Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Ageing rockers parodied in spoof

Simon Day stars as Brian Pern in The Life of Rock

Ageing rockers including Peter Gabriel are among the figures parodied in a new BBC spoof documentary series which reunites stars of The Fast Show.

Gabriel himself makes a cameo appearance in the BBC4 comedy The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern which centres around a prog rock star who goes on to become a world music pioneer and eco campaigner.

Funnyman Simon Day stars as Pern, with fellow Fast Show pal Paul Whitehouse playing the guitarist in his former band Thotch, while Nigel Havers pops up as the group's keyboard player.

Well-known faces such as Noel Edmonds, Jools Holland and Rick Wakeman are among those who appear as guest talking heads, with Queen's Roger Taylor jokingly referred to as a member of Duran Duran for whom his namesake is the drummer.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer will also have roles reviving their folk duo characters Mulligan and O'Hare, while Matt Lucas will play a record producer and Michael Kitchen plays Pern's manager.

Viewers will be able to spot numerous references in the series to many veteran rockers including members of Pink Floyd. And it also echoes the style of music documentaries which are actually screened on the channel.

In the programmes Pern - who formed his group at public school, much like Genesis - is commissioned by the BBC to front a three-part series about rock from prehistoric man to the present.

The show's creator and director Rhys Thomas - also a Fast Show star - said: " Brian Pern is an amalgamation of a certain type of rock star. Unlike any members of Spinal Tap or Bad News, Pern is one of those super intelligent, thoughtful and ground breaking artists who never took drugs or drank too much. A shy, awkward man off stage but on stage he can be crackers.

"The main inspiration is probably Peter Gabriel, of whom both Simon and I are huge - bordering on the obsessive - fans. There's also a bit of Sting, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend and Brian Eno in there too. Brian Pern isn't any one of them though.

He went on: "We wanted to make a comedy that celebrated rock stars of that generation who are still going strong. At the same time, we also wanted to spoof the music documentaries you get on BBC4 for example, which are rich for parody - especially if you've made one for real, like I have with Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender.

"We aren't mocking them, and it would be wrong to watch the programme and assume Simon is doing an impersonation. Brian is a silly version of all of the artists who have inspired his creation."

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