IT’S SURPRISINGLY DIFFICULT TO FIND PRESENTERS WHOSE NAME BEGIN WITH ‘E’, Y’KNOW, but any excuse to mention Cuddly Ken is alright by us. We all know that Ken was fantastic on the radio, and it wasn’t long before TV companies tried to get a piece of him. He first came to the public’s attention of Granada’s John Birt-produced clip show NICE TIME, and also contributed to the very BBC2 late night satirical review UP SUNDAY. But his biggest exposure in these early days came in 1970 when LWT booked him for three shows running consecutively in exactly the same slot – THE KENNY EVERETT EXPLOSION saw him arsing around with chimps and the like, a show Ken later reckoned was a bit rubbish, followed by MAKING WHOOPEE, where he introduced performances from Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band, and Ev, where Ken linked pop videos. After this, though, it was back to the wireless, and it wasn’t until 1978 when he made a proper return to television with THE KENNY EVERETT TELEVISION SHOW on Thames. Channel 4 screened an episode of this in 1995 and it was fantastic – “Now it’s time to turn the cameras off, and kiss the crew goodnight/We’ve had a laugh, a song and dance, we’ve even had a fight/But now the show is over and we’d like you all to send/Your cheques and all your credit cards to Thames TV, The End!” Best bit, of course, was the interview with Rod Stewart conducted on swivel chairs nicked from an office, with Ken wearing a freebie Thames T-shirt and Rod drinking a cup of coffee – which ends up in Ken’s face. And there were the regular trips round the back of the set, to reveal dirty tea-towels and plastic cups (“Hollywoodsville!”).
After four years Ken legged it to the BBC where his shows were still great, although they got a studio audience in as opposed to the Thames shows which just had the crew’s laughter. Mind you, you can still hear the technicians pissing themselves during the Cupid Stunt sketches. As children, TV Cream were unable to watch it because Reg Prescott scared us so much, and even watching repeats in recent years we’ve still been sitting there squirming with embarrassment. Much more our scene was the pop-science quiz BRAINSTORM, which was actually produced by the TOMORROW’S WORLD team. Losing contestants were evaporated and Ken had a plasma ball on his desk that he got a great deal of pleasure from. After this, though, Ken decided to give up telly and concentrate on radio, with his final appearances coming as a team captain on THAT’S SHOWBUSINESS, where he was the best thing on it. Of course, Ken’s BLANKETY BLANK appearances are rightly the stuff of legend (“Athlete’s… Phut?”) but more or less everything he did on the telly – and the radio – was fan-bloody-tastic.Read More