Sick (The Young Ones)

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The Young Ones episode
Episode no. Series 2
Episode 5
Directed by Paul Jackson
Written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer
Produced by Paul Jackson
Featured music Peter Brewis
Original air date 12 June 1984
Running time 34:38
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Summer Holiday"

"Sick" was the eleventh episode of British sitcom The Young Ones. It was written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, and directed by Paul Jackson. It was first aired on BBC2 on 12 June 1984. The episode features the song "Our House", performed by Madness, the only band to appear on the show twice.[1]


All four flatmates are ill in bed, with Vyvyan trying to ease the suffering with vodka, which he then uses to blow up Rick's bedroom, in the form of a Molotov cocktail, to stop Rick complaining. Neil's sneezing fit then prompts Vyvyan to send Mike out to get a cure (prompting a joke about the Cure). Vyvyan takes drastic emergency action, involving the use of Rick's laundry bag, and some extreme acupuncture, using six-inch nails. Vyvyan also tries to get Neil to sneeze outside, pushing him through the bedroom window. Neil's snot splatters all over a man's face who is standing in the street. His reaction throwing a brick toward the four's house, ends up smashing through the window of a neighbouring house, thus beginning a cycle of violence which results in a street riot, also sucking in musical act, Madness (who in unsurprising Madness humour, launch the attacks on each other).

Brian Damage Balowski escapes from his police guard after they're called in to deal with the trouble, and takes the quartet hostage. Usefully, he cures Neil's sneezing with a timely headbutt. Just as the four's doom seems sealed, Neil reveals that his parents had arranged to come for tea in a few minutes. A major clean-up operation - with the convict doing his bit, helpfully polishing his shotgun - follows, before Neil's mother and father ring the doorbell as the street continues in violent chaos around them. After breaking a wooden chair over Rik's back, Neil's mother complains that the show should be more acceptable, in the manner of a sitcom like The Good Life at which point, Vyvyan gives a highly articulate and vehement outburst against the "bloody" Good Life. Suddenly, the quartet go into a whole new sitcom involving the cultivation of plants in the back garden. Rick ends up supposedly killing Neil with a spade after he drones on too long about the cycle of plant life, then buries him in special, grow-anything compost. Neil subsequently re-grows as three separate Neils.

Meanwhile, Rick is being taunted by his own conscience for killing Neil and has a dream about being on trial by judge Mike and prosecutor Vyvyan who suggests they hang Rick, when girls show up and wish that the "People's Poet" won't die. But first they are going to strip naked for Rick. Rick's conscience wakes him up for having a wet dream when he is supposed to be feeling guilty. Rick now runs down into the living room and wishes he could see Neil again, and the three Neils come into the house, which spooks Rick. Just as Mike and Vyvyan enter, the back wall opens up, and Neil's parents, along with Brian, head up a large staircase, milking the audience's applause.


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). Alexei Sayle starred as escaped convict Brian Damage Balowski.


  1. ^ ""The Young Ones" Sick (1984)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 May 2009. Original Air Date: 12 June 1984 (Season 2, Episode 11)