TV & Radio
Fans grieving over comedian Rik Mayall's sudden death at age 56 have swung behind a campaign to push his unofficial World Cup anthem Noble England to number one in the British charts.
So far the social media-driven campaign is working. In less than 24 hours Noble England has climbed to number 17 in the charts, according to live tallies of music downloads which make up the majority of single sales.
"It is gaining staggering momentum," campaign organiser Steve Diamond told Fairfax. "At this rate, I think we can do it, and maybe even set a record for fastest selling single of all time ... it's a great song, mixing Shakespeare with typical Rik Mayall. RIP."
The patriotic song, in which Mayall mixes his trademark physical comedy with a stirring plea for excellence on the pitch (borrowing heavily from Shakespeare's Henry V) was originally written for England's last World Cup campaign in 2010. Mayall's performance in the video clip shows his capacity to inject drama into comedy. As his hapless football coach morphs into an intimidating knight, Mayall urges: "When the whistle blasts then imitate the action of the tiger. Stiffen up the sinews summon up the blood. Disguise fair nature with hard, fevered force."
Diamond was part of the campaign to make AC/DC's Highway To Hell the 2013 Christmas No.1. But he expects this campaign to be successful: "We have gotten a lot more press interest, as Rik was considered a national treasure. Also, because we're not competing with Senor [Simon] Cowell, there's none of that 'you're trying to kill X-Factor'[criticism] that we dealt with last time.
"[This is an] absolutely a massive tribute to Rik," Diamond said. "Last time out, when it was released in 2010, neither the song, nor the England team for that matter, performed well. This time round... How great would it be if England, spurred on by the late, great, Rik Mayall were able to actually win the damned thing. How fitting a tribute to the man would that be.
"And yes, if we got to number one, I feel that we would be giving him the biggest send-off that we know how to do.
"Our lads out in Brazil need all the encouragement that they can get, so if they can't do it for themselves, or the fans, DO IT FOR RIK!!!!"
Rik Mayall's monologue to English World Cup footballers
(with apologies to William Shakespeare)
Once more onto the pitch dear friends once more
to raise up these walls with our English cheer.
When the whistle blast blows in our ears
then imitate the ashen of the tiger
stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood
disguise fair nature with hard favoured force
Then lend the eye a skilful aspect
Set the teeth, oh gentle men in England
bend up every spirit to its full height
On, on you noble English
Those men of grosser blood, teach them how to play
you good players whose limbs were made in England
Show us here the mettle of your footwork
Let us swear that you are worth your breeding
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips
Straining upon the start, the game's afoot
Follow your spirit upon this charge
Cry God and win for England and St George
- FFX Aus