Rik Mayall is an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Exeter.

The 9 minute video showing his acceptance speech from 2008 can be found on YouTube here.


Rik Mayall died in June 2014.

It was a heart attack.

He was 56.

He’d just been jogging.

Then – just died.


Rik Mayall was a performer.

On camera certainly.

Off camera probably.

In his early years, he spent time failing exams, drinking a lot, bobbing in and out of lots of relationships and – by the sound of it – having a bloody good time.

Five Mantras.

Rik said he had five mantras for life.

They are:

  1. All men are equal therefore no one can ever be your genuine superior.
  2. It is your future. It is yours to create. Your future is as bright as you make it.
  3. Change is a constant of life. So you must never ever lose your wisdom.
  4. If you want to live a full and complete human life, you have to be free. Freedom is paramount.
  5. Love is the answer.

Rik further summarised.

  1. Equality.
  2. Opportunity.
  3. Wisdom.
  4. Freedom.
  5. Love.


Rik’s personal presentation of this is important though.

Because I love Rik Mayall’s uniqueness.

Such talent and couldn’t-care-lessness is so rare.

And for it only to have been on this earth for 56 years, or just 672 months, is a travesty.

Let’s see if his legacy impacts you.

Because it impacted me.

Here is the video on YouTube.


  1. Mike Smith Reply

    Great speech, I’ll be showing this clip to my 14 and 16 year old kids. Wonderful philosophy.
    I loved Rik Mayall, from the moment I saw him in The Young Ones in 1982 when I was in the lower sixth form at school, that series certainly resonated with a 17 year old student.
    His performances as Lord Flashheart in Black Adder and as Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman were simply sublime.

    A great talent lost far, far too soon.

  2. A truly incredible talent and larger than life character who I had the privilege of meeting in the 1980’s. His mantras should be part of the national curriculum, we all need to hear them, we miss you Rik. X

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