After the Leaders Debate ended last night, I did some channel hopping and found that ITV3 were about to show An Audience With Freddie Starr.
Now, I watched this when it was first shown, though didn't realise until inspection of the end credits this time round that it was a whole 14 years ago. I should have guessed, really, given the youthfulness of Patsy Palmer and how unbotoxed Dale Winton was when Starr dragged him on to the stage.
Anyway, the point is, this was a stunning hour of television. Chaotic but controlled and screamingly funny. Starr chucking live maggots into the crowd and the camera panning in on Faith Brown picking them out of a grossly overplumped cleavage. Peter Stringfellow having his hair forcibly cut from within a set of stocks - and Carol Smillie's half-horrified, half-orgasmic face in the crowd as the scissors snipped away. Nigel Havers, without his grey highlights, trying desperately to sing along as an unrehearsed backing singer and failing. Mr Motivator being asked to pedal an exercise bike to "keep the power going" while Starr did that 'speed up, slow down' shtick on Unchained Melody.
And between the hoots and howls, some terrific singing, especially when Elvis Presley's backing vocalists, the Jordanaires (and their amazing wigs), came on stage to back Starr with style and a smile.
I know Starr is controversial as both a person and performer - though he doesn't to my knowledge have racially dubious material that got some of his peers taken off the television forever - but why is he not on television more often? Is he retired? Is he regarded as too old-fashioned? I'd rather watch him for an hour than Ricky Gervais (though I'd rather watch Kenneth Starr for an hour than Ricky Gervais).
Here's the 'speed up, slow down' song for you. It's tremendous.