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.
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.
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.