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 2

Brian Pern. Image shows from L to R: Pat Quid (Paul Whitehouse), Tony Pebblé (Nigel Havers), Lyndsie Symon (Lucy Montgomery), John (David Cummings), Mike Phillips (Philip Pope). Copyright: BBC
Director Rhys Thomas explores how Brian broke America with the success of his classic album Shelf Life.

Preview clips

Further details

Rhys Thomas explores how Brian broke America with the success of his classic album Shelf Life. He goes behind the scenes of the album's creation and looks at the real events in Brian's life that inspired the hit songs, both good and bad.

He also follows Brian back to Los Angeles where he is reunited with his family and ex-wife after more than a decade.

Broadcast details

Thursday 21st January 2016
BBC Four
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Friday 22nd 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
Christopher Eccleston Luke Dunmore (Sound Engineer)
Lucy Montgomery Lyndsie Symon
Shelley Longworth Ripple Pegasus Pern
Adam Longworth Tallow Agamemnon Pern
Jane Asher Cindi
Stephen Holbrook Band Member
Craig Christiaens Band Member
Roger Taylor Self
Paul Gambaccini Self
Martin Kemp Self
Ian Wright Self
Dean Thomas Ensemble 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
Tony Way Composer


Pepita's hotel room

Brian is disturbed in his hotel room. When he goes to investigate he is in for a surprise.


Some spot-on characterisations in the second part of the latest Pern mockumentary: from Thotch's replacement singer with a coke problem ("The night that my arse fell out was a low point") and Brian's Osbourne-alike kids ("His children have a funny accent, neither English nor American") to Christopher Eccleston's producer: "Without Brian there'd be no Beady Eye, no Shed Seven ... he's got a fucking lot to answer for." All this, and divorcing one's wife via Ceefax.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 21st January 2016

Radio Times review

"In part two of this revealing but convoluted documentary," says narrator Rhys Thomas, our man Brian (Simon Day) enters the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This prompts a retrospective. In the 1970s and 80s, Brian enjoyed mainstream success, pitched here somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Dire Straits; meanwhile, Thotch carried on without their departed talisman, regrouping as an outfit very similar to Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac.

This is the funniest Pern yet. Every line of Thomas and Day's script brings a laugh, and even the editing and archive shots are carefully loaded with absurdity. Scorching guest turns come from Christopher Eccleston as the producer of Brian's awful Madchester LP, and Jane Asher as an apoplectic ex-wife.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 12th January 2016

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