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Alan Davies sitcom Whites to be remade in America

Whites, the 2010 BBC Two sitcom starring Alan Davies as a celebrity chef, is to be remade in America with Arrested Development star Will Arnett in the lead role.

British Comedy Guide, 10th October 2018

In the leading role of Best Possible Taste (BBC Four) Oliver Lansley was good at copying Kenny Everett's funny voices but this only reminded you that the star was at his funniest when talking straight. "I love you," he told his wife, "but I fancy Burt Reynolds." His muse, the improbably beautiful Cleo Rocos, wasn't in the script. When I saw the two of them together I thought: he's done it, he's reduced sex to a Platonic ideal, the lucky swine. Actually, of course, he was wretched.

Clive James, The Telegraph, 19th October 2012

That's right; it's yet another melodramatic BBC Four biopic, exploring the life of a comedian including their darker, personal details - but this one contains some naughty bits.

The Best Possible Taste concerns the life of Kenny Everett, played here by Oliver Lansley. Lansley also plays most of Everett's comic characters, including Sid Snot, Cupid Stunt, Brother Lee Love and Marcel Wave, who commentate on the habits of their creator and his complicated love-life: namely being married to his wife Lee (Katherine Kelly), despite being gay...

Like Everett's own style of humour, the show itself was completely bonkers, with lots of quirky editing. There are several instances of scenes which display Everett's true feelings, only for the characters to stop the film and rewind it to show what really happened. For example, there's the scene at the 1983 Young Conservatives conference, in which in Everett's mind he wants to tell the world he's gay, but is stopped by Cupid Stunt, who then shows us that Everett actually blurted, "Let's bomb Russia!"

While The Best Possible Taste is worth a watch, it's not really one for the comedy anoraks. There's no mention of how his characters were formed, and several of his TV outings were not mentioned at all. Instead, the show mostly covers his private relationships and his DJ work. So, while this documentary may have been produced in the best possible taste, I can't say it was as funny as it could have been.

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 8th October 2012

Best Possible Taste - The Kenny Everett Story opens with a pair of false teeth in a glass of water gurgling a variation on the standard biopic warning: "It's based on a true story, but some of the scenes have been 'scrungled'. It also contains... naughty bits."

Dropped into Kenny's weird and wonderful world, we are immediately reacquainted with several of its celebrated inhabitants, including Cupid Stunt, Sid Snot, Brother Lee Love, Angry of Mayfair and Marcel Wave. They are on hand to help recount the life and career of the consistently self-destructive, frequently self-loathing and sometimes self-centred radio and TV maverick.

Oliver Lansley perfectly captures Everett and his multiple incarnations. Katherine Kelly plays his wife, Lee, and Simon Callow puts in a suitably luvvie turn as Dickie Attenborough, who rescues the much-sacked Cuddly Ken from the broadcasting wilderness of producing jingles for a carpet warehouse.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 5th October 2012

Best Possible Taste was right on the money

Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story gave us an uncanny impression of Everett from Oliver Lansley, but could this drama really get to grips with the eccentric comedian?

Keith Watson, Metro, 4th October 2012

A cult figure in his own lifetime, DJ and comedian Kenny Everett was something of a private enigma. In this dramatisation of his turbulent rise to TV fame, we get a glimpse behind the façade, with Everett's iconoclastic shoes ably filled by Oliver Lansley. Best value are the uncanny impressions of Kenny's best-loved TV characters, strutting across the screen to signpost the biopic action, while Katherine Kelly lends moving support as Everett's long-suffering wife Lee.

Sharon Lougher, Metro, 3rd October 2012

Kenny Everett was a man who always knew when to go too far. He was also an acquired taste; a thoroughly tiresome attention-seeker or a comedy genius, depending on your viewpoint.

This tender, ebullient biopic, featuring a tour de force from Oliver Lansley as Everett, charts an eccentric life, from Everett's early years as a DJ on the pirate station Radio London, to his complicated relationship with
the BBC. But its focus is the unconventional marriage of Everett, a guilt-ridden, closet gay, and his wife Lee (the brilliant Katherine Kelly).

Everett was hard work - needy, annoying and forever hiding behind silly voices and pantomime TV characters such as Sid Snot and Cupid Stunt, who are all played by Lansley, popping up to provide an off-kilter narration. Lansley is sensational: eye-popping, mugging and infuriating one minute, petulant and bereft the next. Best Possible Taste could slip into tears-of-a-clown cliché but, somehow, it doesn't.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 3rd October 2012

Oliver Lansley gives a terrific performance in Tim Whitnall's biopic of the anarchic DJ Kenny Everett, which is partly framed around his relationship with the long-suffering Lee Middleton (Katherine Kelly). Middleton may have been Everett's rock, but it is Everett's mad genius that this film really salutes as it explores his struggle to contain his sexuality and his rollercoaster career - which took in everything from groundbreaking radio and TV shows to an infamous appearance at a Young Conservatives Conference.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 2nd October 2012

I recommend Best Possible Taste, a warm, witty and respectful tribute to the ground-breaking DJ and comedian Kenny Everett that, while never shying away from the more troubled aspects of his character, actually goes out of its way to celebrate his genius.

Closer in spirit to the delightful Eric & Ernie and Tony Roche's winningly irreverent Holy Flying Circus - Ev's comic alter-egos, from Sid Snot to Cupid Stunt, act as a Greek chorus throughout - it's clearly a labour of love from screenwriter Tim Whitnall, whose ability to write about comedians with affectionate insight was previously established by his award-winning stage-play Morecambe.

With Ev's ex-wife and soul-mate Lee and his key collaborator Barry Cryer both acting as consultants, Whitnall's film abounds with a sense of anecdotal charm and detail that so many of these biopics lack. Sure, it begins with our hero recovering from a suicide attempt, and pivots around his struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality, but it never treats him crassly. Instead he's portrayed as an inveterate rebel with a self-destructive streak, whose total mastery of his craft clashed with his private anxieties. That's artists for you.

Framed as an unorthodox love story between Ev and Lee, it's a touching portrait of a sensitive, brilliant, loveable, maddening man trying to find his place in the world, before tragically passing away years before his time. Newcomer Oliver Lansley is simply outstanding in the lead role, inhabiting Ev's various personae - including his softly-spoken actual self - with uncanny accuracy and depth. If this magnificent performance isn't rewarded with a BAFTA next year, then I'll shake my fist at the sun in anger. That'll show them.

Ex-Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly provides excellent support as the strong-willed Lee, and there are even a few colourful cameos from Freddie Mercury, Michael Winner and Dickie Attenborough (the latter essayed by Simon Callow in Full-Callow mode).

While many of these biopics often look as though they were made for the price of a packet of Swan Vestas, director James Strong does wonders with his resources here, producing a beautiful, inventive piece that its late subject may well have approved of. Alas, the budget cuts at BBC Four suggest that this will be their last drama for quite some time. But at least they've gone out on a high.

The Scotsman, 30th September 2012

Video: Katherine Kelly on playing Mrs Kenny Everett

The actress played Becky MacDonald in Coronation Street and her latest TV role sees her playing the wife of Kenny Everett.

Katherine says Kenny and his wife Lee were very much in love even though Kenny was gay.

Katherine also says that Lee was very emotional when she saw Oliver Lansley, the actor who plays Kenny because his portrayal was so good.

Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin, BBC Breakfast, 28th September 2012

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