The Brian Conley Show

The Brian Conley Show
The Brian Conley Show
Format Comedy
Presented by Brian Conley
Starring Fern Britton (1992-1993)
John Sachs (1993-1995)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 29 (including two specials)
Producer(s) LWT
Running time 30 min (1992-1993)
45 min (1994-1995)
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original run February 22, 1992 – July 22, 1995

The Brian Conley Show was a comedy variety show starring Brian Conley, consisting of comedy sketches, and music. The show was commissioned following Conley's last successful comedy series, Brian Conley: This Way Up. The show lasted for four series until Conley left television work, however a live special was shown a year after the series ended, and a Christmas special aired a year after that. Shows were broadcast Saturdays on ITV between 1992 to 1995. Repeats began to show a few years later on the now defunct Granada Plus, though episodes stopped showing on the channel a few years before it closed.


Sketch characters

Nick Frisbee and Larry The Loafer

Throughout its lifespan, The Brian Conley Show introduced trademark sketch characters. The most famous probably being a spoof children's in-vision continuity presenter, Nick Frisbee, and his puppet sidekick, Larry The Loafer, a mock on the BBC Saturday morning show Going Live's puppet Gordon the Gopher. Nick wasn't suited for children's television presenting, most notably for the constant pain he caused Larry by hitting him with a club, leaving Larry shaking and squeaking in pain. When the audience "aww"ed, Nick would reply "It's A Puppet!", which became Conley's catchphrase, even when out of character. The sketch usually opened with the music to Pop Goes The Weasel and Nick introducing himself, and Larry. Nick and Larry originally appeared in "This Way Up", though the set was very different, and Nick had longer hair. The club wasn't introduced until Series Three, before Brian relied on various other accessories, including a megaphone.

Larry was operated by Ray Tizzard, who would later go on to work with Joe Pasquale on his live shows, as well as appearing as his fictional brother Raynard on a later incarnation of The Price is Right.

"Dangerous Brian" Conley

Another character of Conley's was his dangerous alter-ego, "Dangerous Brian" Conley. The mock gladiator would wear an all silver suit with blue swimming cap-like headwear. He also wore fake ears in which when he mentions himself being dangerous, a close-up shot would see him pulling random faces quickly with his ears wiggling. In the first two series, his "stunts" were performed on stage. After series three, all sketches were filmed on location, allowing Conley to perform more outrageous stunts. Examples of these stunts include holding back two buses, when they were actually put in reverse and squashed him, knocking at a vampire's house which turns out to be Lionel Blair looking after the house, and climbing Nelson's Column. From the second series, Gladiators commentator John Sachs usually reported the stunts taking place.

Dangerous was known for being involved with the Gladiators. The show featured in two sketches, including one where Brian and Wolf ran the Eliminator. In 1994, as a repayment, Brian was invited to the Gladiators live show in Wembley, where Dangerous appeared as a new Gladiator, "Ferret". [1]

Septic Peg

In series four, soon after televised National Lottery draws began, Conley created "Septic Peg", a mock on Mystic Meg who featured in the original Lottery show. Entitled "Septic Peg Predicts", Conley would be dressed in an all blue, shiny dress wearing a black shoulder length hair wig. She was supposed to predict the future, though predicted the most obvious things, if not, anything. An example would be Septic Peg saying "I see the winner of the lottery this week being a man.... or a woman", followed by "they will be celebrating a birthday.... this year. I see the lucky person's name, beginning with "A".... letter of the alphabet". Septic Peg was known for her hilarious face pulling into camera, mostly when she introduced herself as "seeeptic peeeehhhg". Her predictions backfired on one occasion, when she reported that the zodiac would let many people down. The Gladiator Zodiac then appeared and hit her with a pugil stick, remarking 'Bet you didn't see that coming!'

Conley's Car Boot Quiz

Conley introduced a new item in series three, which was a game show called "Conley's Car Boot Quiz" where members of the public could win over £1000, or as Brian says, "one, faaaazand, paaaahnds". Conley would be filmed on location asking various people if they wanted to play, and mostly involved people not knowing who he was. When two people were chosen, they were given various impressions to identify which were performed by Jake, an all gold robot from the year 3003 and was able to perform thousands of voices. After Jake performed the impression, the contestants would have to look through a car boot to find an item relating to the person Jake impersonated. The first person to return with the correct prop, Brian would give trivia about the person to the contestant, and had to say whether the trivia was a Fact (True) or a Fib (False). Guessing correctly won them £50. After four impressions, the winner with the most money would move on to the next stage of the game.

In the next stage of the game, Brian would name a celebrity to the contestant and have to shout out a word relating to the person.

Examples include..

The contestant won £100 for every one they guessed correctly. Seeming a tricky game, Brian would often help them with clues. One example being Tom Jones (the answer being "Pussycat, referring to his hit "What's New Pussycat"), Brian would sing "What's new.." to help them. If his clues failed he would simply show the answer to the contestant.

Series Variations

Series One and Two (1992/1993)

Series One was recorded in the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, and directed by Nigel Lythgoe, who worked for other LWT hits like Gladiators and Strike It Rich The set was generally a very large space decorated in joined black and white diamonds with a band playing behind the act. The series consisted of Brian singing a song, and other various acts. Nick Frisbee's set would be rolled in onto the stage as assistants helped Brian dress as Nick. Series Two was generally the same, and all shows ended with Brian singing, what seems to be, a trademark finale with the song Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)., which was dropped by series four. Dangerous Brian's sketches were performed on the same stage as everything else, therefore limiting the amount of stunts Brian can perform. The second series also saw the introduction of John Sachs in Dangerous Brian sketches.

Short clips from these two series' were used as the titles for the next two series'.

Series Three and Four (1994/1995)

Series Three saw new titles, and a new set in The London Studios. The show would start with Brian singing, and doing some stand-up. He would then walk over to a spectacular rotating set for three continuous sketches. The set spun around on cue for Brian to perform each sketch. Each sketch lasted approx 1-3 minutes. After these, Brian would introduce a special guest, often consisting of some sort of showman or magician. Following this would be Dangerous Brian's sketch, entitled "The Amazing Adventures of Dangerous Brian", and were filmed on location, expanding Brian's possibilities of what he can perform. This was followed immediately by Nick Frisbee and Larry The Loafer, who span around on the rotating sketch stage. Having more time for Brian to get into character, his costume didn't seem as rushed as what it did in the previous two series in which he dressed within ten seconds in front of camera. After the break, Brian would introduce a musical guest, followed by Conley's Car Boot Quiz. Following the game, Brian would go behind the railings of the stage, and remove his blue blazer to perform music on stage, were the Car Boot Quiz set disappeared. These musical performances were usually comedy-themed with an in-joke or comedic theme. After this, the credits rolled.

Series Four was very similar, however a the order of items in the show changed. After the special guest after the three short sketches, followed by Nick Frisbee and Larry The Loafer, who would inform the audience that Septic Peg, Dangerous Brian and a musical guest would follow after the break. Septic Peg appeared immediately after the break, followed by a musical guest and then Dangerous Brian, followed by the musical finale. These music performances weren't as comedic as the previous series but were more active, longer, and included more dancers and performers. Conley's Car Boot Quiz did not make the fourth series.

The eighth and final episode of Series Four was a Christmas special, although all the episodes, including this one, were aired during June and July. The Christmas special aired on July 22, 1995, leading some continuity announcers to make light of this. For example, in the ITV Anglia region, the announcer said Brian is "having problems with his calendar...".


Brian Conley: Alive and Extra Dangerous

In 1996, following the end of The Brian Conley Show the year before, Brian performed a live show lasting for an hour and broadcast on ITV. The show included extended exclusive sketches from Septic Peg, Nick and Larry, and Dangerous Brian. The show included a lot more music and a lot more stand-up as well, including audience participation. Brian also performed his award-winning performance of Al Jolson at the end of the show. A DVD of the live show was released by Universal in 2001 with 30 minutes more material, and outtakes. This was to be the only ever home release of any television work related to The Brian Conley Show, let alone Brian's work altogether, except for a VHS release of The Grimleys. The DVD, however, is no longer in production.

Brian Conley’s Crazy Christmas

Broadcast December 23, 1997, this Christmas special involved stand-up, which was interspersed with sketches that were introduced via the device of an elderly couple (Conley and Suzy Aitchison) watching the show at home and occasionally using the remote control to change channels. Special Nick Frisbee and Septic Peg sketches were included, one with Nick being the manager of "Telly-Bellies", a mock on Teletubbies.

2000 Revival

The Brian Conley Show
Format Comedy
Starring Brian Conley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Producer(s) Thames Television
Running time 60 min per episode?
Original channel ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original run 18 March 2000 – 3 August 2002

The show's title was revived in 2000, but was now given to a comedy-chat show format rather than the comedy variety format from five years earlier. The show came only a few months after Conley's successful role as the host and compere of the 1999 Royal Variety Performance.

The show was known for its A-List Hollywood guests, like James Belushi, Leslie Nielsen and Kathleen Turner appearing on the show. Other guests included Ulrika Jonsson, Patsy Palmer and John Hannah. It also featured strange guests like a boneless man and a juggling fly, which were more unusual and extreme compared to the previous show. There were also some mini-sketches featured, including Brian helping a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? where all four answers to the question were "Brian Conley," yet managed to answer the question incorrectly.

Although the show lasted for three series, many fans were unhappy that it hardly matched to the original 90s series. None of Brian's sketch characters featured on the show, as it focused more on chat rather than comedy and variety.

External links

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