Helen Lederer admits she ‘fraternised deeply’ with Rik Mayall during their early careers

Behind the scenes on Rik Mayall's final film

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Helen Lederer, 67, revealed that she and late comedy icon Rik Mayall, had a brief fling at the start of their careers, after meeting each other at the Edinburgh Festival in the early 1980s. Over the years, their paths crossed frequently as they worked together on numerous projects such as The Young Ones, Happy Families and sitcom Bottom, before he died aged 56 in June 2014.

I’d already connected with Rik before, off screen, from Edinburgh

Helen Lederer

Their past intimacy helped the pair during the 1992 Bottom episode ‘Digger’, when their characters were involved in a sex scene.

Helen played Moldovan seductress Lady Natasha, who had to strip off and have sex with Rik’s virgin alter ego Richard ‘Richie’ Richard.

And while some may think they would have been nervous, Helen admitted it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before.

When asked how she felt about the sex scene, Helen giggled: “Well, it’s interesting when you look back.

“I took myself very seriously in those days and because I was always on my own, I would just turn up and try to do the job.

“I’d already connected with Rik before, off screen, from Edinburgh,” she went on.

“So I knew him in that way, so it was a case of just being professional.”

Helen joked: “I didn’t think, ‘Oh, lucky me, I’ve got a sex scene,’ because I’d already had that!”

Rik sadly died at his home in Richmond, following a sudden heart-attack after going out for a jog.

He left behind his wife Barbara Robbin and their three children, and Helen stressed that their flirtation was very much in the past.

Despite their romance being only brief, the Absolutely Fabulous actress credited him for never trying to hide their past on set.

“What I loved about Rik was that he was a very modern man,” she smiled, remembering her friend.

“A sort of gentleman and he would just give a nod and a wink to any past.

“He wouldn’t hide anything, whereas some men would. He was just so open.”

She continued to tell The Mirror that they “fraternised deeply at that [Edinburgh] festival”.

Following news of the performer’s death, Helen was among the first to honour him and his talents.

She recalled: “He said: ‘Do you want a dress or something?’ I said: ‘No, Rik. Not really,’ so I didn’t get a dress.

“But I got his attention and the twinkle-eyed look that he kept for me whenever we would meet.”

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