Bad News, the parody of a bad heavy metal band, began as a 1983 episode from the Comic Strip, an English comedy troupe whose members numbered three of the four Young Ones (Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmonson, and Nigel Planer
) and writer Peter Richardson (other members included Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders).
As a particularly British answer to Spinal Tap
, Bad News could barely find the switch on their amp. Edmonson played Vim Fuego, the egocentric guitarist of the group, Planer played Den Dennis, the metal purist and rhythm guitarist, Mayall played Colin Grigson, the talentless bassman, tolerated because he owns the P.A., and Richardson as Spyder Webb, the barely there drummer. The 1983 special came at a creative high point for the Comic Strip team -- it was one of many well-done shows in that season, but time, numerous repeats, and the rise of the VCR raised Bad News to cult status, mainly among college students. After a few years passed, the four decided to reunite for an album (Bad News) and sequel to the original special. To really get the most out of their roles, they played in front of 70,000 at Castle Donnington's Monsters of Rock festival and were promptly booed off the stage. The success of the album resulted in a cassette-only follow-up Bootleg and a single "Cashing in on Christmas" a poke at the traditional end-of-year single. The four comedian actors never returned to their roles afterwards, but a hashed-together compilation "The Cash in Compilation" followed a few years later with one or two rare tracks. The members have since gone on to various other TV and movie projects and (fortunately) never picked up any instruments again. ~ Ted Mills, Rovi