Pennis Pops Out (ITV, 1995)
A while ago I reviewed The Sunday Show, one of BBC2’s attempts to produce some edgy comedy but in an unlikely afternoon slot. One of the most memorable features was with Dennis Pennis, a character played by Paul Kaye (with an American accent) who asked famous people the questions that nobody else dared to, and had something of an attitude. After a while he became popular enough with viewers to host a spin-off show of his own. I did find a small amount on a tape once, but as some full editions have now appeared on YouTube, I might as well do a review.
Pennis Pops Out (a title that isn’t easy to search for online) was shown late at night at the weekend on ITV (maybe only in the LWT region? Hopefully someone can confirm this). This was a show all about music, but not really the kind you’d find on Top Of The Pops, being closer in style to the likes of Later… With Jools Holland or The White Room. Every week, Pennis, who had a distinctive look including his red hair, glasses, and suit covered in badges, would introduce various bands. There was also an amusing opening sequence featuring Pennis playing the guitar.
This show was made in 1995, which could be considered by some to be the peak of Britpop, and among the bands that performed live were The Lightning Seeds, The Charlatans, and Teenage Fanclub. Pennis would also do various sketches, and interview band members, all accompanied by a rather lively crowd. Who needs to go to a music festival when you’ve got this. If you were rather trendy and read Melody Maker in those days, I’m sure you would’ve loved it.
There was even a phone-in competition to win a goodie bag if you could answer a rather easy question. I didn’t realise that such things were around on TV as early as that. I also spotted some interesting names in the credits. One of the researchers was Brendan “Steve’s brother” Coogan, and one of the executive producers was Danielle Lux, which made me do a double-take.
There was only one series of Pennis Pops Out, and he did indeed go on to host an edition of Top Of The Pops in September 1996. Not long after this though, Kaye ditched the character, because he was becoming increasingly well-known and celebrities were soon trying to avoid his outrageous questions, he was a victim of his own success I suppose.
Kaye did move on to further things though, including sitcom Perfect World, comedy game show Liar, and several drama series. Unfortunately though, Kaye never took the opportunity to team up with fellow comedians Peter Kay and Phil Kay for a fast-paced zany comedy sketch show that they could’ve obviously called… The Paul, Peter and Phil Show. Well I’m awfully sorry for that joke, I’ll go and sit on the naughty step for a while.