Demolition (The Young Ones)

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The Young Ones episode
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 1
Directed by Paul Jackson
Written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer
Original air date 9 November 1982
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Demolition" is the pilot episode for British sitcom The Young Ones. It was written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, and directed by Paul Jackson. Although made as a pilot episode, the five subsequent episodes had been commissioned and recorded by the time of broadcast, so instead "Demolition" was promoted to the ordinary first episode of a series, and has remained as so. It was first aired on BBC2 on 9 November 1982.[1]


The four dissimilar students at the fictional Scumbag College go about their day-to-day life in their shared house, which includes a lentil casserole made with Lux washing powder and some of Neil's snot for dinner, and one of several of Neil's failed suicide attempts. The lentil casserole is spilled on the floor several times during the episode. Vyvyan acquires an amputated human leg from the morgue on which he has to write an essay for anatomy class, though he would prefer to mount it on the bonnet of his Ford Anglia. Balowski visits and admits that he isn't really a foreigner. Vyvyan then announces that they had received a letter from the council, who are planning to demolish their house the next day. Meanwhile, Vyvyan drops his pet hamster in the casserole after it bites his hand. It proceeds to eat all the casserole and blow up to balloon size. Rick then sees two rats and smashes one to death with Neil's guitar. Neil is unhappy as he says the guitar was made by his grandfather out of matchsticks while dying; the living rat proceeds to mournfully eat the remains of his friend.

Each character throughout the pilot episode has their own plan to fight the council's decision. Rick plans a protest, involving hanging himself from a cross on the front of the house and reading bad poetry from a sheet of paper in his hand, which he drops and thus begins singing Cliff Richard's song "Living Doll". Vyvyan begins knocking down the house himself, using extreme methods. Neil has planned to hang himself, but his rope is too long and he can't do it. He then, sitting on the toilet, plans to hide in the wall cavity and "pretend to be thermal insulation" so that he will be killed when the house is knocked down, and Mike tries to seduce the female council representative (played by Maggie Steed). None of their schemes work, as an airplane ultimately crashes on the building instead.


As with all episodes of The Young Ones, the main four characters were student flatmates Mike (Christopher Ryan); Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson); Rick (Rik Mayall) and Neil (Nigel Planer). However, there are several telltale signs of this being the pilot episode - the characters' individual personalities aren't as fleshed out as in later episodes, Rick's outfit is different, and Vyvyan and Rick sport shorter haircuts. The episode also introduces their landlord Jerzei Balowski (Alexei Sayle), a character who would only appear once more during the first series, and twice more in total. Sayle, however, featured in every episode of the dozen made. Ben Elton appears as the host of a BBC2 show called Nozin' Aroun' which is supposed to be for "young ad-ults"; when Rick watches it he kicks the TV screen in and complains that they are still wearing flared trousers and they are "hippies".

Musical interlude[edit]

The musical interlude for this episode was provide by the band Nine Below Zero.


  1. ^ ""The Young Ones" Demolition (1982)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 May 2009. Original Air Date: 9 November 1982 (Season 1, Episode 1) 

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