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Kenny

himself spanning nearly ten years. He worked with a number of notable comedians and celebrities on the Kenny Everett Video Show on ITV, often making them the butt of many of his jokes. He also involved the crew in a lot of his episodes, on one occasion wishing a cameraman happy birthday before promptly pushing a birthday cake into his face.

With a 32-year career, Kenny Everett was the ultimate radio heavyweight. Born Maurice Cole, Kenny’s entertained millions of listeners on pirate radio stations followed by more mainstream radio. As the anniversary of his death approaches, Lauren Sutton investigates the man Chris Moyles credits as being a major influence.

B

orn on Christmas Day in 1944, Kenny’s first break into radio came

when he was just 18 years old. Having turned down a job at the BBC, he went for pirate radio to begin a career with fewer constraints than the legal BBC stations could offer. Within a few years, he landed a job at BBC Radio 1 after interviewing The Beatles and began a groundbreaking revolution

in radio. His love for creating odd characters, multi-tracked trailers and jingles developed a unique presentation style, rapidly making him a well-known name in the business. His love of sound recording equipment meant that he often added sound-onsound to his recordings as well as multi-track recordings of his pseudosinging voice. Having been fired twice by the age of 25 for inappropriate comments

He showed the world he wasn’t going away on the air, it became clear that Everett was a force to be reckoned with. Despite being sacked, he still managed to get his job back, showing the world and the heads of the corporate stations that he wasn’t going away and the people wanted to listen to him. His old friend Dave Cash, whom he worked with at Radio London when his career first began, joined him at Capital Radio in 1973. Together, they created a number of comedy characters and became household names.

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Kenny then moved onto developing his cult www.audio.co.uk

following even further by featuring both the best and worst records on his show, leading to his own Kenny Everett’s World’s Worst Record Show programme. After another stint at BBC Radio 2, he was dismissed once again for making another inappropriate joke on the air. Heading back to Capital, he finished his career there, leaving in 1994 when his health deteriorated too much for him to continue. Although he is best known for his radio work, Everett also expanded into television and carved a successful mini career for

Images courtesy of ITV

Everett

After arguments with ITV about the scheduling of his programme, he left to begin The Kenny Everett Television Show on rival channel BBC One. A lot of the characters that he had created in his radio years were brought to life on the television screen with a number of new additions expanding the collection over the years. Despite being married for 13 years, in 1979 Kenny Everett came out saying that although he wasn’t happy with the label of ‘gay’, he felt that was what best described his sexuality. After this revelation he was frequently seen in iconic gay club Heaven throughout the 1980s along with Freddie Mercury. Unfortunately, he contracted HIV and announced that he was a victim of AIDS in 1993. The announcement was met with huge sympathy from both the British press and general public. Sadly Kenny died of an AIDSrelated illness on April 4th 1994. But behind him, he left a legacy of truly groundbreaking ideas that would pave the way for up and coming radio stars to change the face of radio forever.

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April 2011


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