Sunday, 6 March 2016
350 The Kenny Everett Video Show
First viewed : July 1978
Ah welcome to the eighties , eighteen months early. The first TV show with the word "video" in the title this music and comedy show had more than one foot in the future.
Its host had had a mercurial career in radio starting out in pirate radio before moving to the BBC just before the Light Programme morphed into Radios One and Two. He pioneered the use of jingles on the station. He was originally sacked in 1970, ostensibly for an ill-judged remark about the wife of Transport Secretary John Peyton although the real reason was that he had publicly berated the restrictive practices of the Musicians Union over "needle time" , something that helps explain his infamous turn at a Conservative party conference a few years later. He briefly went back to the BBC in 1973 just as I started tuning in but quickly jumped ship to Capital Radio. He had done a fair bit of TV work in the early seventies but little in the years immediately preceding this show.
With his love of music, playing silly characters and studio gadgetry Kenny was the natural choice to present the show. He would be the visual DJ doing funny links between musical acts whether on video - a medium he could claim some credit for popularising as the first DJ to get behind Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - or specially recorded performances. Some of the pop guests ( like Kate Bush above ) chanced their arm and did comic interviews with him.
The show was also famous for launching Arlene Phillips's Hot Gossip, a mixed dance troupe who upped the ante with their sexy costumes and risque routines. Besides promoting the new pop videos, the show itself had a direct influence on their style- compare Hot Gossip's first routine to Ceronne's Supernature to Bowie's Ashes To Ashes and you'll see what I mean. On the back of the programme the former song was a big hit and is one of the earliest singles in my own collection.
Apart from the linking segments, Kenny was restricted at first to a couple of animated shorts featuring his Captain Kremen character but with each succeeding series the balance between comedy and music tilted towards the former. This was where we first met the likes of Sid Snot, Marcel Wave and Angry of Mayfair.
As a replacement show for the increasingly stale Opportunity Knocks on a Monday evening the show seemed wonderfully fresh and exciting and quickly became a favourite.
After the fourth series ( re-titled The Kenny Everett Video Cassette ) Kenny became embroiled in a dispute with Thames particularly over their scheduling of the show directly against Top of the Pops on a Thursday. Sensing blood , the BBC seduced him back with the offer of a prime time show with them and he took the bait bringing to an end one of ITV's most innovative contributions to TV.