?
    Neil: Well, um...
    Rick: You bastard! You complete and utter bastard! Why don't you just go out and become a policeman, become a pig! There's no difference you know! I suppose you hate gay people too! Hippie!
  • The Load: He thinks it's Neil, but since Neil is the Team Mom, Mike is often Team Dad and Vvyan is The Big Guy, Rick's usually the one to panic and generally be unhelpful.
  • Man Child: Oh yes. Attention-seeking, tantrum-throwing, first to panic in a crisis, can't pronounce his 'R's, can't tell the time.
  • Momma's Boy: He still refers to her as "Mummy" despite being in his early twenties.
    • It's worth noting it's jokingly said in the U.K that a good indicator of how posh a certain person is is how long they call their parents "Mum" or "Dad" instead of their names, with special points being given for "Mummy" or "Mater" (so posh it's probably fictional).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he mistakenly thinks he's killed Neil.
  • No Indoor Voice: Not on the same scale as Vyvyan, but shifts into Suddenly Shouting when he's annoyed, which is fairly often.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Particularly with Neil.
  • Only One Name: Although the book Bachelor Boys (by Ben Elton and Mayall himself) lists his surname as "Pratt"; Even when he's on University Challenge only their first names are given.
  • Skunk Stripe: Gets a green strip in his hair in Season 2.
  • Sibling Rivalry: His interactions with Vyvyan come off as this.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Vyvyan.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Thinks he's "The People's Poet." He's very, very wrong; the closest he gets to punk poetry is a few sarky comments about Thatcher.
    • He thinks he's an anarchist, but is a big fan of Marx, who is more associated with communism, and upon any pressure whatsoever morphs back into a social conservative.
  • Spoiled Brat: If his current behaviour is any indication. His family's indicated to be fairly wealthy, no matter how anarchic he tries to be.
  • Squee!: When he and the others got to sing "Living Doll" with Cliff Richard for Comic Relief, he was overjoyed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Robbing a bank robber (with a water pistol) and stealing a bus in "Summer Holiday"- easily the most anarchic (and only useful) thing he's ever done.

Vyvyan Basterd:

Played by: Adrian "Ade" Edmondson
The psychotic and child-like, but strangely insightful punk who couldn't go a single episode without destroying something or someone— or, usually, several.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Spends the entire time when Helen Mucusnote  is in the house staring at her chest (very obviously and even moving his chair closer), happily volunteers to wear tights a girl might have worn, briefly checks out Amazulu when they perform in the house during "Time", tricks the washing machine into opening its hatch by claiming to have Felicity Kendall's underwear, etc.
  • Ax-Crazy: One of the most violent characters in a Britcom ever - played entirely for laughs. Vyvyan is perhaps the closest live action TV has ever come to a Warner Bros. animated character.
    • This counts for both violence inflicted and violence received, although usually due to his or his housemates' stupidity: from getting a pickaxe through the skull to decapitation to exploding architecture, Vyvyan has survived it all.
  • Bare Your Midriff
  • Berserk Button: It's fairly easy to annoy Vyvyan, but he really hates The Good Life, Rik's pretension and being reminded he has a girl's name.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: With emphasis on "bruiser".
  • Catch Phrase: "Brilliant!" and "you bastard!"
  • Character Tic: Scrunching up his face.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Vyv can survive decapitation, eat pretty much anything and perform absurd feats of strength (such as pushing the wall of the house just so the lads can hook up the video).
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: has elements of this, especially with regards to his Insane Troll Logic and Dull Surprise reaction to every unusual event that happens throughout the programme.
  • Deadly Doctor: He's a medical student at Scumbag College. Worse yet, his entire class is pretty much like him too.
  • Disappeared Dad: When he hopefully asks his mother, "How's Dad?" in the third episode of the first series, "Boring", she responds, "Honestly, Vyvyan, I wish you wouldn't ask me that! ...You know I have absolutely no idea who he is!"
  • Drives Like Crazy: Any time he gets behind the wheel of his Ford Anglia, he crashes it into something. This should probably double as Foreshadowing, as he is driving the bus when it crashes over a cliff.
  • Dynamic Entry / Establishing Character Moment: His first appearance involves him smashing through the kitchen wall, clutching a severed leg.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Subverted- When his hair falls off in "Party", he has a 666 on the side of his head, but he doesn't seem remotely bothered by it.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Eats a dead rat, a brick, snow and even the telly, so that the lads don't have to pay their TV licence fee.
  • Fiery Redhead: Assuming it's not dyed: Adrian Edmonson was a natural blonde, but it's never indicated whether it's natural or not within the series.
  • Flipping the Bird: Flipping a V is practically his second Catch Phrase, along with "Brilliant".
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric - Ultra-violent, but ultra-childish as well.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Is able to supercharge the vacuum cleaner (which works too well) and has a good working knowledge of explosives.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Just don't remind him of that.
  • Genius Ditz: Despite being unable to tell the time and generally being Ax-Crazy, Vyv has a surprising knowledge of machinery (as evidenced by his souped-up vacuum cleaner) and can be surprisingly insightful and even manipulative. Plus, he's a medical student.
    • He can create a potion that makes anyone who drinks it as Axe Crazy as he is, somehow, and is implied by the ending of "Oil" to have manipulated the other lads For the Evulz. Then again, he didn't realise the obvious problem that would arise from keeping that potion in a coke can, (sure enough, the Balowski of the week drinks it and goes librarian), and his involvement in "Oil" resulted in a pickaxe to the skull from Neil.
  • Genki Guy: And HOW. Fitting as his name means "lively".
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath
  • Hidden Depths: Some episodes imply Vyvyan isn't quite as stupid as he pretends to be; He starts accurately describing how the human body produces vomit in "Time", tricks the vampire into revealing it's a vampire in "Nasty" through his detailed knowledge of road safety and his potion to turn Balowski into an axe-wielding maniac did actually work. When he actually does go to uni, he's a medical student.
  • Hot-Blooded: More than any other housemate.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Mocks a Narnia-esque dwarf for being called "Shirley", despite having a girl's name himself.
  • Jerk Ass: He has more Pet the Dog moments than Rick, though, and he genuinely get along well with Mike.
  • Knife Nut: Carries a fairly large knife in a few episodes of the first series until he upgrades to hand grenades in the second.
  • Large Ham: Has No Indoor Voice and, while not as flail-y as Rick, tends to over-emote physically.
  • Limited Wardrobe: While all the lads have this, Rick, Mike and Neil do occasionally wear a different outfit in certain episodes, Vyvyan only seems to have the one, although his t-shirts differ in a few episodes.
  • Mad Bomber: Rigs up a bomb to the doorbell (And blames whoever rang the doorbell for setting it off), throws a Molotov Cocktail at Rick and Neil in "Sick" and makes use of grenades on two occasions, most notably in the famous "University Challenge" scene in "Bambi".
  • Made of Iron: Not even being decapitated by a train is enough to kill him.
  • Metal Head: He wears KISS, Saxon, Rush, and Whitesnake shirts.
  • Mr Seahorse: Subverted. It's actually just gas.
  • No Indoor Voice: Has this trope down in spades. Hearing him speak normally in "Blackadder" almost comes as a shock.
  • No Sympathy: Usually acts pretty harsh, not only to Rick, but to Neil and even Mike as well.
  • Not a Morning Person: To the point where he'll scream at birds and church bells to shut up.
    Shut up you bastards, IT'S ONLY ELEVEN O' CLOCK!
  • Parental Abandonment: When his mother is introduced in "Bored", it's mentioned she hasn't seen him in years and has absolutely no idea who his dad is.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: his last act was to crash a double-decker bus over a cliff and into a ravine, which was pretty much typical for him.
  • The Pig Pen: Vyv's personal hygiene is so poor that his socks are sentient beings, and he's been wearing the same three pairs of pants for six months.
  • Playing Gertrude: Vyvyan has a rather youthful-looking mother, whom we also meet in "Boring". The actress, Pauline Melville, is only nine years older than Adrian Edmondson.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Vyvyan in a nutshell.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: His favourite drink is the decidedly girly Babycham, he has a girl's name and a pet hamster. albeit a very aggressive one.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Lives and breathes this trope with such acts as bursting through walls, surviving decapitations, rigging up insanely powerful vacuum cleaners and bombs to doorbells, and blowing up the other team so the lads can win University Challenge.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Rick.
  • Super Strength: Can kick a sink over, push the entire house forwards, bite through brick, lift Neil over his head, survive being decapitated...
  • Tsundere: Surprisingly, but Vyvyan has the most friends out of the group, as seen in "Interesting", but Vyvyan claims he "doesn't like any of them." He's also like this towards SPG; SPG is as much on the receiving end of Vyvyan's violence as Rick or Neil, (although SPG usually provokes him) but Vyvyan still cries when SPG dies.

Neil Pye:

Played by: Nigel Planer
The whining, put-upon and suicidal hippie who acted as the dogsbody for the entire house and is convinced (accurately) that no one likes him and everyone is out to get him.
  • Adorkable: He has his moments, particularly when he gets excited about going on University Challenge.
  • Berserk Button: He very nearly hits Rick with a frying pan for mocking his flares.
  • Beware the Nice Ones/Break the Cutie: He also delivers Rick a The Reason You Suck speech in the final episode.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Like all of them, he barely studies, although when he's not being apathetic he's probably the most studious of the four, and suggests they attend some classes in "Boring". In the final episode, it's stated that he did the best out of the four lads in their exams, though it's kind of a moot point since they all apparently came "bottom in the entire world".
  • Butt Monkey: Along with Rick.
    Neil: "When you guys said 'panic', I didn't think that meant 'hang me'."
  • Captain Obvious
  • Catch Phrase: "Oh, Heavy!"
    • Often comments people/things are "really bringing him down".
    • In the second series, he takes to referring to Rick as a "Yellow chicken" on a couple of occasions.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tries to kill himself three times in the pilot, and digs his own grave in "Bored" to try and cure his boredom. It's Played for Laughs, obviously.
  • The Eeyore: Constantly having a "really bad time".
  • Extreme Doormat: Most of the time, but he will stand up to himself if pushed.
  • Expy: Nigel Planer portrayed a depressive hippie in a 1980 TV special.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic - The whining shut-in of the four.
  • Friend to All Living Things: In "Flood", he manages to rescue some kittens on the way back from the shops, and mentions in one episode wishing people could live a pastoral existence.
  • Gentle Giant: The tallest of the guys, but he's passive and generally rather calm.
  • Genius Ditz: Though he often is Comically Missing the Point, Neil is shown to be fairly clever, is the only one who bothers to study properly for university challenge, quite knowledgeable on Oscar Wilde and he scores the best out of the lads in their exams.
  • Hey, You!: Rick and Vyvyan both refer to him as simply "Hippy" a good few times, generally in a tone of disgust.
  • Hopeless with Tech: He can barely use a phone properly and when he tries to use a washing machine, it spits out his clothes out of disgust. He's convinced machinery hates him.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: "Time" has him clocked on the head several times with little damage. When Vyv throws a Molotov Cocktail at him and Rick in "Sick", despite destroying the wall between his and Rick's room, the only effect it has on him is temporarily clearing his sinuses.
  • The Klutz
  • Literal-Minded: Uses this to annoy Rick in 'Bambi'.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Frequently mocked for it by Vyvyan.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: He likes "Rock Around The Clock", is severely depressed, is into New Age and has friends called Warlock, and claimed Jimi Hendrix once pissed on his guitar amp. All in the early '80's.
  • Nice Guy: The only "good guy" of the apartment, if passive-aggressive sometimes.
  • Only Sane Man: As the episode "Bomb" shows.
  • The Pig Pen: Not as much as Vyvyan, but several characters often complain that he smells terrible. Mike even orders him to have a bath in one episode.
  • Shirtless Scene: Gets one in "Summer Holiday", after imagining himself to be the Incredible Hulk.
  • Stoners Are Funny: As seen in 'Party', plus his friends Warlock and Stonehenge are almost perpetually stoned.
  • Team Mom: He's responsible for the cooking and cleaning and tends to be the more emotional one of the group.
    • Lampshaded at one point
    Neil: I do all the cooking, and the cleaning. I might as well be your mothers.
    Rik: That's not entirely true Neil, we don't hate our mothers!
    Neil: All right, so not all metaphors stand up to close comparison!
  • Walking Techbane: See above under Hopeless with Tech.

Mike (The cool person):

Played by Christopher Ryan
The Charmer of the flat; a smooth, flash and mysterious con-artist who tried it on with every girl he came across; he's still waiting for it to actually work.
  • Affably Evil: Sort of. He's not really evil, but he is implied to be involved with numerous criminal dealings and occasionally acts immaturely or insane, such as in "Oil". Despite that, he's also probably the most likeable member of the flat along with Neil and seems to be an honestly nice person at times.
  • "Blackmail" is Such an Ugly Word: He is revealed to be blackmailing his tutor in "Summer Holiday", which explains how he managed to get through the year despite never going to university.
    • Muses he might ask for a Ph.D. from the Dean, implying he has dirt on him, too.
    • In the opening credits for the first series, he's seen bribing a lecturer at his graduation.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Although the reactions of the girls at the party and Vyv's mum imply that he's less of a wannabe than Rick, a later episode confirms that all four of the lads are virgins.
  • The Charmer: He attempts to enforce this reputation on himself, but isn't very successful. The other lads find him charming and he was found attractive by the girls at their party (and Vyvyan's mother), but otherwise doesn't seem to be very popular, especially with the ladies.
  • Cool Shades: Wears 'em almost the entire time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly makes one-liners the rest are too dim to get, most of which are pretty lame. He does have his moments, however.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Phlegmatic - The easy-going, fun-loving one of the bunch.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: To the point of strewing women's underclothes around his bedroom.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Sometimes wears a leather jacket.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: He's known for making these.
  • No Sympathy: Far moreso than Vyvyan, he's just nice about it.
  • Only Sane Man: Well, 'saner' compared to the antics of the other three.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality/Vitriolic Best Buds: He's generally aloof and cold, but has moments of warmth towards the others (except Rick). Particularly towards Vyvyan, like teaching him to tell the time and comforting him when Vyv's car gets destroyed and SPG dies. With Neil this is especially exaggerated, being harsh and cruel to him sometimes, or being helpful or oddly kind other times.
  • Two Decades Behind: Mike has been at college for much longer than the other three, something demonstrated by the fact his fashion sense is still stuck in The '70s: Aviator specs, huge ties, three-piece suits with bell-bottom trousers and so on...
    • Averted in later appearances after the show ended: By now he was sporting Wayfarers, a striped 2-piecer with shoulder pads. His hair was also updated as well.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Almost manages to score with Cinderella in "Interesting", but she turns into a pumpkin just before he can.

The Balowski Family:

Played by: Alexei Sayle
Jerzei Balowski is The Young Ones' landlord. His numerous other family members look just like him.
  • Arms Dealer: Reggie Balowski is and international arms dealer and scrap merchant who Mike tries to sell the bomb to.
  • Ax-Crazy: Jerzei becomes this after drinking Vyvyan's Psycho Serum.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: His characters are possibly the biggest ones on the show. And that's saying a lot. Billy Balowski takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Expy: The police recruiter from "Cash" is an in-universe one for Benito Mussolini. It's given him a crappy life that's Played for Laughs.
  • Fake Nationality: Jerzei claims to be Russian, but he breaks character and tells the audience that he "Only does it to appear more sophisticated."
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: In "Nasty" in one of his Breaking the Fourth Wall moments he mentions the other actors hate him. We get a Cutaway showing the four actors Adam Westing themselves saying that they do hate him (Christopher Ryan doesn't even remember who he is).
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Nasty" features a South American Vampire Driving Instructor who turns out to be "Harry the Bastard" in disguise. who can enter without being invited in if he's in a package, and is able to deny he's a vampire.
  • Overly Long Name: In "Oil", the leader of the band Rick hires to play a concert says his name is Alexei Yuri Gagarin Siege of Stalingrad Glorious Five-Year Plan Sputnik Pravda Moscow Dynamo Back Four Balowski. It seems his dad was "a bit of a Communist".
  • Talkative Loon: The Balowski's in a nutshell.
  • Throw It In: A lot of his material is ad-libbed.
  • You All Look Familiar: An entire family played by one guy. Lampshaded once or twice.

SPG:

Voiced by: Rik Mayall
Aka 'Special Patrol Group' (or 'Cliff Richard' just to get on Rick's nerves), he is Vyvyan's destructive, Scottish-accented pet hamster, whom he has a volatile love-hate relationship with.
  • Art Evolution: Has a different appearance in each episode he shows up in.
  • Balloon Belly: Has one of those after eating all of Neil's lentils in one gulp. When Vyvyan drops him he smashes through the floorboards.
  • The Chew Toy: Usually he deserves it, though.
  • Kick the Dog
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: He's played by a puppet that's closer to guinea-pig-size than hamster-sized.
  • Talking Animal
  • Team Pet: The closest to a consistently present animal in the share house, anyway. Vyvyan takes good care of him.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Like owner, like hamster. The violent part, anyway.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/TheYoungOnes