The wacky world of Kuddly Ken

rt-ev-1969Kenny Everett lives in one of the smartest basements in his road in Holland Park, London. The bell doesn’t work, so you have to hammer on the wood boarding where the window in the door should be to get an answer.

I got him out of bed, though it was two o’clock. ‘I shall probably go back when you’ve gone,’ he said.

Inside the bed sitting room he has a huge piano which he can play with two fingers (he gave me a sample), an elaborate set of recording equipment (which gave forth the Wedding March), and a French telephone with a sexy purr for a ring.

He sat on the floor, took off his socks, and warmed his feet by the coal fire.

He’s small, very slim, twenty-four-years-old.

He left school at fifteen and started work scraping tins for a sausage-roll factory.

The scraping stopped when he got a job as a D.J. on one of the pirate ships. He joined Radio 1 at the start and since then his shows have had a faithful and diverse following. He is just as likely to play a duet by Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald as the latest chart-topper. Perhaps it’s this mixture of pop and sentiment that the fans like. Interspersed between the records are a set of weird zanies like Granny the hip 110-year-old, Crisp the butler with the half-crown voice, and a computer called Cecil. He’s got some new characters lined up for this new series.

The name Everett was pinched from actor Edward Everett Horton, who specialises in butler roles. His real name is Maurice Cole.

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Along with his fascination for butlers (‘I now have a servant of my own called Adam, he’s very shy’), Kenny harbours a nostalgic yearning for the nineteen twenties and thirties. You can find evidence of it everywhere.

There’s the aspidistra he’s vainly trying to grow (it keeps getting eaten by Snuff the cat), the huge lighted candle on top of the piano, his obsession with old films, especially the work of Busby Berkeley who produced those fantastic dance routines involving scores of girls.

He’d like to see showbusiness get ‘big and grand’ again. ‘There’s only Zsa Zsa Gabor and Elsie Tanner who keep it going,’ he said.

He loathes the ‘sweet sticky depths to which today’s showbiz people have sunk’ and he fights any attempt to suck him in to ‘that quagmire of mediocrity.’

Between those who regard Everett as a ‘nut’ and those who hail him as a ‘genius’ — all agree that he is not mediocre.

He’s already got a great future behind him, but for the actual future Kenny is very unsure.

‘I might pack everything up and go off to Mexico and just happen. Or I might learn to play this piano.’

You can hear Kenny Everett’s show every Saturday morning on Radio 1

Article source: Radio Times for 30 January 1969 and kennyeverett.org

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