Thursday, 11 October 2012
Radio Review: 12 October
Our reviewer remembers Kenny Everett’s technical excellence and sense of mischief
Written by Louis BarfeI never met Kenny Everett, but I spoke to him once. It was a Saturday morning in the early 1990s, and my mother's radio station of choice at the time was Capital Gold, on which Everett presented a weekend show. He played a clip from a film and asked listeners to guess the origin. I knew instantly that it came from Network, a superb 1970s satire of the US media. I called the number, and to my surprise, I got through. On hearing my correct answer, he expressed delight that someone else should recognise a bit from one of his favourite films, then got on with the business of playing the next record. For my efforts, I won a Capital Gold T-shirt.
It was a fleeting association with greatness on my part, but nonetheless, it allows me to say that I had a conversation with one of my lifelong heroes. When I was six years old, I had a Captain Kremmen poster on my bedroom wall. Like many, I came to Everett through his television work, but he was fundamentally a radio man, most at home with a microphone and a bank of tape recorders, which he would put to uses beyond the ken of most other DJs. He created comic characters like Kremmen and Gran, and did all of the voices. A chorister as a lad, he sang beautifully, and frequently created layered masterpieces for the wireless in which he was the whole choir.
In 2008, Mark Paytress delved into Everett's tapes for Radio 4 Archive Hour (as it was then) called Here's Kenny, featuring a lot of clips showing how far ahead of the rest he was throughout his career. BBC Radio 4 Extra dug it out again last week to accompany the BBC Four fi lm about Everett's life, Best Possible Taste. So, we heard an Archive Hour that was itself from the archives.
The technical excellence was harnessed to his irrepressible sense of mischief, which sometimes got Everett into trouble. 'Let's bomb Russia!' was an ill-advised ad lib, Meanwhile, moaning about the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra's covers of pop hits did not endear him to the all-powerful Musicians' Union, and helped contribute to his first BBC sacking. The Beatles were on his side, though, granting him exclusive interviews and enlisting him to produce their fan club Christmas records.
He died far too young, and if he were still with us, he'd still be pushing technology to its limits and leading the way in radio.
Here's Kenny, BBC Radio 4 Extra.
EVENING FORRESTThe new national evening programme to be networked across all BBC local radio stations from January will be hosted by ex- Classic FM presenter Mark Forrest. The show will come from the BBC's studios in Leeds.
Follow Louis on Twitter: @LadyWireless or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis's blog is on www.lady.co.uk
Daily tip from the lady archive
“HEAVEN forbid that we should go back to the days when beauty was under suspicion and plain girls were assumed to have angelic natures.”The Lady. With Prejudice. 28th April 1938