Sunday, 5 June 2016
409 Kelly Monteith
First viewed : November or December 1979
This series isn't much celebrated these days but it ran for five years.
Kelly Monteith was a reasonably successful American stand-up comedian who'd presented a short-lived variety show in 1976. In the late seventies he came to Britain and became a popular chat and variety show guest particularly on Des O' Connor Tonight . The Beeb sought to capitalise on this by offering him his own show with a British supporting cast.
First broadcast on BBC2 in November 1979 the show was a strange hybrid of Saturday Night Live and Robin's Nest . Kelly played a version of himself , a slightly manic TV comedian who lived with a British girlfriend Jill ( Gabrielle Drake ) . He'd start the show by breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience directly with a lengthy monologue and then drop himself into a more conventional sitcom situation.
I saw a small snatch of the first season on BBC 2 where Kelly had a mishap in the shower and was hopping around the flat starkers ( not the last time he was nude in the series ) . I thought that was pretty funny so when the series was repeated on Sunday nights on BBC1 in the spring of 1980 I made a point of watching it.
Not that much of it has stayed with me to be honest. The episode I remember best is one where Kelly and Jill have a great dinner party at their flat with an older couple and accept a return invite that wasn't really meant. Accordingly they turn up at their hosts when they're about to go to bed and muddle through a joyless evening, Kelly desperately cracking lines which just die in an acute case of social embarrassment.
I must have watched at least some of the second season because I remember the appearance of animal impersonator Percy Edwards as a fellow guest on a chat show featuring Kelly. I don't recall watching any of it after Drake was dropped allowing Kelly to start dating again. This was probably partly down to BBC 1 putting the repeats on in a progressively later timeslot perhaps through nervousness at the increasingly risque content.
Kelly doesn't seem to have done very much since the series ended in 1984- the odd chat show appearance, a few obscure films - which is a bit of a shame.