Ben Elton and Rik Mayall were close friends, having met at university in the 70s

Comedian and author Ben Elton has said he wishes he could have one last conversation with his late friend Rik Mayall, as he “was never able to say goodbye”.

Rik died from a heart attack in 2014 at the age of 56.

The pair were close friends for many years and worked together on Filthy Rich & Catflap and The Young Ones, but Ben told the Big Issue that their professional partnership was “unfinished business” as they had wanted to team up again.

Rik Mayall at an awards show
Rik Mayall (PA)

He said: “If I could have one last conversation with anyone, it would have to be Rik.

“Rik died very suddenly and took us all by surprise, as he had done many times in his life.

“He had an enormous heart, and it suddenly just gave out.

“We’d remained very, very good friends and we’d been trying to work together again for the first time in 20 years.

“But I was never able to say goodbye to him, and we never got to pick up our professional relationship, which we both always saw as unfinished business.”

Ben, 59, and Rik knew each other since the 70s, when they met at Manchester University.

“Rik was standing next to me when I met my wife. We were so close,” said the playwright.

“I wish I could have that last conversation with him, so I could tell him what he meant to me.

“I wish we could have had another gig.

“But the bastard went and died,” he added.

The Big Issue, the magazine sold by vendors to lift themselves out of poverty, is available to buy from July 2 across the UK for £2.50.