When Louis Met... Keith Harris & Orville in Panto (2002 TV Special)
Keith Harris: [talking about the pantomine he's doing] Most of the children that'll come have heard of Orville, cos we haven't been on the TV for a long time. Ask me why.
Louis Theroux: Why?
Keith Harris: Because we're not chefs.
[Keith makes Louis a coffee]
Louis Theroux: [sipping it] Mmm. Perfect.
Keith Harris: Lovely. And they say it tastes like mud - it was ground this morning.
Keith Harris: It's terrible, I have this terrible habit of doing jokes.
[Keith is showing Louis some photos of his wife during her modeling days]
Louis Theroux: She's your fourth wife, I believe.
Keith Harris: She is, yes, yes, my fourth wife. People have a go at you for being straight these days.
Louis Theroux: How did you meet Keith, Sarah?
Sarah Harris: Well, a friend of mine said "Oh, this new club's opening and it's the man with the bird" And I thought "Oh what, you mean that Emu?" and I thought "He doesn't look like Rod Hull" when I met you.
Louis Theroux: Did you recognise him, though?
Sarah Harris: I didn't, to be honest, I'd never seen Orville on television because you'd have been on television when I started modelling.
Keith Harris: And I that was nice because she didn't know who I was.
Louis Theroux: Was that good?
Keith Harris: That was good, oh yeah. And it's always a great line for me, chat up, like "Come home and meet the duck."
Louis Theroux: Yeah. Did you ever really say that?
Keith Harris: [laughing] No!
Sarah Harris: [laughing] No, no!
Louis Theroux: But you did come back and meet the duck.
Sarah Harris: Yes.
Louis Theroux: Does he ever impersonate Orville, you know... I saw that little look! What? Does he?
Sarah Harris: No.
Louis Theroux: [looking at Keith] What?
Keith Harris: [laughs] You've got a wicked mind.
Sarah Harris: Does he ever impersonate Orville? No, not really.
Louis Theroux: Not in intimate situations?
Sarah Harris: No. No!
Keith Harris: Oh, no. Can you imagine that?
[him and Sarah laugh]
Keith Harris: I think that would be the biggest turn off ever, wouldn't you?
Louis Theroux: [reading out a newspaper article] "Fans of big green ducks will be pleased to see Keith Harris and Orville as the star turns in Cinderella at Crewe's Lyceum Theatre."
Keith Harris: Yay.
Louis Theroux: "Who operates who in this partnership is unsure."
Keith Harris: Is that what it says? I've not even read it. You see, they have to say something like that, don't they? They're not even...
Louis Theroux: It's a joke though, isn't it?
Keith Harris: Course it's a joke. "Who operates who." In other words which one's the dummy. Duh! I haven't heard that for at least quarter of an hour.
Keith Harris: It sounds a bit big-headed or pretentious, but when Orville became such a big star it was the best thing that everyone could knock. Everyone could knock Orville, the press, it was always knock-knock-knock because they didn't like it, it was pathetic, it wasn't what... How could a thing like that be so big?
Louis Theroux: [to Keith's mother] Do you think that's true?
Lila Harris: Mmm, yeah, I do.
Louis Theroux: Do you think that's true, cos anyone who's at the top get knocked, don't they? That goes with the territory, doesn't it?
Lila Harris: Yes, we expect it.
Louis Theroux: That's why you get well-paid, really.
Keith Harris: Yeah, I suppose so, yeah.
Louis Theroux: Sometimes I get the sense from Keith that he feels he hasn't had as much success as he deserves. Do you think that's the case?
Lila Harris: That's what I think, because there's so much talent and so much love to give, that he somehow is... he just isn't able to give it, are you, love?
Louis Theroux: Keith, do you wish you were on more often?
Lila Harris: Oh, yeah.
Keith Harris: Um, it would be nice, yeah, it would be nice but I don't think my type of thing would ever come back. So, they don't like to back an old horse, you know.
Louis Theroux: How long were you married to each of your wives for?
Keith Harris: Um, eighteen months.
Louis Theroux: That was the first one.
Keith Harris: Nine years.
Louis Theroux: Number two.
Keith Harris: And three months. Three months. I do jokes longer than that.
Keith Harris: Who wants to talk about the past, anyway? Talk about me in the future and my lovely family. Can't stand all these comics who keep going on the television and all distraught and their life's terrible and they have to go out boozing and, you know, abusing their privileges and playing for the sympathy of the audience to get back. Who wants to do all that?
Louis Theroux: Do you sometimes feel the same way towards Orville as Cuddles does?
Keith Harris: You mean, hate him, you mean?
Louis Theroux: Resent him?
Keith Harris: Resent him? I don't... By any means you can't resent because he put me on the map, he made me into a household name after 20 years of being in the business. So, you can't resent him, but I have... I mean, I obviously created a monster in a funny way.
Louis Theroux: How do you mean you created a monster?
Keith Harris: That it's very hard to get away from that, everybody knows Orville, not everybody knows Keith Harris.
Louis Theroux: Have you ever got really angry with Orville?
Keith Harris: No.
Louis Theroux: Have you ever attacked Orville?
Keith Harris: No, no, no-no-no.
Louis Theroux: Ever?
Keith Harris: Nah. No, he's not that sort of person, is he? You can't get angry with him
Louis Theroux: I once heard that when things weren't going well with you, and perhaps when you were drinking, you came off stage and you attacked Orville. You threw him to the ground and kicked him.
Keith Harris: Never, ever done anything like that. I would never, even when I was drinking, I would never drink before I worked. I only drunk when I wasn't working, when I had nothing to think about. Or, I should say, when I had plenty to think about. If I wasn't working I'd sit down and get very depressed and then think about all the awful things happening in my life, so that's when I drunk, I would never drink when I was working. I couldn't drink when I was working, you try speaking, being 3 people when you're drinking, you can't do that. But I wouldn't want to try, I mean my mind has to be completely clear to know what I'm doing.
Louis Theroux: You'll never stop, Keith, it's in your blood, you can't stop. You can't help yourself.
Keith Harris: Well, they say you never give up showbusiness, it gives you up. When people don't want you anymore, you're finished. But sometimes you've just gotta kick 'em up the backside so that they'll know that you're still around. And they go "Ooh, he's very good" And when all the others can't the jobs, they have to come back to the people that can the jobs.
Louis Theroux: See there - I'm gonna stop you there, Keith, because that's where it sounds a bit funny - "All the others can't do the jobs" - That sounds like you're being arrogant. Why don't you just say you can do the job and you're good at your job, why do you have put everyone else down?
Keith Harris: When I say people can't do the jobs, how can I explain that... It does sound arrogant, and I suppose it is in a way. But other people - and I shouldn't get going on about it, it does sound like I'm a bitter and twisted old queen, doesn't it, but I'm not - who go out there, and get paid a lot of money, who can't do the job.
Louis Theroux: But that's not for you to worry about.
Keith Harris: Well, it is when they're taking my job away from me.
Louis Theroux: Why are they taking your job away from you?
Keith Harris: Because they're out there doing it, and I'm doing...
Louis Theroux: Who?
Keith Harris: Oh, there's load of people, there's no point, I can reel off 10 people. If people can con the audience, let them con them and make fortunes...
Louis Theroux: See, there you go again, you can't help it.
Louis Theroux: It's all that bile that's down there. It's not good for you.
Keith Harris: I know.
Louis Theroux: You've got a lovely wife, lovely kids, lovely house, you're working regularly, getting paid decent rates.
Keith Harris: Got everything I want, mate.
Louis Theroux: No, you haven't got everything you want because you wanna be back on TV, don't you?
Keith Harris: Well, that would be nice, but it's frustrating. Perhaps that's the word I'm looking for.
[Keith is complaining about a newspaper article that has offended him]
Louis Theroux: [reading] "While Keith Harris, blissfully unaware of age requirements, plays the youthful Buttons." What is the problem there? You said the guy said that you were too old for panto, he's just saying you're a bit old to play Buttons.
Keith Harris: I won't buy The Big Issue again, because that's where it's from. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, son!
Louis Theroux: It's not all - it goes "Where's your career?" Did you read this?
Keith Harris: Yeah.
Louis Theroux: "It's behind you!"
Keith Harris: People have always knocked what I do. Because they can't see - they haven't got the brains, obviously, to see or analyse what I really do do and why am I still there doing it, and why it's so successful. They go "Oh, it's the fella with the green thing, pathetic thing, oh yeah, crap."
[cut to a few minutes later]
Louis Theroux: Am I winding you up?
Keith Harris: I don't think you understand, you don't understand me, that's the thing.
Louis Theroux: I do.
Keith Harris: I don't think you do.
Louis Theroux: I do.
Keith Harris: You can't see, you know... I think I've lived with it for so many years and it's really screwed me up inside... You know, it's hurtful.
Louis Theroux: What?
Keith Harris: What people say. And you say you shouldn't give a damn what people say...
Louis Theroux: What do they say?
Keith Harris: Well, forever saying, you know, this pathetic... I had a lovely thing in the paper once, "This pathetic man came out with his permed hair looking like - with his hair like pubic hair stuck on his head" And just slating you, you know, that hurts.
[pointing at Orville]
Keith Harris: It's all his fault. That thing there, that I created. Crikey, just think, so much has gone on about that little green thing.