I WAS only 12-years-old when my dad beckoned me in to the front room with the words “you’ve got to see this new thing on TV”.
Watching what followed was one of those eureka moments and I’ve been a devotee to Vic and Bob’s work ever since through The Smell Of…, Bang Bang, Shooting Stars, Catterick and House of Fools.
Arguably the most surreal of the pair’s work, Vic Reeve’s Big Night Out was effectively a parody of the variety shows which dominated the early years of television, but which were, by the early 1990s, falling from grace.
Vic, introduced as “Britain’s Top Light Entertainer and Singer”, would sit behind a cluttered desk talking nonsense and introducing the various segments and surreal guests on the show.
A quarter of a century later and not a lot has changed for this welcome resurrection of a true TV classic, although Bob Mortimer now gets a richly deserved dual billing and we’re on BBC Two rather than Channel Four.
From the opening song about trousers to the welcome return of old favourites like Novelty Island and catchphrases such as ‘It’s around about this time of night that I like to…’, ‘Vic, I’ve fallen’ and ‘very poor’, old fans would have been in their element while anyone new to Vic and Bob would have been completely confused.
Despite all the nostalgia on show it was notable to see how few of the old characters were left behind those huge stage doors.
There was no Judge Nutmeg, no Stotts, no Morrissey the Consumer Monkey and criminally no Man with the Stick but thankfully Vic’s nemesis Graham Lister did make the cut.
Other highlights saw the pair revive their ‘Geordie Jeans’ brand of clothing (“they’re especially tight around the arse”) and present a brilliant parody of First Dates complete with a magnificently hairy Vic as Fred Sirieix.
Special appearances from Rod Stewart, Simon Cowell and Idris Elba (running in a storm with his kestrels, naturally) completed a typically eccentric 30 minutes and boded well for Big Night Out’s extended run on BBC Four later this year.