The Young Ones: Timothy Spall was almost cast as Mike

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Here’s a curious case of ‘what could have been’: we’ve just learned that Timothy Spall, the revered British actor, was almost cast as Mike in The Young Ones back in the day.

“We nearly gave the part to Timothy Spall, who did an absolutely brilliant reading,” the show’s co-writer Lise Mayer has revealed in a new documentary. However, they ultimately decided that Spall’s appearance was too similar to that of Nigel Planer, who was already locked into the role of Neil.

“We just decided that facially he and Nigel were too similar, they both had that hangdog thing going on,” Meyer goes on to explain. “Then we went to see a play called Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, which was on at the West End. Chris Ryan was in it and was absolutely brilliant and we thought, ‘We’ve found our Mike.'”

Going from left to right in the image below, the eponymous Young Ones ended up being Nigel Planer (who was deemed too facially similar to Spall), Rik Mayall, Christopher Ryan (who ultimately got the role that Spall went for) and Adrian Edmondson.

If you’d like some more inside info on The Young Ones, the documentary is called How The Young Ones Changed Comedy, and you can watch the first episode this coming Saturday (26th May 2018) at 21:30 on Gold.

We’ll bring you more curious nuggets of TV history as and when we hear them.