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Kenny Everett Video Show, The (1978-81)

Courtesy of Fremantlemedia

Main image of Kenny Everett Video Show, The (1978-81)
Thames Television for ITV, 3/7/1978-21/5/1981
32 x 30 min editions in 4 series plus 3 specials, colour
Writers includeBarry Cryer
 Ray Cameron
 Kenny Everett
DirectorsDavid Mallet
 Royston Mayoh

Cast: Kenny Everett, Hot Gossip, Anna Dawson (Carla)

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Sketches, gags and video high-jinks with a series of bizarre characters and the naughty dancing of Hot Gossip and the space adventures of Captain Kremmen.

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Feted as an innovative and irreverent radio DJ, Kenny Everett had mixed success transferring his inimitable brand of comedy to television before breaking through with this Thames Television vehicle. Written with Barry Cryer and Ray Cameron, The Kenny Everett Video Show was a characteristically hyperactive vehicle for Everett's talents, employing all manner of studio trickery and experiments with television form - including Everett sticking his unwanted chewing gum on the camera lens and inviting contributions from the production crew - with the supremely confident host appearing in front of a bank of television screens.

Everett created a host of memorable characters, among them Angry of Mayfair, a puritan city gent who wore stockings and suspenders; ill-mannered greaser Sid Snot; lascivious Frenchman Marcel Wave; and the generously-endowed (and, of course, bearded) movie siren Cupid Stunt, prone to losing her clothes "in the best possible taste". A popular transfer from radio was the space serial Captain Kremmen, now in animated form, with the voices of the space-age superhero and his assistants - dumb blonde Carla, scientist Gitfinger and crew member Gonad - all supplied by Everett. Made by Cosgrove Hall Productions, the cartoon spawned the short film Kremmen - The Movie (d. John Sunderland), shown in cinemas in 1980. By series four, Kremmen was live action, with Anna Dawson playing Carla.

Musical guests played a large part: initially mainstream - The Moody Blues and Dean Friedman - but increasingly New Wave, including Squeeze and Elvis Costello. Everett attracted big names to join the studio mayhem; Freddie Mercury wrestled with Sid Snot, David Bowie was chased around the set by Angry of Mayfair and Cliff Richard was suspended by his wrists as 'a Cliff hanger'. Pop stars were also sent up in sketches, with an Elton John whose glasses swelled to gargantuan proportions and a Rod Stewart whose backside inflated and ultimately floated him off the screen.

Despite the interventions of grandiose overseer Lord Thames, Everett's cheekiness was irrepressible, as he delighted in a weekly dose of 'naughty bits' in the form of Arlene Phillips' dancers Hot Gossip, whose provocative gyrations drew protests from the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association. Regardless, the series was a huge hit, and even won a BAFTA in 1978. After four series, the last renamed the Kenny Everett Video Cassette, Everett moved the format to the BBC under the more conservative title The Kenny Everett Television Show (1981-88).

Graham Rinaldi

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Video Clips
1. Sid Snot and opening credits (1:57)
2. Brother Lee Love (0:45)
3. Commercial Time (1:20)
4. Captain Kremmen (2:08)
5. Marcel Wave (0:31)
6. David Essex Interview (1:05)
Complete programme (28:39)
Cryer, Barry (1935-)
Everett, Kenny (1944-1995)