Home Television Comedy A Kick Up The Eighties

A Kick Up The Eighties

1 9 8 1 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 8 4 (UK)
4 x 30 minute episodes

This sketch show from BBC Scotland mined the same iconoclastic post-punk humour as Not The Nine O’Clock News and Who Dares Wins.

It featured a host of up-and-coming talent, including Tracey Ullman, Miriam Margolyes and Robbie Coltrane, but Rik Mayall’s monologues as opinionated, brain-dead Brummie ‘investigator’ Kevin Turvey (pictured above) achieved immortality.

With the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a true idiot, the clueless Turvey would recount the events of his week, building digression upon digression and usually maintaining only the most tenuous connection to the designated theme.

His ‘investigations’ invariably ended before they’d begun; instead, the audience would be offered hilarious insights into Kevin’s confused, wretched existence: his abject failure with women, and the manifold indignities and abuses he endured from postmen, policemen and passing strangers.

Thanks to Mayall’s restrained performance, Turvey was a masterful creation. To sustain the illusion, it was Turvey’s name, not Mayall’s, that appeared in the end credits.

The character resurfaced for a one-off pseudo-documentary, Kevin Turvey – The Man Behind the Green Door (1982), in which Kevin further expounded his dim-witted philosophy and viewers witnessed for themselves his routine humiliations.

Several of the other sketches in the series concerned topical (at the time) subjects such as the Cold War, the prospect of nuclear war, unemployment, sexual equality, and even the boom in home video entertainment.

The anchorman was originally the rather Old Turk-ish Richard Stilgoe and writers included Rab C.Nesbitt author Ian Pattison, and Doug Naylor and Rob Grant, creators of Red Dwarf.

When the series returned in 1984, Robbie Coltrane took Stilgoe’s place, and the show took on a more straightforward sketch show format, though retaining Turvey’s tortuous investigations.

Rik Mayall
Richard Stilgoe
Tracey Ullman
Robbie Coltrane
Miriam Margolyes
Ron Bain
Roger Sloman