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KYTV was pure classic comedy and, for once, a breath of fresh air at
the time of it's original transmission in the late 80's/early 90's. It
was written by Geoffrey Perkins and Angus Deayton and was a TV adaption
of their radio show "Radio Active".
Looking back on it (and from watching old video recordings), KYTV was a bit lost amongst popular comedy game shows like "Whose Line Is It Anyway" and "Have I Got News For You", the more irrelevant, surreal comedy shows which were becoming very popular at the time like "Vic Reeves' Big Night Out", "Absolutely" and "A Bit of Fry & Laurie", and the obviously popular shows such as "Blackadder" and "Harry Enfield's Television Programme".
KYTV was a spot-on parody of the then rising SKY satellite TV channels right down to the amateur presenters and tacky, cheap & desperate TV shows but it was also a lot more than that. It was very well-written comedy from a cast of performers who truly know what good comedy is, people such as Angus Deayton (usually always hilarious whatever show he's in), Geoffrey Perkins (who seems to be producer and/or script editor of every comedy show on British TV!), and Philip Pope (one of the most talented people to ever work in British comedy). My personal favourite regular KYTV presenters were "Martin Brown" (played by the hugely under-rated Michael Fenton Stevens) and the very smarmy "Mike Flex" (played brilliantly by Geoffrey Perkins) but, basically, the entire cast were just brilliant, including Helen Atkinson Wood (brilliant as the "Anneka Rice"-like "Anna Daptor") who was quite hated by a lot of the British press at the time.
Philip Pope (from hilarious 80's Channel 4 comedy show "Who Dares Wins") often brilliantly parodied pop/rock stars on the show and were often the most memorable bits of KYTV, like when he played Frank Sinatra at Woodstock(!) (where he also played Neil Young and Bob Dylan if my memory is correct) and the spoof ads for albums like "Bob Dylan sings Kylie Minogue" and "Leonard Cohen sings Rick Astley" (I think)... Other great musical sketches were a "Band Aid"-type spoof and "Pop Stars Sing National Anthems" (in which Michael Fenton Stevens played Status Quo singing Germany's national anthem!)...
KYTV is yet another show which hasn't been given much of a commercial release on video but at least what was released were one or two collections of full episodes rathen than sketch compilations (which wouldn't have worked anyway) and are well worth hunting out for any fans of great British comedy.
KYTV is recommended to fans of shows such as the similar (but far more superior) "The Day Today" featuring Chris Morris and Steve Coogan, "Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge", "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and "Rutland Weekend Television" (the 70's comedy show Eric Idle did after Python finished and is basically what you'd get if you cross Monty Python with KYTV although not as good as either of those shows).
This spoof of the then embryonic SKY TV satellite network surfaced just after UK Television was deregulated in the late 1980's. This meant that the whereas up to that point you'd had 4 television channels, regulated by government to control content and quality and of course free to view (bar the licence fee that funded and indeed funds the BBC) now anyone in theory could add a t.v channel onto the new satellite based service. In 1989, despite the promise of more channels and therefore more choice, the curious euphemism for repeats, SKY was still considered a bit of a joke in contrast to the relatively high quality of Terrestrial broadcasting and the pool of talent it had monopolised for 50 years, SKY seemed tacky and low-brow by comparison toe curling (un)original programming acting as water breaks between streams of cheap US imports, lashings of repeats (something people had always complained about now they were willing to pay to see them) and as I recall,dreadful Euro stations that no-one wanted to watch one channel was just a burning fireplace. KYTV sent up this absurd low-brow Daily Star bullsh*t. Coaxing the proles by buying up all the football and therefore bribing them with their own money to take up a service they'd previous enjoyed for nothing, SKY appealed to the viewers worst instincts. Why watch original comedy, documentaries and domestically produced drama made to quota when you could pay £30 a month to see wall to wall movies, footie and of course tits on some of the more racy German T.V networks? Deayton, Atkinson-Wood and co. made it all look very funny appalling programmes, shameless advertising, terrible presenters. Why KYTV seems even better now than then is that it predicted something no-one could imagine, that one day 10m people would be subscribing to the visual equivalent of dysentery. Who in 1989 would have believed that by 2006 SKY would be a major player in the UK TV marketplace and that despite being no better now than it was then, it would have convinced enough people to pay to support its sports monopoly and maintain a network that offered no original content just ream upon ream of stuff ripped from the US broadcasters thus allowing Sky to keep its costs down and make maximum bread for News International and that Australian American Scrotum that sits on the top of the cash pile. Meanwhile TV has become more niche marketed because everyone in UK broadcasting wants us to become American apparently we don't want channels with varied schedules, catering for a variety of audiences; that's akin to some kind of antiquated lunacy. Now audiences decline, hundreds of channels sprout up with nothing to show thus more repeats, low budgets, rock bottom quality programmes and of course no innovation because the market makes risk to, er, risky. That's the current state of play and that, not KYTV is the real joke. If it went out today it'd be part of the Sky Digital package.
With its wall-to-wall soaps, crass quiz shows, tacky news coverage and brainless reality series, the launching of Rupert Murdoch's 'Sky T.V.' in 1988 led some commentators to gloomily predict the beginning of the end for British television. 'K.Y.T.V.' was a retaliatory strike against this new threat; by ridiculing Sky's output it hoped to stave off the tidal wave of 'dumbed down' dross. The first edition featured the striptease game 'Gettem Off!' and a pop show hosted by Ernie Wise and Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards. A World War Two tribute had presenters who clearly had no idea what they were talking about, and reconstructions of famous wartime events done with shop window dummies. The series grew out of the Radio 4 comedy 'Radio Active' with the same cast reprising their roles. Funny though it was it failed to have the intended impact. Terrestrial television eventually decided 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em'. 'K.Y.T.V'. was British television's last scream of despair. Before the lunatics took over the asylum...
K.Y.T.V. (instead of SKY TV, an english satellite channel) is a
not just English television, but ANY television. They've got news,
commercialbreaks, TV-dramas, gameshows, talkshows, phone-ins and all the
stuff only a TV-channel with no skills and no budget can produce. The
writers of this really funny series are Geoffrey Perkins and Angus
who also stars as the TV-station's anchormen. We follow the rise of the
station, from the start (which is postponed almost a year) through the
highlights as "Brown-nose day", "Talking Head" (a show on sex, of course),
and "The Sexciting Sixties", a trip along the memory lane which ends with a
superb documentary on Woodstock 3 - complete with Neil Young, Bob Dylan and
Frank Sinatra (?).
Every detail in the series of K.Y.T.V. is polished on and gives a realistic impression. It feels like you're watching a real TV-station, only this one is full of goofs, jokes and a high number of puns. It is the most well-written and well- produced show on television I've ever seen. The actors' timing is absolutely impeccable and I'm pleased to see they are mocking the hysteria of TV as a media. I mean, watch an average satellite channel in any given country and you'll find equally funny stuff - not meant to be funny!
K.Y.T.V. is english humour at it's best - great comedy to which all of us can relate - we've all watched TV since we were kids, right? So if you're getting a chance to watch it - do!
I haven't seen it for years, but I'd like to get it on DVD. I remember
thinking at the time that it was a lot like the early 80s comedy "Not
the Nine O'Clock News" right down to the three-guys/one-girl format.
Some of the content was a bit "post-watershed" There was one scene with
a topless woman and it cut back to Geoffrey Perkins who said "hmmm...
I'd like to have seen a bit more of that." Philip Pope, who was
previously with Angus Deayton in spoof group the Hee Bee Gee Bees, went
on to success in shows like "Only Fools and Horses", Deayton in "One
Foot in the Grave" and Perkins is now a successful producer. Martin
Fenton-Stevens has appeared in several commercials Helen Atkinson-Wood
seems to have disappeared without trace.
Time for re-runs on a cable channel, I think.
KYTV was probably one of the greatest(and most underrated) British
of the last fifteen years. The premise was simple: set around a TV station
the show is a satire on the sensationalism of such tabloid stations - of
which there are now many.
The writing was clever, witty and, in places, extremely subtle. Ironically, it could also be coarse and very base.
The production values for the time were excellent. It's a shame that British comedy has fallen so much since this high point with paltry pretenders to the KYTV mantle such as `The Day Today' falling far short of the mark when placed up against KYTV(although taken purely on its own merits, `The Day Today' is a pretty good show). Much of the humour and attention to detail(or, for want of a better term, reality) present is noticeably British, as opposed to the American style that has crept into BBC productions since then (benefits of an Irish viewpoint there!).
The quality of performance is excellent also, with every actor giving just the right performance.
If you're after a good side splitting laugh, you'll find it in this show.
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