In a move that sounds specifically designed to enrage Michael Parkinson, Channel 4 has announced that Facejacker’s Terry Tibbs will soon be recording a chat show pilot called Very Terry to air in August. Which isn’t bad going for someone who doesn’t actually exist.
You see, beneath the cockney wideboy’s gleaming bald head and nicotine-yellow aviators lurks comedian Kayvan Novak, the man of a thousand voices who shot to fame as the mastermind behind Fonejacker and its prosthetically-enhanced sequel.
And while C4 is being cautious with the Tibbs show by producing just one edition for now, if it’s successful the programme could potentially run and run. “It’s a one-off, then we’ll see,” says Novak, who’s presumably already stocking up on sovereign rings and wig glue.
Personally, though, I can’t see how this could go wrong. After all, chat shows hosted by fictional characters have traditionally proven themselves as some of the most entertaining examples of the genre, and Novak’s quick wit should see his programme rise above the predictability and sycophancy of its more legitimate TV cousins. I mean, do you remember…
Mrs Merton: Caroline Aherne’s little old lady wasn’t just a master of the one-liner, but used her floral-printed air of innocence as a ruse to ask her guests questions which would’ve earned other interviewers a slap in the chops, including this classic to Paul Daniels’ wife Debbie McGee:
The Kumars at No. 42: Possibly the only example of chat show by committee, Sanjeev Bhaskar and his fictional family terrorised all manner of guests over their seven series on air, including Stephen Fry, who towers over them all in this clip:
Alan Partridge: Knowing Me, Knowing You should’ve been the big break for north Norfolk’s most famous son, though he ended up blowing it by killing a guest on air. While the show featured fake guests as well as a fictitious host, some of his encounters were uncannily realistic, like this one with East End ‘ard man Alan Ford:
Ali G: While pretty much the whole of Britain had cottoned on to the fact that there might not actually be any West Staines Massiv by the time Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic creation landed his own chat-show, the be-hatted voice of yoof still managed to coax bucket loads of entertainment out of serious guests like John Humphrys.
Larry Sanders: Garry Shandling’s vain, neurotic TV presenter looked alarmingly like the real deal, putting big-name Hollywood celebs into awkward situations on his uber-cheesy chat show, like in this encounter with Alec Baldwin:
Looking forward to the Terry Tibbs talk show? Got a favourite fictitious king of chat? Do let us know in the comments below…
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news