MTV announces a brand new re-make of the classic ’80s BBC cult sitcom “The Young Ones”!

By on April 1, 2019

We’re not really sure what to make of the announcement today that, later this year, the MTV cable TV network will be premiering their re-make of the classic BBC2 cult sitcom series “The Young Ones.”

The original “Young Ones” series — which lasted just two seasons, 1982-1984 — also aired briefly on “Night Flight” during the 1980s, so you can see why many of us here at Night Flight HQ would be particularly interested in this breaking news. We hope to one day have this brand new series streaming for our subscribers on Night Flight Plus!

We’re reading that this re-booted sitcom will apparently keep the same character names as the early ’80s BBC show, but – get this — all but one of the characters will be played by young actors speaking with faked British accents.

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So, here’s the show’s new cast:

Irish actor Jack Gleeson — memorable as “King Joffrey Baratheon” in the first four seasons of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — will play the science-oriented, punk rock med student “Vyvyan Bastard” (originally played by Ade Edmondson).

English-born Canadian actor Keir Gilchrist — who American TV audiences will likely recognize from Netflix’s “Atypical” (playing the autistic lead “Sam Gardner”) and Showtime’s “United States of Tara,” as well as from appearances films like Kind of a Funny Story (2010) and It Follows (2014) — will play “Rick,” the wannabe Marxist/anarchist sociology student who is, somewhat improbably, still a Cliff Richard fan (he was originally played by the late great Rik Mayall).

Joe Keery — best known from the popular Netflix sci-fi/horror series “Stranger Things,” and as a former member of psychedelic rock band Post Animal — will play the socially-oppressed, paranoid hippie peace studies student “Neil Wheedon Watkins Pye” (memorably played previously by Nigel Planer).

Finally, and probably most unbelievable of all this casting news, an honest to God award-winning movie star Timothée Chalamet — notable for his performances in movies like Call Me by Your Name, Beautiful Boy and in many supporting roles in other films — will portray the suave, charming ladies man and would-be underground mob boss “Mike The-Cool-Person” (originally played by Christopher Ryan).

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The original cast of “The Young Ones” on location in Bristol, UK, August 1982, left to right: Chris Ryan (“Mike”), Rik Mayall (“Rick”), Nigel Planer (“Neil”) and Ade Edmondson (“Vyvyan”)

Just like the original series, one actor — in this case, pop singer Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers — will play several characters on “The Young Ones,” but he will mainly be seen on the show as the quartet’s landlord, “Jerzel Balowski” (he was played in the original by Alexei Sayle), although it’s been rumored that the landlord’s name has been changed to Heywood Jablowmi.

We can tell you that their press release says their new “Young Ones” will continue to be based around “four lunatic students who live together in a run-down four-bedroom condo,” but other than updating the story to the year 2019, we don’t know much about whether MTV plans to make any major changes to the show’s plot.

Just like the original BBC2 series, each half-hour episode — the pilot episode will actually be an hour long — will feature a musical performance by present-day bands, but instead of bands like Madness, Motörhead and the Damned, expect to see newer acts like Amyl & the Sniffers, Fuzzy Sun and Feet (yes, those are real bands!).

If you’re unfamiliar with “The Young Ones,” here’s an excerpt from our previously-posted blog, penned by Night Flight contributor Marc Edward Heuck:

The concept of the show came from Rik Mayall, Lise Mayer — who was dating Mayall during production — and Ben Elton, a college friend later to embark on his own stand-up career.

They figured that for a sitcom setting, the actors needed to be in the same room for long stretches of time to play off each other, and while they initially considered making the characters unemployed, thought that notion would be too political.

Instead, Mayall decided to flip the script, and make them college students, saying, “I wanted them to be privileged, and for people to hate them.”

Much of the show’s characters emerged out of existing material the actors had previously worked out on stage. Mayall had created a vain, pompous, and easily angered poet character in his act which evolved into Rick, the posturing political agitator with an incongruous love of Cliff Richard.

Similarly, Planer had been playing a dim, earnest hippie character in his act which became the base for Neil, the glum and easily dominated pacifist. Edmonson had frequently used over-the-top violence in his sketches with Mayall, which was channeled into punk rocker Vyvyan, whose solution to most issues with people and things was to batter them with heavy blunt objects. Sayle effectively served as a human non-sequitur, showing up in an episode, doing something odd, and then leaving the scene.

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Mike, the smooth semi-straight man and official “Cool Person” of the house, was the only character that didn’t have an antecedent from the Comic Strip days. It was also the only character not portrayed by a Comic Strip alumnus.

While intended for Planer’s partner Peter Richardson, Richardson clashed fiercely with BBC producer Paul Jackson and exited the series before filming, to be replaced by actor Christopher Ryan.

Read much more of Marc’s post at this link and, oh, by the way, HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!! That’s right, we made all of this brand new “Young Ones” MTV show nonsense up!! If you like April Fools Day stories, be sure to check out this one, this one, this one, and this one too. (Big thanks to Steve Stanley for the photo!)

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
  • Vic C. Crescit

    ha ha

  • tsibs88

    Jackasses!!

  • Gingers4Geezus

    May your bowels become the playground for thousands of Amoebas

  • Angie Frissore

    April Fools!

  • Robert

    Two words. Thank. God.

  • Art Cummiskey Jr.

    You bastard!

  • Ugh

    Please tell me this is some badly thought out April Fools joke? The Young Ones cannot be remade, it just won’t work. Nothing can top the maniac performances of Rik & Ade. If this is by some chance real, please don’t do it.