Time (The Young Ones)

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The Young Ones episode
Episode no. Series 2
Episode 4
Directed by Paul Jackson
Written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer
Produced by Paul Jackson
Featured music Peter Brewis
Original air date 5 June 1984
Running time 34:09
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Time" was the tenth 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 BBC Two on 5 June 1984.


The episode begins with credits and setting which spoofs the popular 1980s soap opera Dallas. Neil (or E.T.) is running a Texas oil company, with Rick as an American client furious at Neil's way of business - signing over oil wells and giving away money to the public. Neil is woken from this "beautiful" dream by a deeply hungover Vyvyan yelling at the Sunday bellringers to be quiet. Rick wakes up next to a young but unknown female, fully clothed. His initial shock and confusion (he has no memory of how she got there) is tempered by his realisation that he can boast about a sexual conquest to the others. His housemates are doubtful, and Mike makes an attempt to seduce the girl in question, who calls herself Helen Mucus. However, when she reveals that she merely went to sleep in an empty bed, the others turn on Rick, with Vyvyan accusing him of still being a virgin, sparking hefty denials from Rick. This argument leads to an escalating confrontation between the two, which spreads around the house.

Meanwhile, the radio has revealed Helen is an escaped murderess, and so she decides to kill the four, beginning with Mike. He mistakes her violent actions to him as rough foreplay. The appearance of a medieval knight sends the front door crashing on top of Helen. This confuses the quartet, who soon discover the house has gone through a time warp. Neil is concussed and kidnapped, along with Helen, by the knight who takes him outside to some Middle Ages hutkeepers, to offer them as maidens. Having been thrown off the knight's horse, Neil regains consciousness and starts a conversation with the villagers, but their hut blows up from a howitzer, poorly aimed by Vyvyan at Rick.

Neil is chased back to the house after being accused of sorcery, and, with Rick promising to have a T-shirt confirming his virginity printed, the four quickly check the television to see if programming has been altered by their time loop. They watch a programme called Medieval Torture Hour. Rick Neil, and Mike begins to freak out about the time warp, asking what they're going to do, to which Vyvyan responds "Oh, who cares?", which begins the credit roll. During the credits, the boys settle down to a game of cards, while around them, all of the episode's characters enter the house. As a stinger, Neil gets hit on the head with a giant bone by one of the peasants, which only seems to annoy Neil more than anything.


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 a medieval jester and a cheese shop customer. Jennifer Saunders plays the murderess Helen Mucus, while Helen Lederer plays the female sidekick of the jester's show. Hale and Pace play peasants. This episode also features Paul Merton (credited under his real name, Paul Martin) as one of three yokels. It was his first television appearance. Dawn French also appears briefly as the Easter Bunny.


The episode features a performance by pop/reggae band Amazulu.