"The following programme contains...naughty bits..."
Thames Television had decided to retire the failing talent show Opportunity Knocks amid persistent rumours of vote rigging and to avoid any further potential scandal involving its host Hughie Green. The drama parlour game Whodunnit filled the gap until a new replacement could be found. Luckily for Thames they wouldn’t have to go far to find it.
Everett hadn't been seen on television in some time. His voice-
Famous for his imaginative use of audio gimmickry he would be well suited to the
visual side of pop as new camera and computer trickery was just being introduced
by companies like Quantel and Reilly which would allow images to re-
The show would be directed by ex-
Everett wouldn't just be there to link pop videos and special guests, he would create
characters and perform to a small audience of cameramen, floor managers and make
up girls. For the first series we met Sid Snot, the baby in the pram, Spod, 'Mary
Whitehouse', Wonder Tart, Angry of Mayfair and Dick Thrust. In addition, Cosgrave-
Director Mallet told the Daily Mirror at the time of the show's launch "For the last
four months the whole of Thames Television has been contributing ideas. Even cameramen
come onto the floor with a joke and that doesn't happen often. It is all written
as we go. We don't have an audience. The laughter you hear is all the other people
working on the show." No-
Philip Jenkinson who had found film clips for The Kenny Everett Explosion was given the same job this time around, finding wacky adverts and short cartoons.
Everett’s use of tame smut would be enhanced by sexy dance troupe Arlene Phillips' Hot Gossip, whose weekly "naughty bit" guaranteed the show an audience of young boys and their dads who still yearned for Pan's People on Top Of The Pops. Hot Gossip were not new to TV however, having appeared on BBC1’s David Essex show a year before. As a result of the success of the show Everett had now become hot property and would crop up in several editions of Bruce Forsyth's Big Night Out for London Weekend later in the year. More success came the following year when the show won Best Light Entertainment Programme at the BAFTAs, while the 1979 New Year special The Didn’t Quite Make It In Time For Christmas Show became ITV’s entry for the Montreaux Television Festival.
That special and the second series featured in its opening credit sequence the Maori chant used by Quantum Jump in their disco hit The Lone Ranger, while the show introduced new characters Marcel Wave, Brother Lee Love and Serge Suit, while Angry of Mayfair whose half businessman / half bra and panties costume led to a now legendary encounter with David Bowie. As a fan of the show he would return with a specially made clip of Space Oddity '80. Between the second and third series Everett would also become a regular on BBC1's Blankety Blank, keeping his options open should the Thames TV gig go south.
Everett wanted to call the 1979 New Years' Eve special "The Show That Saved You From Andy Stewart", but Thames said "no". The Will Kenny Everett Make It To 1980 Show? would be followed by the third series in 1980, however, Thames producer Philip Jones told the Daily Mirror that the next series may be in a different format “we are planning to increase the comedy content and the show will probably go to a later time.” Everett gave up his Capital Radilo show in order to concentrate on the upcoming series, but still continued to record episodes of Captain Kremmen for Mike Smith's breakfast show on the station. The third series saw Kremmen of the Star Coprs and several of the characters return, but five of the original six Hot Gossip would be replaced. As Kenny said in the introduction to the first show "we've got rid of all the old lumpy bits, and put in fresh lumpy bits." The new characters included the Scotsman who appeared on the previous new year's eve show, Billy Banter (a Bernard Manning type offensive comedian) and a computer sidekick, Tharg. The record industry gave up some of their best for the show, Elvis Costello, Pete Townshend, The Boomtown Rats, Cliff Richard, Gary Numan, The Pretenders and The Police among others.
Another New Year's Eve show in 1980 proceeded the new series and the promised changes
were immediately evident, even down to the use of The Kenny Everett Video Cassette
name after the ad break. Another major change was the departure of David Mallet,
replaced by Royton Mayoh who had previously worked on Opportunity Knocks. For this
series there would only be one guest music act per show, while Hot Gossip danced
to their own recordings (they had a recording career of their own, as did Everett).
A new quiz show Star Quiz was introduced and veered off into Tiswas territory by
using a gunge tank (although something similar had been used in the first series).
Also the cartoon version of Captain Kremmen was ditched in favour of a live action
version featuring Everett and actress Anna Dawson playing Carla. Dawson had to wear
a special bust-
Despondent, Everett moved to the BBC where his Kenny Everett Television Show debuted at Christmas 1981.
A four DVD set of edited highlights was released by Network in 2018.