Brian Pern. Brian Pern (Simon Day). Copyright: BBC
Brian Pern

Brian Pern

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Four / BBC Two
  • 2014 - 2017
  • 10 episodes (3 series)

Spoof music documentary series fronted by Simon Day in character as art rocker Brian Pern. Also features Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers, Michael Kitchen, David Cummings, Philip Pope and more.

Episode menu

Brian Pern: A Tribute

Thotch at the Royal Albert Hall for their Brian Pern tribute concert. Image shows from L to R: John (David Cummings), Mike Phillips (Philip Pope), Pat Quid (Paul Whitehouse), Tony Pebblé (Nigel Havers). Copyright: BBC
Following the sudden death of Brian Pern in a Segway accident, BBC Four is to broadcast this special documentary, dedicated to the musician, celebrating his life and work.

Further details

Following the sudden death of Brian Pern in a Segway accident, BBC Four is to broadcast this special documentary, dedicated to the musician, celebrating his life and work. The one-off special will be directed by the award-winning film-maker Rhys Thomas OBE (self-proclaimed) who will talk exclusively to Brian's friends and family as well as any random celebrities he can get hold of at such short notice.

Full story

Rhys Thomas explains why the show is ending

Phil Collins pays tribute

Brian Pern. Phil Collins. Copyright: BBC

Phil Collins pays tribute to the late, great Brian Pern in this episode. However, is Phil taking part in the documentary to pay his respect to Brian or does he have an ulterior motive?

Director Rhys Thomas says: "Working with Phil Collins was a thrill. He's another of my heroes and, like Peter Gabriel, it's great he's in on the joke when clearly Genesis were a bit of an inspiration behind Thotch. He's also one of the few rock stars who can genuinely act. He's a big comedy fan too. I remember seeing him in The Two Ronnies sketches when I was about 5 years old and just assumed he was a comedian too. I'd love to do more things with him in the future."

Collins is just one of the many stars to reflect on the life of the man "who invented world music and pioneered pop/prog rock." Other people involved in the programme, which was hastily put together after the news of Brian's passing, include John Thomson, Monty Don, Suranne Jones, Angus Deayton, Christopher Eccleston, David Arnold, David Baddiel, Peter Davison and Jane Asher.

Brian's friends, lovers and fans speak candidly about Brian's life and work in this poignant special and discuss what the future holds as the remaining members of Thotch plan a tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall in Brian's name to raise money for Segway Awareness.

This exclusive 'documentary' for BBC Four also features Brian's final prophetic interview, which has never been transmitted before, as well as the true story behind his untimely death, and the making of his last album, Heaven Calling, which was released just 271 days after his 66th birthday.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 29th March 2017
BBC Four
40 minutes

Cast & crew

Simon Day Brian Pern
Paul Whitehouse Pat Quid
Nigel Havers Tony Pebblé
Michael Kitchen John Farrow
David Cummings John
Philip Pope Mike Phillips
Rhys Thomas Self
Guest cast
Matt Lucas Ray Thomas
Lucy Montgomery Pepita Sanchez
Suranne Jones Astrid Maddox Pern
John Thomson (as John Thompson) Perry Boothe
Christopher Eccleston Luke Dunmore (Sound Engineer)
Jane Asher Cindi
Alan Ford 'Big' Basil Steel
David Baddiel Self
David Arnold Self
Mike Read Self
Phil Collins Self
Peter Gabriel Self
Paul Gambaccini Self
Gavin Esler Self
Angus Deayton Self
Peter Davison Self
Mike Batt Self
Monty Don Self
Paul McCartney Self
Tony Way Ensemble Actor
Shanta Patel Ensemble Actor
Writing team
Simon Day Writer
Rhys Thomas Writer
Tony Way Writer (Additional Material)
Production team
Rhys Thomas Director
Rhys Thomas Producer
Ben Caudell Executive Producer
Christopher Bird Editor
Neil Barnes Production Designer
Steven Burge (as Stephen Burge) Composer
Lynsey Moore Costume Designer
Ric Clark Director of Photography
Stephen Holbrook Composer
Philip Pope Music Production


Preview - Brian Pern: A Tribute

One of the lesser known deaths in recent months was that of the Thotch frontman and Simon Day lookalike Brian Pern.

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 29th March 2017

Killing their creation off in a Segway accident allows Simon Day and writer-director Rhys Thomas to present "an exclusive, cobbled-together tribute, with whoever we could get hold of at short notice". In practice, the spoof obituary means a greatest-hits feel, as Christopher Eccleston, Jane Asher and the rest take their characters' disdain for Pern up a notch. There follows a compilation of Pern hits, "with some poorly written captions underneath". Sublime.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 29th March 2017

Brian Pern: obituaries aren't meant to be hilarious

Obituaries aren't meant to be hilarious but trust us, this one is.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 29th March 2017

Brian Pern - a knowing parody of the rock eulogy

Following the unofficial year of celebrity death that was 2016, another victim has been claimed by the great Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in the sky.

Nick Mitchell, i Newspaper, 29th March 2017

Rhys Thomas on Brian Pern: A Tribute

To celebrate the end of an era, we caught up with series co-creator, co-writer, director and star Rhys Thomas to talk about the final days of a rock legend.

The Velvet Onion, 28th March 2017

TV review: Brian Pern: A Tribute

The highlight is probably Peter Davison recalling Pern's feeble acting on Dr Who.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 28th March 2017

Share this page