I'm part of the generation that grew up watching Rik Mayall, he was part of the "alternative comedy" scene in the early/mid 80s that shook up the established comedic order of northern comedians telling what would now be termed "politically incorrect" jokes.
Drawing on the satire boom of the 1960s, Mayall et al weren't afraid to bring politics into their comedy, challenging the Thatcher government, in many ways providing an "alternative opposition" as well as alternative comedy.
Of course, his biggest successes came in The Young Ones and later on with Bottom - not to everybody's taste, but gaining many millions of viewers in their day.
His "Jackanory" reading of Roald Dahl's Georges Marvellous Medicine was sublime - the perfect match of book and reader!
He went on to perform on stage and both small and big screen, leaving a body of work that will stand as his legacy.