Browse content similar to Episode 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This programme contains strong language.
The rock star and campaigner Brian Pern
has suffered a major heart attack.
He was taken to hospital in London earlier this evening.
He is reported to be in a critical condition.
The last time I met Brian Pern,
he decided to retire from the music industry,
while he recovered from his heart attack.
Now, after a year out of the public eye,
Brian is back to celebrate 45 years in the music business
with a new album, tour and this exclusive,
access-all-areas documentary series on his past...
-Don't touch these fucking controls again.
Surely the point of getting me in to read your book is
-because I sound like Martin Freeman.
-I am pregnant!
..with me, the award-winning film-maker Rhys Thomas, OBE.
I've come to Brian's home for his first interview
and public appearance in over a year.
Hi. Erm, this is Astrid.
Brian, sit down.
OK, can I see the set-up?
Are all these people staying?
-Yes. Yes, they... Yeah, they are.
Brian, you need to lift your head up. I can see two of your chins.
-OK, that's great.
-Come on, that's silly.
Erm... Can we...
Can we soften the lens and maybe increase the light
so we don't see so many lines?
Back straight, posture. Let's go!
-Sorry, I have to mention this. You've changed your appearance quite...
-Can we cut there, please?
-No, hang on.
Uh, no, we can only talk about Brian's solo
and future projects, our work with Unicef, mollusc awareness
and Brian's work with the Prince's Trust.
But this is about 45 years of Brian Pern.
How am I supposed to talk about the past?
You'll work that out.
OK. Chin up, Brian.
PROG ROCK INTRO
Manager John Farrow has flown in
for his first meeting with Brian since he came out of retirement.
I don't know who you lot are
and I've got a meeting in here in a minute, so do fuck off.
-How do you do? Fuck off.
Actually, John, Brian wanted to change the way
-we did things a little.
-Did he really now?
Well, we'll see what he has to say when he gets here.
-There's no coffee in here. Why?
-I am here.
Oh, Jesus Christ!
Brian, what the fuck have you done?
I don't know whath you're thalking about.
Your face. You look...
-You look like a Bee Gee gone wrong.
-I just had a few nipth and tuckth.
-And you sound like a Dutchman.
-Yeah, that's the gnashers.
They're not bedded in yet.
-How are you supposed to sing like that?
-He sings fine.
It's just the talking that's the problem.
But it's only temporary and it is so worth it.
So, Brian thought that a few more brains would help out
in the decision-making process from now on.
Oh, did he really, now?
And this lot are the brains, are they?
Well, let's come up with a cure for ball cancer
and a plan for the Middle East
-while we're at it, shall we?
-Nice idea, John,
but I think we should stick to Brian's music career for now.
Oh, dear, oh, dear.
So why don't we all go around the table and introduce ourselves?
-John, you start.
-Oh, Jesus. I can't do all that.
Really and truly, you know exactly who I am. Who the fuck are YOU?
-I'm Suzanne, Brian's dentist.
Stuart, Brian's Ocado delivery driver.
-I'm Dan, Brian's studio runner.
And I'm Brian!
This is Serge, my youngest,
and I am Astrid Maddox-Pern, Brian's wife and personal assistant.
# Something in the way she moves... #
I never thought I'd fall in love again,
and here I am like a puppy dog.
Obviously, she's a bit younger than me, but that's OK.
That happens a lot with people of your generation, doesn't it?
-Ronnie Wood ran off with that young lady...
-We didn't run off anywhere.
That's totally different. Astrid has a degree in science.
-And you met her at the premier of Danny Collins.
-Yeah, that's correct.
Is it a good film?
None of us were invited to the wedding, of course.
Not that we would have gone had we been.
I mean, he was never really a ladies' man, but...
Yeah, she's a cracking bit of stuff.
I was very, very, very, very, very upset when he get with her
because all the time in the hospital, I were there for him.
I was feeding him the mushy food, changing his sheets,
mucking him out like a pony in the stables,
sitting on his fires
then as soon as he's well, he's off with her
and all she is after is his purse.
For example, at my last wedding, we had a table for ten.
I mean, that's £100 per head.
I mean, that's an awful lot of salmon en croute.
The worst thing about her is she cooks fish.
All the time - fish in the microwave. It stinks everything out.
The bedroom stinks of fish, the bathroom stinks of fish,
the kitchen stinks of fish. Fish, fish, fish, fish. Everywhere!
I mean, I've known Brian since we were both five years old.
He was my best man for two of my weddings at least,
and each time, we bought him a gift which cost well in excess of £100.
So I did think maybe he'd pick me for this wedding.
Not that I'd have accepted, anyway.
He's scared of her. She keeps his blood in a cup. She's voodoo.
I mean, I don't want to speak ill of anyone, but she's an arsehole.
OK, so, what's first on the agenda?
Desert Island Discs are asking
for your playlist for the show this week.
Yes, and we have it right here.
So we all thought carefully, making sure we had an eclectic mix
of songs to make Brian sound, well, er, relevant.
Do you want any of your own songs here?
-Well, I thought it was a bit egotistical.
Desert Island Discs gets a global reach of 150 million listeners.
Where else are you going to get that many people
listening to your latest songs?
-Which incidentally didn't make the Radio 2 playlist.
So pick eight of your own favourite songs from your latest album, OK?
Right, since we announced your comeback appearance
at the Isle of Wight Festival,
the official Thotch fan club are going to hold
their annual convention on a cruise ship
on the way to the festival on the day you perform
and they really want you to appear in person
as it's your 45th anniversary.
They've offered you 20 grand and whatever you make on autographs.
That is a lot of money for a boat ride.
-Yeah, but not enough, so I turned it down for you.
Because it's tragic, that's why.
There is nothing tragic about 40,000.
That could make a difference to so many lives.
So you think Brian should appear at his own convention on a ferry
full of Thotch fans from which there is no escape?
For that money? Yes.
-Have you ever met a Thotch fan?
-Then you are a very lucky person.
V Festival people have asked if you want to headline,
but they're offering half of what Tom Jones is getting,
so I told them to fuck off too.
Mastermind, Celebrity Pointless, Celebrity Crimewatch -
turned them all down. And...
There's another one.
Oh, yeah, Children In Need. Told them to fuck off.
What did you say?
Fuck off, please.
I just don't see why you pay him 10% to turn things down for you,
some of which you should be doing.
I think you should let him go.
-Oh, no, no. I couldn't do that.
-Well, why not?
You can manage yourself. Lots of artists do that these days.
But, Astrid, I am not a businessman. I'm a musician.
Well, OK, I'll manage you, then.
And that way, all the money goes into the same pot.
Brian has been surrounded by negativity for too long and, erm...
He's too nice for his own good, so I just jettison some of those
grey spirits that were draining the positive energy from his aura.
John's been with me for years. He's good for me.
And I'm not?
-Oh, come on now, I didn't say that.
-No, no. No, I mean, I get it.
All the old boys, they stick together
and us silly women, we just get to worry about your fucking hair
-and making your tea...
OK, you can manage me.
-It'll be good. New start.
-Oh, God, Brian! Really?
-So I'll call the V Festival and the fan club.
-And you'll speak to John?
Brian has come to BBC Broadcasting House to record Desert Island Discs.
Do you think Astrid will be a better manager than John?
-Do you regret what you did?
John. What are you doing here?
I sent you a voicemail,
saying I'd be here and buy you some lunch afterwards.
You didn't get it?
Oh, Astrid takes all my calls now.
Oh, I see.
-That's why I haven't heard from you, then, is it?
-John, I sent you a fax.
A fax?! I haven't had a fax for 20 fucking years, mate. Why?
Oh, no reason.
-If you'd like to follow me.
-My castaway this week is a rock musician,
humanitarian and inventor of world music.
He first came to fame as lead singer
of the progressive rock back Thotch
which he formed at Stowe with fellow pupils Pat Quid and Tony Pebble.
This summer, he's about to embark on a festival tour
marking 40 years as a solo artist.
-He is Brian Pern.
Let's talk a little bit about your parents, then.
Your father was a surgeon, your mum, I think, was a teacher.
Yes, my father was a surgeon. My mother was a teacher.
And were they musical at all themselves?
What's your first piece of music that we're going to hear today?
My first choice today is a track called
Succulent Chinese Meal by Brian Pern.
And why do you like it?
Well, it's a track that I wrote
and this is a new orchestral cover of the song.
It's on my new orchestral album, which is called
-Pam, cancel the LA flight.
I'm going to stay in London because of these festivals.
And dig out the fax machine, would you? Brian sent me a fax, the twat.
Let me know what it says.
Time for some more music. What are we going to hear now?
Well, I always admired the films of Alfred Hitchcock
and I was appalled to discover they're knocking down his early home
in Leighton in East London to build a Nando's barbecue franchise.
I wrote a song about it. I was angry.
And it's called Dial N For Nando's.
So there's another song by you?
-Are you going to pick any songs today by other artists?
'This is a story about a lovely old house
-'in London's East End.'
'They want to turn it into a chicken shack.'
-Hello, John, how are you?
-I'm all right. And you?
-Yeah. What you doing here?
-Brian's doing Kirsty Young.
-Ooh, lovely. Great.
What's all this about Brian not making the Radio 2 playlist?
Oh, nothing to do with me.
You could get him on your show, couldn't you?
Yeah, I mean, it's tricky because our show is kind of
up and coming bands and he's kind of...been and gone a little bit.
You could pull a few strings, though, couldn't you?
I could have done, but then he told Children In Need to F-off when
they asked him to perform and since then he's been on the blacklist.
-You know what it's like. No-one disses Pudsey and gets away with it.
-Anyway, good luck, mate.
Little wanker's a stuffed toy with a gammy eye, for fuck's sake.
Pam? What's it say?
I'm now going to play you a cover version
that I recorded of his song.
It's an orchestral cover on my new album, which is called
This song is called Kitchu Akka Ba Aga Aga,
which means "Put the lid back on the jam."
Put that in your fucking documentary.
Can I ask you about the time Brian sacked you?
Under new management, Brian has now agreed to appear
on the Thotch convention cruise to the Isle of Wight Festival.
-Whose idea was it to do this festivals tour?
-What's the reason behind it?
-To get back and connect with my fans.
Astrid believes that I have become something of a hermit prince
in a high tower, with my fans way below.
She believes I need to reconnect.
Thotch fans tend to come in several categories.
There are fans of the Brian era,
there are fans of the post-Brian era,
there are '70s fans, there are '80s fans
and then there are the nutcases who buy everything,
including the awful solo albums by the second bass player.
We live Thotch, we eat Thotch,
we breathe Thotch, we shit Thotch.
Our fans were always more intellectual rather than attractive.
They were all blokes in the early days.
You know, greasy-haired men in nylon shirts that smelt under the armpits.
All the birds were off seeing Cliff Richard.
Which is ironic.
Brian's first engagement on the ship is a Q & A session.
Hi. So, ask away.
Who did the costume and make-up in the 1970s?
Er, next question, please.
How many instruments did you play on your solo album?
Er, it was six. It was drums, bass, guitar, synth and flute.
Do you mind if I answer the questions?
Right. There you go.
This is the biggest cabin.
There's baby-wipes on the bed if you want to freshen up
and there's water in the spout.
Erm, and I'll be down in the bar doing the auction.
-I'll give you a shout when we're ready.
And this is for you. 20k in there, plus per-diems.
Don't spend it all at once.
I thought we were doing it by BECS?
Er, no, no, no, no.
Cash is king, mate. No VAT.
-Brian, can I have a word a second?
-I just want to talk about the convention while we're...
You know, I feel like someone's made a monkey out of me.
Do you regret doing this a bit?
Don't you think it's, like, beneath you?
Please, let me just look.
-When you change your mind...
-Just leave me alone!
Just really quickly.
I am contractually obliged to do certain things on this vessel
with certain Thotch fans.
I am not contractually obliged to continually
speak to you at every given fucking opportunity.
OK, all right. All right, just leave him.
Leave him. Leave him, leave him.
OK, Thotch fans, are you ready? It's auction time!
Hello, it's me. Where are you?
It's my fourth call.
The guy who runs the fan club is an absolute pipsqueak.
Pat Quid's bottle-green replica guitar. £2,000?
Three times to the silver fox at the front. Thank you, sir.
Just call me.
Oh, please, no more! What are you doing in here?
I just... Can I just ask you some questions?
But how did you get in?
Well, I had the key.
If you want this to be properly your whole life, you have to do this.
That's the whole point.
Buddy, you have overstepped the boundaries. Now take yourself off.
-There aren't any boundaries.
How do you want to come across on this?
Not like this, on my fucking knees!
'Despite Brian's new wife, new manager and new look,
'cracks were clearly beginning to show.'
Right, a little bit of decorum in the room now.
Are you ready for this, right?
OK, now, the final lot...
Unbeknownst to Brian, Astrid has donated the star auction prize.
One very lucky person will not only get to see Brian perform
LIVE at the V Festival this year,
but they will get to spend the whole day with Brian.
Do I see £1,000?
£1,000 at the back, sir. Rubbish. £1,500 to me.
I'm bidding against you.
Do I see £2,000? £2,000, then, lady at the back. Not enough.
Do I see 4,000 in the room?
Gentleman at the back. Marquis of Bath.
£5,000 to me. Going once, twice, three times.
Me! Get in!
Today is Brian's first festival performance since 1975.
Do you know, I've yet to meet a single festivalgoer
who I haven't found to be a complete twat.
You're obviously Thotch fans.
-You've come all the way to see him.
-How far can you come to see Brian Pern today?
-About four miles.
Festivals are an incredibly important part of British history.
They go way back to pagan times. To the Stone Age.
Ever since a group of people sat out in a field and a guy picked up
a stick and banged it on a tree.
Never enough toilets in the '70s and people would hog 'em.
Van Morrison was the worst. He used to sing in there.
He was in there forever.
The festival promoter would give you a bucket, spade and a dock leaf
and...you'd just fuck off.
Everyone had bum grief. It was wall-to-wall vegetarian cooking.
Hello, good morning. My name is Brian Pern. This is my new band.
We're going to play you a song. It's called Spirit Level.
I hate playing in the daylight, you know.
You can see every oily student,
drunk, bald people, children dancing about - Jesus!
I kept looking at this squirrel at one festival. Really put me off.
It was, like, staring me out.
Like it hated me.
I shot it.
What's the worst thing that can happen at a festival?
-In 1975, five years after what was the last Isle of Wight Festival,
myself, Richard Branson and Harvey Goldsmith tried to revive the event.
A lot of great acts there.
Mike Oldfield, Kiki Dee, The Who, Clapton, Mike Batt...
I managed to wangle Thotch as the headlining act.
What we didn't want was a repeat of what happened at Altamont
with the Hells Angels,
so I suggested that we get the Salvation Army for security
because they were trustworthy, kind and it would send a message
to people that this was a festival of peace.
But some fucker spiked their teapot, didn't they?
It was absolute carnage!
The Salvation Army were very wound up.
Poor old Don McLean had a tooth knocked out.
That was a very sad day for all involved.
There was a big fat bloke.
And he jammed his tuba on people's heads.
-And it was happening right in front of us!
Part of me what thinking, "Christ, what a disaster."
But at the same time, "Great!
"What better publicity could there have been?"
But someone died.
Well, there is that, I suppose, but...
I mean, it was a long while afterwards.
I mean, the bloke was six months in a coma
before he finally booked out, so you know...
Did you ever find out who spiked the teapot?
All right, who was it?
Well, it's a long time ago, you know.
I don't want to drag it all up.
But it would be nice to find out who...
-I'm not really at liberty to say...
-But you know who it was?
-Was it a man?
-Was it someone who was on the bill on that day?
-Yes, I believe... Yes.
-So it was a man.
He was on the bill at the festival.
Did he have blond hair?
-No, but what does it...
-Did he have red hair?
Did this person write the music for The Wombles...
and Watership Down?
He could have.
Brian, did Mike Batt spike the teapot that belonged to the Salvation Army,
which drove several of them crazy on June 4, 1975?
Yes or no?
It's the evening after Brian's triumphant performance
on the Isle of Wight.
With his wife away,
he has decided to get into the festival spirit by camping overnight.
Hello, darling. How are you?
Oh... Hi. Hi, Brian.
-Is this a bad time?
No, I, er... I just got Serge off, so...
-Um... How was the show?
-Oh, it was great.
-Yeah. Did you see it?
No, they don't have iPlayer here, which is really annoying.
-I am so tired!
It's just with the jet lag and the time difference,
it just really messes with my aura.
But you're in the South of France?
Martin Kemp is behind you.
God, what are you doing?
I... I'm sorry. Er, it's the wrong room.
-I'm supposed to be seeing this other woman next door.
All right, Bri? Saw the show tonight. It was brilliant.
-Watched it all on the iPlayer.
-Er, no. No, no, we didn't.
We didn't? No, we...
Oh, that's right, we were watching something completely different.
You know, I wasn't paying attention.
So, anyway, you...
Er, I'll leave you to it, then. All right.
Sorry about the confusion!
See you, Bri.
Brian, I am just so tired.
So, erm, I'll call you in the morning.
I've done it again, haven't I?
I'll get me eyes tested.
Good luck with the, erm, other woman.
-Who's that? Going to get it?
-It's Brian, no.
-No, ask him over.
He's a user. If his woman not around, he wants me. No!
-Fuck you, Brian. No.
-Do not answer that. No!
-Don't be a party pooper.
-No, I'm going to bed. I'm going to bed.
Give us a toke on that.
Oh, hello, Brian.
What are you calling me at this time for?
Yeah, yeah. I can... Yeah, yeah, yeah,
I can sort that out. No problem. Yeah.
Leave it with me, pal.
Three weeks later, the remaining members of Thotch announce
they are to reform without Brian and headline the V Festival -
one of the hottest tickets of the summer.
Thotch are now reforming without you.
The four members are coming back together again,
and they're going to play the Virgin Festival.
I saw how you felt when you found out
they were higher than you on the bill.
It's the new set list for the V Festival - you might want to have a look.
Where am I? I'm not headlining.
-You're down between The Charlatans and Black Lace.
Sad to say I think it may be John Farrow doing some skulduggery
behind the scenes.
You know, he's stirring the pot.
Putting the different ingredients in. The wizard, the toad.
Oh, I would never do a thing like that.
No, Thotch were asked to reform last minute.
Pat and Tony thought it would be fun for old times' sake.
We approach Brian's manager, who declined the offer.
And so we went ahead without him.
Brian and Astrid are on their way to the V Festival in Manchester
with fan club president, Perry Booth.
But, halfway there, the train makes an unexpected stop.
With only a few hours before the show, the timing could not be worse.
Oh, excuse me.
-But what is going on?
I can't really say at the moment.
-HE LAUGHS LOUDLY
-The driver will be making an announcement.
Yes, but how long?
He's performing at the V Festival in a few hours.
Madam, I really can't say.
TANNOY: I'm sorry for the delay, ladies and gentlemen.
But I'm afraid we have hit a herd of cows crossing the track.
The emergency services are on their way,
but we expect to be here for some time.
As a mark of respect, the roast beef baps are off the menu.
You're kidding me!
We really need to get off this train,
because if you don't turn up to the concert, we don't get paid.
I tell you, we'd be lucky if we move out of here by midnight.
I'm going to go to the other end of the train.
See if someone there has a signal.
I'm going to go and speak to the driver.
It's supposed to be my day.
I've got Chas, Dave,
half of Quo, a third of Thotch,
a fifth of Yes and Florence and her fucking Machine stuck here.
They've got to get off the train now to stand a rat-arse chance of
getting on stage on time in Manchester.
There are huge penalty payments for not appearing and we don't get paid.
Are Virgin going to pick that up? Not a chance.
You must understand that I have to follow procedure.
Can I offer you complimentary tea and coffee from the buffet?
As you know, our travelling chef is on board.
I couldn't give a solitary bollock about the travelling chef.
30 seconds is all it takes to open that door and let us off.
John, you've got to help me. Please!
-Somebody say something?
-I didn't know you were on the train.
There it goes again. Whatever could it be?
Come on, darling. Open the doors.
I'm sorry, but I can't.
Come on, love, give it a rest, will you?
Right. Who do I have to call to get you to open these doors? Because this is getting serious.
-Now, is it money you want? Have you got a relative who wants to get on The Voice?
-I am sorry, sir.
I will not be bribed. We have a herd of cows out there in a critical condition.
Hello, Richard. John Farrow.
You got a signal?
Yeah, if you could.
We've got stuck on one of your trains which appears
to have ground to a halt on the way to the V Festival
and your driver won't let us off.
Yeah... Well, there's me, Chas, Dave,
Wakeman, Parfitt, Pebble...
-And Brian Pern, and his wife Astrid, and a fan.
-Yeah, that's all.
Oh, well, that's very generous, Richard.
No, that's brilliant.
-There you are. He says yes.
-Who says yes?
-How do I know that's Richard Branson?
That just says Richard. How do I know that's Richard Branson?
-That could be any Richard.
-Speak to him.
Hello, is that Richard Branson?
Oh, it is you, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Of course I will open the doors, sir. Of course, yeah.
Right, that's it. Yeah, it's him.
Richard? Thank you.
Sorry about that. Come on, then, off.
I'm not happy about this, but don't let anybody see.
How are you getting on?
John, please! You've got to help me.
Speak to your agent, Brian. You're not my problem any more. Ta-ta.
John? Open the door! John!
I can't believe this.
-Do you know Richard Branson?
-Now, Brian, breathe.
I can't believe this is happening.
-Come on, then. Hurry up.
He's sending a helicopter.
-We should get there on time.
-I love you.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, all right.
How can I ever repay you?
Well, you know what you got to do.
I'll send you a fax.
Brian? What are you doing?
I wouldn't get too upset if I were you.
He fucked two Thotch fans at the Isle of Wight Festival.
One of them were 56.
TANNOY: The buffet car is now open.
Today, our special lunch is a deep-fried Stilton parcel ring
with a salsa.
Oh, hi. Aloha.
Enjoy the show? OK.
That's fine stuff right there.
Hang on, move up.
One, two, one and two.
One and two. One and two.
Up...over the stile.
Into the field.
The cat is in the trap.
OK, round two. Heads down.
Oh, the church, the steeple, the spire....