Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan are the four housemates: Rick (Cliff Richard-worshipping radical sociology student), Vyvan (violence-loving punk medical student), Neil (put-upon suicidal hippie) and Mike (self-styled cool guy). Alexei Sayle appears regularly playing various mad Russians. Taking a cue from National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) the show now seems to anticipate the teen gross-out flicks of the late 1990s but to far more amusing effect. In retrospect The Young Ones is cheerfully un-politically correct in a way which may shock more now than 20 years ago; certainly some of the insults and drug-taking would have trouble getting on TV today. The first series was followed by a second equally hilarious series; Mayall and Edmondson played essentially similar characters in Filthy, Rich and Catflap (1987) and Bottom (1991-5).