The Comedy Vault – Rock The Blind.

Rock The Blind (PlayUK, 2001)

Rock Profile was the comedy series where double-act Matt Lucas and David Walliams performed some rather bizarre impressions of various pop stars, which turned out to be one of the biggest hits for the great digital channel UK Play (or was it PlayUK?). After two series of this, it was decided to do a one-off special that was 45 minutes long.

In Rock The Blind, Gary Barlow has fallen on hard times, following the demise of Take That (it could never happen for real!). He decides that it’ll be a great idea to put together a charity single, to gain some publicity for himself (and try to revive his career), and also do some good. Once again, Jamie Theakston is the host who observes all of these events.

Gary then gathers his pop star mates (all played by Lucas and Walliams) who are happy to offer their time, Brother Beyond are reported to be interested in taking part which is rather exciting, leading producer Pete Waterman is also brought in, and work begins on a special version of “I Can See Clearly Now” to raise money for the blind. He is confident that this will be a success on a scale that will make Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” look like a fuss over nothing.

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We then see all of these pop stars in the studio as Gary and Pete watch on. They try to perform their marvellous take on the song, but their personality quirks get in the way (along with the ones that have been invented for them!). This does mean though that we have to hear the introduction to this song over and over again as work continues.

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Of course, all of this descends into chaos and the end result is rather bad. Rock The Blind is included as an extra on the Rock Profile DVD, and there is also a commentary and a look behind the scenes. But as far as I know, there isn’t an outtake where Lucas suddenly breaks character and endlessly shouts “he done a smile at me!” at Walliams.

I can’t remember if Rock The Blind was ever repeated on BBC2, as some editions of Rock Profile were, but it was definitely shown on PlayUK rather frequently. Lucas and Walliams also did their pop star parodies on a few other shows around this time, but not long after this, they went off to work on Little Britain and continued their assent to comedy superstardom.

The Comedy Vault – Rock Profile.

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 Zonevlcsnap-00541

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. vlcsnap-00542

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.'”. vlcsnap-00543

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 Showvlcsnap-00544

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.