All four series of The Kenny Everett Video Show, the brilliantly subversive British television comedy and music programme from the late 1970s and early ’80s, are to be released on a comprehensive DVD box set next month, with much of the material issued commercially for the first time ever. Erupting onto the small screen in July ’78, the iconic series propelled the impish Disc Jockey to superstardom, running for 35 episodes through to May 1981 on the ITV network, before Everett defected to the BBC, which transmitted the only other two television channels in Britain at the time (Channel 4 having debuted in 1982).
The Video Show was produced by Thames Television, ITV’s London weekday broadcaster, and Everett’s anarchic mix of manic sketches, musical guests and dance routines created must-see television; his creative genius running riot as he unleashed a line-up of fantastically irreverent and much-mimicked comedy characters such as gobby rocker Sid Snot, Gallic sophisticate Marcel Wave, dimwitted spaceman Captain Kremmen (the deliciously spooneristic named Cupid Stunt arrived after Everett’s defection to Aunty Beeb).
Recorded without a studio audience, the sketch show became renowned for the sound of the crew in hysterics behind the cameras. The Video Show also boasted a whole wealth of musical A-listers including Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, David Bowie, Dusty Springfield, Kate Bush, Paul McCartney, The Pretenders and Tina Turner, as well as the show’s resident booty-shaking purveyors of raunch, the Sarah Brightman-fronted dance troupe Hot Gossip.
Some of the television footage was released on various VHS compilations in the 1980s, with the only DVD release being the Complete Naughty Bits title in 2004 which contained assorted sketches rather than the musical performances. But in November Network Distributing have delved into the archives to dust off a whopping 15-and-a-half hours of exisiting material – including all three New Year specials – in an extensive six-disc set. Many of Kenny’s star pals also turned up in the mix, including an infamous cameo by Freddie Mercury – in an outrageous sketch done in the best possible taste…
The shows – written by Everett with Barry Cryer and Ray Cameron, father of Michael McIntyre – followed Everett’s controversial but stellar career on radio that spanned the likes of pirate station Radio London, BBC Radio 1 and Capital Radio.
David Bowie first appeared on the show (Series 2: Episode 9) performing the first live version of Boys Keep Swinging on 23rd April 1979, which ended with a cameo from Kenny’s character Angry of Mayfair. Based on the deplorable interfering busybody Mary Whitehouse, Angry was an upper middle class City gent that frequently complained of the risqué content of the show, banging the cameraman’s lens hood with his umbrella, and then storming off, turning his back to the camera, only then to be revealed as wearing women’s underwear in lieu of the entire back half of his suit.
Bowie also appeared later that year in the one-hour long New Year’s Eve Special (Will Kenny Everett Make It To 1980?), performing a primal acoustic version of Space Oddity that was later released as the B-side to the one-off single Alabama Song.
As touched on in the new topic of there same name, Kenny was instrumental in the success of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975 having debuted the single on his radio show – despite promising not to release the preview tape – going on to play it 14 times across one weekend. His personal life and friendships with the likes of The Beatles often hit the headlines too, as well as the more recent revelation of a clandestine trip he took to London’s famed drag queen haunt, The Vauxhall Tavern, with Freddie Mercury, Cleo Rocos and Princess Diana in the late 1980s. Kenny Everett sadly died of an Aids-related illness in 1995 aged just 50.
Released by: Network Distributing Certificate: 15 Running Time: 935mins Release date:19th November 2018 RRP: £59.99
Steve Pafford, Florence OR