Cash (The Young Ones)

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The Young Ones episode
Episode no.Series 2
Episode 2
Directed byPaul Jackson
Written byBen Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer
Produced byPaul Jackson
Featured musicPeter Brewis
Original air date15 May 1984
Running time33:59
Guest appearance(s)
Mark Arden, Paul Bradley, Lee Cornes, Steve Dixon, Stephen Frost, Steve Kelly, Jan Prince, Kay Stoneham, Andy de la Tour and Alan Freeman.
"Ken Bishop's Nice Twelve"
Peter Brewis, Simon Brint, Stewart Copeland, Chris Difford, Martin Dobson, Derek Griffiths, Jools Holland, Rowland Rivron
Episode chronology
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"Cash" is the eighth 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 15 May 1984.


The quartet are so poor that they are burning their clothes and belongings just to keep warm. Neil prepares meals of snow passed off as risotto, and Vyvyan goes around the neighbourhood to find winter fuel although the episode is set in September. Eventually they decide that someone needs to get a job to bring money into the house, but when the only vacancy advertised in the local paper is for the Army, Rick and Mike both rule themselves out on medical grounds (perforated eardrum and flat feet, respectively), while Vyvyan declares that he is pregnant, leaving Neil the only one to take the job.

After a poor haircut and a quick loan of Mike's suit, Neil goes to join up, but having been told not to mention it, is rejected for being a pacifist. After spotting a recruitment poster for the police, the other three throw Neil into the police station next door, where he meets Alexei Sayle's character, a Mussolini-lookalike. While the others get lucky when a lorry full of food and expensive furnishings crashes through the front window, Neil takes to his new job - arresting a bunch of his drugged-up hippie friends, where the track Electric Gypsies by Steve Hillage is playing on the record player until he pulls the plug on it and says - "Oh no, Steve Hillage!"

Arriving home, Neil tries to arrest his flatmates, assuming they have stolen the luxury items. His harsh use of the baton forces Vyvyan into labour. Mike leaves the room, being afraid of the sight of childbirth. Instead, Vyvyan actually ends up passing wind loudly. Having been handcuffed together with Vyvyan, Rick and Neil frantically try to escape the smell but Neil is unable to find the key. Unaware, Mike comes back in, and tries to light a celebratory cigar. The flame reacts with the gas, causing the house to explode.


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 Benito Mussolini cabaret act and police recruitment officer. DJ Alan Freeman plays God, sitting at a radio mixing desk, on the first of two occasions in the series.


The episode features a performance from Ken Bishop's Nice Twelve, a one-off conglomerate of high-profile rock musicians and theme writers, including Jools Holland, Simon Brint, Stewart Copeland and Chris Difford performing "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan. For contractual reasons, this was edited out of DVD releases in the past, but was reinstated for the 25th Anniversary edition.

On the original release DVDs, to go with the edit, the scenes of the main cast are cut, all bar the scene where they take Neil to the job centre. The band's name is also edited out of the credits, but rather than simply erase the name, the portion of credits with the group name is cut, with the credits before and after that intersected by a thick orange line, which also shows two sets of footage playing. However, when a total list of all cast members of all 12 episodes of the series are in the credits for "Summer Holiday", the names of the three musicians are not taken out.

This particular episode is unusual in that it is filmed to enable the wall with the fireplace, which would usually be 'behind camera,' to be in view during internal scenes. In this case, the wall with the living room window becomes the 'fourth wall.'