In his book Rik Mayall: Bigger Than Hitler Better Than Christ, Rik tells the rather remarkable story of how he came up with the character of Kevin Turvey.
Someone had asked me to an audition … I didn’t realise that you were supposed to have prepared something to perform so they could see if you were any good … on the spot I invented a character … his name was Kevin Turvey.page 51
That’s a truncated version of a story he told more contemporaneously in 1984, while giving an interview to the Reading Evening Post on the 31st March.
Here’s the relevant bit:
Some years ago he was asked to film a pilot show for Granada Television with fellow comedian Alexei Sayle … he was uncertain about when filming was to take place and when he phoned Alexei, was horrified to learn it was the following day. ‘I didn’t know what to do and as we were sitting on the train the next day I had a blank notebook while Alexei had reams of brilliant material. So in the end, I went in to the studio, put on a Brummie accent and talked about nothing.
Simon Mares seems to mistake a screen test for the actual studio recording of the show, and Rik himself seems to conflate There’s Nothing To Worry About (which later became Alfresco), which he was also asked to work on at the same time. But the fact remains, Turvey came out of nowhere, at short notice, almost entirely fully formed. It was producer Sean Hardie who suggested the Investigates format, and the other producer Tom Gutteridge who went out and bought the blue anorak for Kevin to wear.
Just as interesting, and rather intriguingly, the producers were clearly considering Alexei Sayle for a part in A Kick Up The Eighties too.