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The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story. Image shows from L to R: Kenny Everett (Oliver Lansley), Lee Everett-Alkin (Katherine Kelly). Copyright: Mammoth Screen
The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story

The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story

  • TV comedy drama
  • BBC Four
  • 2012
  • 1 episode

Biopic comedy drama about the life of comedian Kenny Everett, as told with the help of his famous characters such as Sid Snot and Cupid Stunt. Stars Oliver Lansley, Katherine Kelly, Perry Millward, Angela Lonsdale, Tony Pitts and more.

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About The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story

Made by Mammoth Screen for BBC Wales, Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story is a celebration of Kenny Everett's extraordinary life and work. Told with the help of some of Everett's most famous comic characters, including Sid Snot and Cupid Stunt, this BBC Four film charts how Everett became one of Britain's best-loved, most-rebellious and truly innovative broadcasters and comedians.

Development

Oliver Lansley as Kenny Everett as Sid Snot. Kenny Everett (Oliver Lansley). Copyright: Mammoth Screen

Luke Franklin, associate producer, describes the ambition behind the film: "The task of distilling the multiple, often chaotic strands of Kenny Everett's remarkable and eventful life into 90 minutes of drama felt like an ambitious one, right from the off. Luckily, the desire to see the project made generated endless enthusiasm in its key creative team - writer Tim Whitnall, and director James Strong, who was on board for much of the development process - as well as the consultants, who knew Kenny, and advised on every detail of the production.

"From the start of the development process, authenticity was always a central aim. It soon became clear that the script was likely to focus upon Kenny's relationship with Lee Middleton (now Lee Everett-Alkin) - to whom Kenny was married for almost a decade and a half. It was through the prism of this defining relationship that Tim Whitnall felt Kenny's story could best be told. The period of Kenny and Lee's relationship encompassed Kenny's rise to fame in the UK, his coming to terms with his sexuality - but also worked as an unconventional love story in its own right.

"Together with her husband, John Alkin, Lee was the first consultant to come on board the project, to which she gave invaluable support and access to her archives - as well as notes on the accuracy of the script at each draft stage. Given the script dealt with the gradual break-down of the marriage, as well as its many happier periods, Lee's involvement as a first-hand source was essential.

"Lee met with Oliver Lansley (Kenny) and Katherine Kelly (Lee) early in pre-production - sharing with both actors details and insights from her life with Kenny which could inform the events dealt with in the script.

"Kenny's long time manager and friend Jo Gurnett was the other major consultant on the project - advising and providing detail and perspective on the whole script, but especially on those elements which dealt with Kenny's professional life, and his personal life outside of his marriage to Lee.

"Barry Cryer - Kenny's colleague and co-writer on Kenny's television series for both Thames and the BBC - was also a script consultant, as was journalist David Lister, the author of Kenny's biography In The Best Possible Taste."

Casting

The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story. Image shows from L to R: Kenny Everett (Oliver Lansley), Lee Everett-Alkin (Katherine Kelly). Copyright: Mammoth Screen

Luke Franklin says: "With the character of Kenny appearing in almost every scene, casting the actor to play the lead role was a daunting but exciting challenge. Not only did the script require an actor capable of delving into the inner turmoil and private life of a very public figure, but it also demanded a performer who could replicate whilst making his own the coterie of Kenny's famous sketch show characters.

"By the time Oliver Lansley auditioned, the production team had been casting for some considerable time, and was acutely aware of how much hinged on finding our Kenny. Within moments of Oli walking in the room, there was a sense that he was our man. The brash swagger of his Sid Snot bore an uncanny closeness to the original. His readings from the most emotionally delicate moments of the script were a stark contrast, and equally compelling. The only problem was Oli was due to fly to Melbourne for a month to perform in a play. Dates were shifted, and a slightly jet-lagged Oli flew back to the UK 48 hours before the read through."

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