Audience with Jasper Carrott

Friday, 25 February 2011 17:13

Long before he became the presenter of game shows, I’m of the generation who grew up knowing Jasper Carrott as being something of an underground anti-establishment comedy hero. I remember the sixth formers at Highfields School in Wolverhampton all huddling round a record player, in-between after-school drama sessions, playing the 12” slabs of vinyl from Mr Carrott. It was wild, risqué, the sort of humour you wouldn’t then see of the telly.

Having made several appearances on regional television during the mid-1970s, Jasper was launched to a wider audience with his first TV series in 1978. An Audience with Jasper Carrott was a storming success, earning him a Pye Award as ‘Outstanding New Personality’ and turning him into a household name. Now you can see the evolution of one of our greatest living comedians - and bemoan the fact that he's not doing standup anymore but instead doing game shows.

An Audience with Jasper Carrott - Complete on DVDJasper first came to national attention in 1975, with his Top Five hit “Funky Moped”, which he worked on with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan of ELO (I kid thee not!). He even made a rather awkward performance on Top of the Pops! However, the real reason for the sales of the 7” single was the B-side, a salacious version of an alleged script for “The Magic Roundabout”, ironically banned for airplay by the BBC. Definitely X-certificate in its aspect, it was hilarious and acted as Carrott’s springboard to success.

From being the outsider who didn’t give a damn, his folk club roots were soon left behind, as he became a regular TV performer in a whole host of his own series.  His many awards include a BAFTA (for Carrott’s Lib) and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 British Comedy Awards. He was twice been voted TV Personality of the Year, and received an OBE in 2003 in recognition of his work for charity.

And so, we go back in time to An Audience with Jasper Carrott.  In six thirty-minute bursts of relentless stand-up punctuated with the occasional comedy song, obviously filmed in batches as he smashes the illusion there are the same audience present on successive ‘weeks’, Carrott rants about everything from Spaghetti Junction to the Jersey constabulary, medicals to Monty Python... and introduces the word ‘zit’ into the English vocabulary.

Knowing that the material going out on the telly would effectively draw a line under the dialogue being used in front of live audiences ever again, this is effectively a compilation of the best of his comedy LPs up until 1978 (“Rabbits on and on and on...”, “Carrott in Notts” and “A Pain in the Arm”). Interestingly, and probably due to the nature of the audience he was playing (a lot older than he was normally used to), his performances are not quite as assured as you hear on the LPs.

However, that doesn’t stop these being iconic performances of truly classic material – and my wife is now under no illusions as to where I stole most of my humour from! Being from the West Midlands (although I, of course, have to find his devotion to Birmingham City FC truly perplexing, although delightfully self-deprecating!), it’s wonderful to hear humour in our own accent!  And talking of things which may be extremely parochial to our area, too!

An Audience with Jasper Carrott is out now from Network, with a running time of 150 minutes approx, a ‘12’ certificate, and a RRP of £15.31 – or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

Thanks to Cineology and Network DVD, you had the opportunity to put one of three copies available to win on to your mantelpiece, in our prize competition. All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: Which two members of ELO featured on “Funky Moped”? The answer was Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, and the three lucky winners were Sue Curtis of Stockton-On-Tees, Julie Henderson of County Down, and James Fenton of Havant. Well done all!

  

AN AUDIENCE WITH JASPER CARROTT – EPISODE LIST

01. 8 JANUARY 1978

Hangman – New Faces – The Carrott Family – Twelve Days of Christmas

 

02. 15 JANUARY 1978

Folk Clubs - Chastity Belt – Football News – Old Trafford

 

03. 22 JANUARY 1978

Local Radio – Hospital – Funky Moped PR – Pythonesque

 

04. 29 JANUARY 1978

If I Was A Carpenter - Holidays – Hare Krishna – Jersey

 

05. 5 FEBRUARY 1978

Birmingham – School Bus - Motor Insurance Claims – Jesus Christ Superstar

 

06. 12 FEBRUARY 1978

The Wedding Usher – The Magic Roundabout – America - Zits

 

Competition Rules: The winner will be the first correct entry drawn at random from the entries received by 11.59pm GMT on 6 March 2011. One entry per person only - multiple entries will be disqualified. The Editor's decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. Current Cineology Production Team and employees of Network DVD and their associated companies are not allowed to enter. No cash equivalent for the prize on offer. All entrants agree to be added to Cineology’s mailing list, and will be sent details of Cineology’s future competitions and events - please note our mailing list is NOT used by anyone else, and you may ask us to remove your details at any time. This competition is open only to UK postal addresses.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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