This Peter Kay Thing (Part Two of a Three Part Series)

We promised an update studying the contents of Peter Kay's "Special Kay" DVD. You didn't necessarily want to read an update studying the contents of Peter Kay's "Special Kay" DVD, but here we are anyway. For any non-regulars stumbling into this post, there's a preamble here. On we go:

0:00:00 Title sequence. Short clips of Kay-based business, each one bookended by lots of cereal being poured in front of the camera. Will Peter Kay actually have recorded a special introduction to this DVD, or is it going to be like the Kamp Krusty episode of The Simpsons, with a slight possibility of a recorded message about how Peter Kay endorses this event or product?



0:00:26 No such luck, we're straight into the middle of an episode of underrated 1997 Channel Four show Gas, and a Peter Kay set about the acts in working mens clubs. Gas was hosted by the excellent Lee Mack, and really, really should get repeated on More4.

0:02:18 It looks like we're not going to get the full Gas set after all, as we're straight onto one of the John Smiths adverts. The diving one. In case you don't remember it, it's not really very good, although it does reveal the character Kay plays in the adverts is called "John Smith", and not "Peter Kay". A revelation not quite up there with seeing Del Boy and Rodney's Dad for the first time.



0:02:58 An appearance on Parkinson. Parky mentions how Peter Kay used be a warm-up man for his show. A pity they didn't have the cameras running for any of that, it would have much more worthwhile. The walk-on music is "Amarillo", so we know it's not going to be imperial phase Kay. If we're really lucky, they'll include the episode of Parkinson that was Lord Bob Monkhouse's final proper TV appearance. Oh, and there are flash-cuts cropping out bits of the interview, as we suspect there will be with lots of segments on this disc.

0:05:00 One of Kay's Children in Need guest spots. Making profit from a charity appearance, there. A nice little bit using clippage from the BBC archives, though.

0:06:02 But we're not sticking with it. They really are going to split all these clips over the entire DVD, aren't they? So the actual performances take up more room. Gah. We're onto the advert for the paperback edition of Peter Kay's The Sound Of Laughter, which of course doesn't even feature any input from Kay himself, but rather Jim Bowen. A lot of DVDs include trailers before the main feature plugging other works by the same artist. This DVD has such trailers as the actual main feature. Right now, someone is taking screenshots of that bit of the DVD to use in a Powerpoint presentation on marketing.

He couldn't even be bothered appearing in his own advert for his own product. What does he do all day? The lazy git. (Now is a good time for someone to post a comment stating how he now spends all his time caring for the terminally ill, making us look like utter bastards.)

0:06:23 Peter Kay's guest appearance on The Sodding Catherine Tate Show. It's her Politically Incorrect Old Woman character, and is about as funny you would personally expect a Catherine Tate sketch to be. Not funny at all, if you're us. Peter Kay plays Politically Incorrect Old Man. The thing that always bugs us about Catherine Tate is that she's clearly great at doing characters, but the actual writing always lets down the sketches, and Peter Kay gives an only-slightly-less decent performance here. It's the sort of sketch where two of the big final punchlines are: a fart gag, and repeated use of the word "fuck".



0:11:53 One of the "Not Seen Before On National Television" pieces, with Peter Kay on Granada Reports. The Granada Reports bit includes Lucy Meacock linking to a clip of another early Granadaland appearance by Kay, on The Last Laugh Show.

0:12:28 The clip of Kay's appearance on The Last Laugh Show, which we're giving a separate entry to, because we're totting up these timings. Yes, we're that tragic. But anyway, growing up in Granadaland was great for anyone who likes comedy. While most of the ITV network got a repeat of The Equalizer (sic), we got fare like The Dead Good Show, a one-off sketch show by Steve Coogan, Caroline Aherne and John Thompson, and a stand-up show we think was called "Stand Up", which regularly had Coogan, Aherne, and a pre-Whitehouse Experience Rob Newman on it, when he was mainly an impressionist. Interestingly, we've just imdb'ed up Rob Newman to try and check the title of the show, and while that isn't there, it does mention that he did make an appearance in an episode of Cannon and Ball's Casino, around the same time The Mary Whitehouse Experience was on Radio One. Lumme.

0:13:49 Another appearance on the local news, this from when it was rubbishly dubbed "Granada Tonight", which is all wrong. More banter with the female anchor, but as it isn't Lucy Meacock this time, we're less interested. He reads out some of his publicity blurb whilst giggling.

0:14:32 The same episode of Granada Tonight, and a serious bit about dentistry in Liverpool. Excellently, Peter Kay walks into shot while putting on his coat and saying goodbye to everyone. We genuinely love it when comedians do that, stock gag or not.

0:14:59 Another edition of Granada Reports, and it's Peter Kay in drag! He's promoting his part in the stage version of The Producers, and is only in drag (long red hair and everything) for a laugh. See, this is the sort of thing proper oddball comedians would do. You could imagine Russ Abbott or Les Dawson doing this on Breakfast Time in 1984. This is what we want! Peter Kay even bursts in on the post-interview action, performing the autocue link to the Granada Sport section, then grabbing hold of the Granada sports guy and messing around with him. A good bit of fun, all round.



He even sticks around for the rest of the Granada Sport segment, restricting himself to making shapes with his gloved hand from the corner of the screen. Great stuff, and it reminds of when the brilliant Charlie Wolf used to present the afternoon show in the early days of Atlantic 252. The station would go close down at 6pm, but Charlie would hang around, leave his microphone on, and appear after a couple of minute's silence to make silly noises, hum pieces of classical music, or continue with running jokes from earlier in the show. Wonderful stuff from one of the best disc jockeys we've ever heard (but whom no-one else can remember, it seems). Oh yeah, Peter Kay. He then sticks around to help read out Valentines Day emails from viewers whilst poking gentle fun.

0:19:39 From enjoyable local-news based fun to THE COLD HARD HAND OF MARKETING, and another John Smiths advert. The Indian restaurant one, which wasn't very funny either. The Jack Dee ones were better.

0:20:20 "Leonard", a VHS-sourced sketch where Kay plays a loner talking to an unimpressed (and silent) woman at a bus stop. No laugh track, and presumably from another Granada-only Monday night after News At Ten comedy show. A nice little monologue, showing what Peter Kay used to be capable of. Well, he probably still is, to be fair. There's just not the money in it. No opportunity for a spin-off single at Christmas, you see.



0:23:38 The video for "Sleep" by Texas, with Kay on pan pipes, and recreating famous bits of other pop videos and movies with Sharleen Spiteri. We cannot frigging stand Texas. And we've now watched the whole thing, just for you. Let no-one say we do not suffer for our art.

0:27:42 The John Smiths "Football" advert. He really could do any old crap by this point, and the adverts would still be hailed as genius. Stomping over baroque sandcastles, wiping his nose on the Bayeux Tapestry and cheerily tossing rotten apple cores to starving tramps are all things that could have been included in these adverts, to similar levels of public acclaim.

0:28:11 Kay on the first series of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. How do we know it's the first series? It was the only series where his radio producer Andy played a Hank Kingsley-issue sidekick role. Kay soon picks up on this, asking him what he's actually there for, before saying he can scoot up the sofa a bit to get more involved. Sidekick Andy's only real contribution is a pretty poor "it's Peter Gay!" ad-lib, before he tactfully moves back out of shot. He wasn't there for the second series, although it's only fair to say he remains a worthwhile foil to Ross on his radio programmes, and surely will remain to do so after Ross ends his suspension.



Kay goes on to start an entertaining anecdote about working in a cinema, but it soon cuts away for...

0:30:50 Yet another John Smiths advert. We're suspecting they've paid for this DVD to be made, frankly. They're trying to make the most of their last memorable advertising campaign, given that the follow-up to the Kay campaign was the unsuccessful "sarcastic Northern pub landlord" character. We can't even remember there being any John Smiths adverts for the last couple of years. Maybe they're now like Rolls Royce, and are now so very prestigious they don't even need to advertise. Or not.

0:31:16 Parky again, and Kay is going on about working in a cinema again, this time while sitting next to Lulu. The Scottish singer, not the shitting Blue Peter elephant, but you'll have already guessed that.

0:33:00 Back to the bitter-plugging. Another one of the wedding-DJ adverts.

0:33:17 Peter Kay's appearance on Corrie. This has of course already appeared on one of Peter Kay's DVDs, taking up the majority of space on the Driven to Distraction DVD you'll see going for a couple of quid in Tesco, or less in Cash Converters.

0:37:09 Parky once more, this time sitting next to Sandra Bullock. She seems to find him funny enough. After a bit he gets up to sing a song with the band, a self-penned ditty about and for his nan. It's easy to scoff, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of old-school light entertainment, we're saying. It's certainly preferable to Jimmy Carr going on about paedophiles again. Kay even wanders around the set while singing, which is always fun.

0:40:14 Probably the main draw of the DVD now, with camcorder footage of Kay's first ever stand-up set from 1995. It's in a small comedy club, and he seems a bit nervous but still engages in banter with the audience (about water infections, if you're wondering). The set is interrupted by an interview with the owner of the establishment, and while the interview is on VHS, we pretty sure this is taken straight from the BBC's Comedy Map Of Britain, only with an extended cut of his routine. There's even a quick post-mortem interview with 1995-Kay at the end, which certainly wasn't part of the Comedy Map of Britain show. We think.



0:43:40 Hurrah, it includes Kay's stuff from The Sunday Show, the BBC Two Sunday early-afternoon show that wasn't quite as good as This Morning With Richard Not Judy, so we didn't watch it very often. The series was best known for playing host to Dennis Pennis. Hey, that's another person called P. Kay(e), what are the odds? Additionally, we'd wager Phil Kay probably made the odd appearance on there too, thereby making the full set. of comedy Kay(e)s. Well, apart from Gordon. Have we got time to ruminate on the accuracy of rumours suggesting that Paul Kaye was only picked to front Woolworth's 2002 Christmas advertising campaign because they'd thought they were booking family favourite Peter Kay? And by the time they realised they've booked the controversial gobshite and star of BBC Two's 'Perfect World' (of which there isn't even a Wikipedia entry), it was too late to find a replacement?



Not really, no. The first of the Sunday Show sketches sees Kay taking part in Junior Masterchef, with the real Loyd "No, just the one 'L'" Grossman, and coming up with meal ideas such as Cup-a-Soup and Netto Beans. It's his performance that makes it funnier than we're making it sound here. Good stuff.



And so, with the clock sitting on 0:44:33, and another bit of the interview with Jonathan Ross ("Eye-level is buy-level"), we'll blow the half-time whistle on this comprehensive breakdown. Tune in again tomorrow for the rest of this anally-retentive listing, providing our family don't have us sent to a therapist first. Also: some charts, and what you should think about this DVD.

9 comments:

LF Barfe said...

RRP: £21.99
Duration: 44m 30s

Jesus wept.

Mark X said...

No, that's only half of the content on there. There's still about another 40 minutes to go yet.

Still not worth £21.99 of course, but then no-one will actually be paying £21.99 for the DVD.

LF Barfe said...

Must learn to read properly. The red mist had descended by that point.

Mark X said...

The next bit is up now. It's timestamped "10.27pm", but was actually posted about half-an-hour after your 3.54am comment, so you're not going mad.

I'd clicked on the 'New Post' icon at 10.27pm, but then spent several hours ironing and watching film noir classics. "Farewell, My Lovely" (1975, the version starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe) is the best of the lot, and I don't give a flying toss how much of a minority I'm in when I say that.

Steve Williams said...

Well, the fact that The Sunday Show is on this DVD makes me slightly better disposed to this, because I thought his stuff on The Sunday Show was fantastic, and my family really enjoyed the Junior Materchef sketch at the time. But this should have been an extra on the Top of the Tower DVD, not the DVD itself.

Steve Williams said...

Oh yeah, it was called Stand Up, by the way, that regional show. Rob Newman was on it, as was Steve Coogan doing his badly-dubbed porn film routine. It was also, I think, the home of the first TV appearance of Stewart Lee.

I was going to say, the whole line-up is in Mark Lewisohn's RT Comedy Guide, which used to be available in full on the Beeb website, but I see they've only left the Beeb programmes from it on there now.

They repeated it in 1996, with the Coogan-starring series on Granada and then a network repeat of the preceding series, from 1991. Around then it was also released on video, and I remember it got a bad review in Q for its Comedian-style editing and "the camera firmly up the comic's nose throughout". But at the time, when I was buying Comedy Review magazine and "writing" "sitcoms" and a right comedy bore, it was a thrilling thing to see again.

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