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Popular Music on British Television

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3rd July 1978 - 21st May 1981

Thames Television had decided to retire the failing talent show Opportunity Knocks amid rumours of vote rigging and avoid any further scandal involving its host Hughie Green.

Hosted by Capital Radio DJ Kenny Everett, whose imaginative use of audio studio gimmickry was well suited to handle the visual side of pop. The show would be directed by ex-Shindig director David Mallet and together they used cameras, props and sets in a way the public hadn't really seen before.

Everett had co-hosted Nice Time for Granada back in 1968 and several short lived series for London Weekend, but had been off the television for several years before being given the voice-over job on weekly game show Celebrity Squares in the mid-seventies.

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, Mary Whitehouse, Wonder Tart and Dick Thrust. In addition Cosgrave-Hall Productions would supply a weekly three minute cartoon version of his space hero Captain Kremmen.

Everett’s use of tame smut together with sexy dance troupe Hot Gossip rendered the show unmissable by young boys and their dads who missed Pan's People on the Pops, although they had appeared on the David Essex show a year before.

Everett was so successful that he cropped up in several editions of Bruce Forsyth's Big Night Out for London Weekend later in the year.

The second series featured in it's opening credits the Maori chant as used by Quantam Jump in their disco hit The Lone Ranger and among the new characters were Marcel Wave, Brother Lee Love, Serge Suit and Angry of Mayfair whose half businessman half bra and panties costume led to a now legendary encounter with David Bowie. A fan of the show he would return with a specially made clip of Space Oddity '80.

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.

The second series would also see the original line-up of Hot Gossip leave. Between the second and third series Everett would become a regular on Blankety Blank.

A new year's eve special would be followed by the third series in 1980, however at the end Thames producer Philip Jones tells 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.”

Another New Year's Eve show in 1980 proceeded the new series and as promised changes were made. The name of the show becomes The Kenny Everett Video Cassette, and put opposite Top of the Pops, and it died a death. Anna Dawson plays Karla in a live action version of Captain Kremmen, along with Everett. Despondent, Everett moves to the BBC where his Kenny Everett Television Show debuts Christmas 1981.