Rock Profile (UK Play, 1999-2000)
Matt Lucas and David Walliams have been appearing in various comedy programmes since the mid-90s, and one of the earliest things that they did together on TV was Rock Profile, which was originally shown on the great digital channel UK Play, where it ended up being repeated endlessly. This was a show where they played various pop and rock stars who were interviewed by Jamie Theakston, somewhat sending up his presenting style that he used when interviewing various real groups on shows including The O Zone.
Lucas and Walliams played a wide variety of pop stars from the 60s to the 90s, including members of Abba, Steps, Oasis, and many others, but they were not portrayed as straightforward impressions, instead they crated their own personalities for everyone, so Prince was re-imagined as a drunk Scotsman, whereas Graham from Blur became a rather creepy character who liked to start fires, and Theakston often asks them unusual questions too.
Because Rock Profile featured a lot of musical content, all of this has been removed for the DVD release, but one of the best features of the show remains. These were the Rock Facts, rather ludicrous made-up statements about the act that was being profiled for that edition. Just to pick two of my favourites as examples, from the profile of Happy Mondays: “Bez forgot the toaster existed and actually spent two years inventing it by mistake”, and from the profile of Prince: “Prince’s tip for aspiring conkers players – ‘Stick ’em in the airing cupboard. Works every time.'”.
The final edition of Rock Profile on UK Play which is included as an extra on the DVD was a 45 minute special in 2001 called Rock The Blind, where Gary Barlow tries to get his career back on track by getting as many pop stars as he could together to record a special charity version of “I Can See Clearly Now”. Again, Lucas and Walliams play the majority of the characters and it is a rather odd show. Altogether there were 26 editions of Rock Profile made in two series, and as interest in the show increased, some editions were shown late-night on BBC2 in 2001. Other DVD extras include their appearances in character on such early-2000s shows as The Priory, Born Sloppy, and The Ralf Little Show.
Along with The Mitchell And Webb Situation, Rock Profile is one of two comedy shows that launched on UK Play that have gone on to be released on DVD in full, and although it could be considered to be something of a cash-in following Lucas and Walliams’ subsequent success on popular comedy shows including Little Britain, there is no doubt for me that this show is definitely well-made and funny enough to deserve the release on its own merit.