Kenny Everett was a true pioneer of British broadcasting, getting his first big break in 1964 when he worked on pirate radio station Radio London. Inspired by the surrealism of The Goon Show during his childhood, Kenny’s own anarchic sense of humour endeared him to millions of listeners around the country, who all marvelled at Kenny’s superb technical expertise in sound mixing and dubbing. Producing inventive jingles with an all singing Everett choir on reel to reel tape recorders, he was unafraid to show his eccentric, maverick spirit.
Moving over to Radio 1 and The Capital Radio Breakfast Show in the seventies, he gradually became disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the BBC and was eventually fired from Radio 1 for making off-the-cuff remarks. However, Kenny’s swift departure opened up a whole new world in light entertainment, when he accepted a role writing and performing as resident host and DJ for The Kenny Everett Video Show on Thames Television.
The rest, they say, is (television) history…
To mark the programme’s 40th anniversary, Network Distributing are releasing all 35 episodes (and 3 New Year specials) of The Kenny Everett Video Show from 1978-1981. The programme was revolutionary in its bold, liberal use of graphics, smutty innuendo and sexy choreography from dance troupe, Hot Gossip. It was here that Kenny was triplicated as the hairy, toothy Bee Gees, and his head was often cut and pasted on tv screens and the bodies of supporting artists for comedic effect. Kenny co-wrote the scripts with Barry Cryer and Ray Cameron (the father of Michael McIntyre), with the show providing a loose compilation of comedy, short animation, live action and music videos, with performances from artists including The Police, David Bowie, Elvis Costello and Thin Lizzy. Outrageous, uncompromising, and with a keen sense of the ridiculous, Kenny revelled in his naughtiness as the resident MC, much to the amusement of the unseen studio crew during his skits with guest stars including Billy Connolly, Kate Bush and the flirtatious Rod Stewart. Kenny is nerdy, neurotic and flamboyant in his comedy performances. Pinstriped businessman Angry-of-Mayfair is the buttoned-up city slicker, who reveals silk lingerie hidden beneath (and behind) his pristine business suits. Jaded, ageing punk rocker, Sid Snot, fails to master the art of catching cigarettes in his mouth, and is overwhelmed by the attention of a boisterous Freddie Mercury.
Evangelical Brother Lee Love, the controversial poster boy for the Young Conservatives conference of 1983, breaks out into spontaneous gospel, pointing to the heavenly gods with his oversized foam hands, whilst Gallic lothario Marcel Wave, rocks a majestic smokers jacket and latex jaw, leching over the scantily clad dancers of Hot Gossip. Kenny camps it up in drag to mock the shrill, puritanical (and surprisingly curvaceous) Mary Whitehouse, who despairs at Kenny’s ‘naughty bits.’
Sci-fi animation Captain Kremmen pops up to make a regular appearance in every episode. Created by Brian Cosgrove, the animator of Dangermouse, the story was originally a radio series during Kenny’s days at Capital Radio. Captain (Elvis Brandenberg) Kremmen is the muscly superhero based (partly) on the image of the bearded, wide eyed (and weedy) Everett. Stranded in outer space with his nubile (and obliging) assistant Carla and the imminent German Scientist Dr Heinrich Von Gitfinger, they attempt to fend off extra terrestrial life form (finding the time for illicit sexual escapades across the galaxy).
Kenny’s untimely death in 1995 at the early age of 50, has been a huge loss. One cannot help but wonder what comedy he would have produced in the 21st century.
These excellent DVDs provide a lovely insight into the work of a British comedy legend.
The DVD set is available from the 19th November 2018.
Lynsey Ford | [rating=4]
Comedy, Television | UK, 2018 | 15 | 19th November 2018 (UK)| DVD | Network Distributing | Kenny Everett