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: 45 Years Of Prog And Roll, Episode 1

Brian Pern. Image shows from L to R: Brian Pern (Simon Day), Astrid Maddox Pern (Suranne Jones). Copyright: BBC
After a year out of the public eye following his heart attack, Brian is making a major comeback and has allowed award-winning film maker Rhys Thomas access all areas.

Preview clips

Further details

After a year out of the public eye following his heart attack, Brian is making a major comeback and has allowed award-winning film maker Rhys Thomas access all areas.

Not only is Brian appearing on Desert Island Discs and at the the Isle of Wight Festival, he has a new album, a new look and a new wife who is half his age - Astrid Maddox Pern.

Taking her advice, Brian sacks his picky manager John Farrow by fax and lets her take over. She quickly says yes to every offer going, including an appearance at the Thotch Convention Cruise with annoying fan club president, Perry.

Broadcast details

Thursday 14th January 2016
BBC Four
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Friday 15th January 2016 2:10am BBC4

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
Lucy Montgomery Pepita Sanchez
Tony Way Ned Pankhurst (Driver)
Suranne Jones Astrid Maddox Pern
John Thomson (as John Thompson) Perry Boothe
Lorraine Cheshire Train Driver
Rick Wakeman (as Richard Wakeman) Self
Martin Freeman Self
Paul Gambaccini Self
Kirsty Young Self
Dermot O'Leary Self
Martin Kemp Self
Chas Hodges Self
Dave Peacock Self
Stephen Holbrook Actor
Dean Thomas Actor
Lloyd Day Actor
Writing team
Simon Day Writer
Rhys Thomas Writer
Production team
Rhys Thomas Director
Rhys Thomas Producer
Richard Webb Executive Producer
Christopher Bird Editor
Neil Barnes Production Designer
Steven Burge (as Stephen Burge) Composer
Stephen Holbrook Composer


45 Years of Prog and Roll - Trailer

Brian Pern is back!

Featuring: Simon Day (Brian Pern).

Meeting Astrid

Rhys Thomas sits down to interview Brian for the first time since his heart attack.

Featuring: Simon Day (Brian Pern), Rhys Thomas & Suranne Jones (Astrid Maddox Pern).


Brian Pern: 45 Years of Prog and Roll - review

One fears that, like Pern, Day may have his best work behind him.

Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, 15th January 2016

Brian Pern: 45 Years of Rock and Roll, BBC Four, review

The prog rock legend was back and no one was safe from a good ribbing in this rock mockumentary, says Catherine Gee.

Catherine Gee, The Telegraph, 15th January 2016

Having watched most of the previous two series from Simon Day and co-creator Rhys Thomas I can definitely say that Brian Pern: 45 Years of Prog and Roll is the character's strongest outing thus far. That has a lot to do with the fact that Suranne Jones has joined the cast as Brian's new feisty American wife and manager Astrid who brings a whole new energy to the comedy. Once again Thomas stars as his documentary-making alter ego who has been called upon to make a new programme celebrating Pern's forty-five years in the music business. Day proves what a good sport he is by showcasing Brian's new surgically-enhanced look complete with new jet-black fake hair and a set of sparkling veneers. The first episode documents what happens when Astrid stars managing Brian and gets her new husband to sack his long-time partner-in-crime John Farrow (Michael Kitchen). Astrid's mismanagement means that Brian has to endure a cruise with some of his biggest fans and later suffering the indignity of being lower on the bill at the V Festival than his former Thotch bandmates. I've always thought Brian Pern was a fantastic comic creation and I think this latest series showcases the deluded rocker perfectly. Day is utterly committed to presenting Brian as an out-of-touch rocker whose obscure album concepts sell particularly poorly. Suranne Jones' note-perfect American accent is as brilliant as her deadpan comedy timing especially in the scene in which Astrid is trying to have it off with Martin Kemp whilst on a Skype call with Brian. But it's Michael Kitchen who steals the show as the foul-mouthed Farrow and the final set piece involving a stranded train full of cameoing ageing musicians is laugh-out-loud funny. The biggest compliment I can pay the latest Brian Pern series is that it was the only comedy I watched this week to provide consistent laughter for thirty minutes. Maybe it's just because the old-fashioned humour appeals to me or maybe it's because Day and Thomas know how to present classic character comedy with a modern twist. Whatever the case may be I do know that Brian Pern deserves as many viewers as possible and it's a shame that one of the funniest comedies on TV has seemingly been banished to BBC Four.

Matt, The Custard TV, 15th January 2016

A new series of affectionate mockumentaries following Brian Pern, the erstwhile frontman of progressive rockers Thotch. In tonight's first episode, Brian unveils a radical look, courtesy of new wife Astrid (Suranne Jones), who reveals that she will soon be taking over as Brian's manager. Astrid's quest for easy money lands Brian at the Isle Of Wight festival, and also on a Thotch fan cruise, complete with celebrity auction. John Thomson gets it just right as Thotch's fan club president, Perry.

John Robinson, The Guardian, 14th January 2016

TV preview: Brian Pern: 45 Years Of Prog And Roll, BBC4

Last time we saw Brian Pern he had had a heart attack and it looked like he might be retiring. But you don't get rid of prog rockers like Pern - played by Simon Day - that easily. He is on TV again for a new series exploring the highways and byways of the rock world.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 10th January 2016

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