1.1 - Demolition

The Young Ones episode
Episode no.Series 1
Episode 1
Directed byPaul Jackson
Written byBen Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer
Original air date9 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 attending the fictional Scumbag College go about their day-to-day life in their shared house. Neil cooks a lentil casserole that no one wants to eat, then becomes so depressed that he attempts suicide twice. He first tries to suffocate himself in a gas-filled oven, but stops upon seeing how filthy it is; next he tries to hang himself, only to find that he has left too much slack in the rope. Vyvyan brings home an amputated human leg from the college morgue, planning to mount it on the bonnet of his car instead of writing an essay about it for anatomy class. Rick, who becomes extremely agitated whenever he perceives any slight against Cliff Richard, begins smashing saucers and uses Neil's guitar to attack a pair of joke-telling rats. Jerzei Balowski, the group's landlord, visits to ask that they pay the rent they owe, but Mike distracts him until he agrees to settle accounts with them later.

Vyvyan announces that the four have received a letter from the council informing them that the house is to be demolished the next day, and each one devises his own plan to fight the decision. Vyvyan tries to destroy the house himself; Neil considers hiding inside a wall cavity, then places his head in the path of a workman's sledgehammer; and Mike tries to seduce a female council representative. Meanwhile, Rick ties himself to a large cross in front of the house and begins to read a protest poem he has written, but switches to singing a snippet from Richard's song "Living Doll" after he drops his notebook. None of their strategies is successful in deterring the council, but the demolition order becomes moot when an aeroplane suddenly crashes into the house and destroys it.


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 are not as fleshed out as in later episodes, Rick's outfit is different, and he and Vyvyan 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 teenager-oriented BBC2 show called Nozin' Aroun'; Rick kicks in the television screen upon watching it, ridiculing the on-air personnel's "hippie" traits and preference for flared trousers.

Musical interlude[]

The musical interlude for this episode was provided by the band Nine Below Zero, performing "11 + 11."


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

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