Wednesday 13 December 2017

Brian Pern died because I ran out of ideas, says creator

By Francesca Gosling

It’s time for Brian to go, but not without a proper send-off.

The creator of TV’s aged fictional rock star Brian Pern has said he killed off the character because he had simply run out of ideas to take his story further.

Rhys Thomas began work on a star-studded tribute programme for the former Thotch band member after reading a review that suggested the mockumentary series was getting tired.

Brian Pern: A Tribute airs tonight following the star’s untimely death involving a Segway and a cliff edge.

“There would always have been an opening to go back,” Rhys said, “but we have taken it as far as we can go and we were running out of ideas.

“Then I read a review about the show that said it was beginning to wear a bit thin.”

He described the special broadcast as a spoof of the media’s quick reaction to celebrity deaths, creating rushed documentaries with tributes from “talking heads”.

After a three-series run of The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern on BBC Four, the demise of the rockstar (played by Simon Day) appears to follow on from the string of unexpected star deaths last year.

“We actually started on the idea before all that happened, so it accidentally became very topical,” Rhys continued.

“For our last series in January 2016, we had already featured a clip of Bowie and we also starred Rick Parfitt, so it was devastating when we lost him, and we always wanted to have George Michael on the show.”

The series followed the later years of Brian, embarking on hair-brained ideas for musical and charity projects as his career in the limelight wound down.

Stars such as Phil Collins, Monty Don, Nigel Havers, Paul Whitehouse and David Baddiel will pay their respects on the special tribute programme.

Phil’s role – which appears to be a cover to promote his autobiography Not Dead Yet – is a particularly ironic one as the series was originally influenced by his previous band, Genesis.

Rhys said that Brian’s lovable, eccentric character was inspired by a combination of stars such as Peter Gabriel and Brian May.

“There are all these intelligent and talented men who you don’t see so much of when then play in a band, and then there are the archetypal rock stars.

“Brian Pern and Thotch were like every single band in one.”

But while the commemorative final episode may spell the end of Brian, Rhys said that he had plans to work with the same team on new projects, including a Review Of The Year show for 2017.

Brian Pern: A Tribute airs on BBC Four at 10pm on Wednesday, followed by Brian Pern At The BBC at 10.40pm, which will look back at Thotch’s greatest hits.

Press Association

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