On December 1, 1976, one television host’s career was ruined just as a band’s was being launched. When Queen were suddenly unavailable to visit London’s Today show with Bill Grundy, the Sex Pistols were subbed in. But as band guru Malcolm McLaren later explained, “We all gathered in the green room and drank ourselves stupid [before the appearance].” Seconds into the live, unedited broadcast, Steve Jones dropped the f-bomb. Then Johnny Rotten said “shit.” Grundy wasn’t impressed, so he began to antagonize the band, and at one point hit on Siouxsie Sioux, who was there as a member of their entourage. The host never recovered from the backlash, and the Pistols became a household name — the anti-heroes of the new punk movement.
But they weren’t much for suspenders, beards and wide-brim hats. Confusing as it might be, the clip above is not actually the original footage. Okay, that’s pretty obvious, but English comedian Kevin Eldon and his crew have done such an incredible job recreating the scene that one almost forgets they’re decked out head-to-toe in Amish duds. They nailed the set, the dialog, the quality of the video and the sound — even the movements of the band and their friends. The sketch aired as part of Eldon’s new show, It’s Kevin, which just launched on BBC Two. As an actor, he’s best known for appearing in just about every important British TV comedy series of his day. At 53, he’s finally got his own show. Read the Guardian’s interview for more.
Below you’ll find the source material for Eldon’s short, and a word from McLaren, printed in the Guardian in 2007 three years before his death: “As simple and harmless as it seems today, that interview was a pivotal moment that changed everything. Punk became the most important cultural phenomenon of the late 20th century. Its authenticity stands out against the karaoke ersatz culture of today, where everything and everyone is for sale. Punk’s influence on music, movies, art, design and fashion is no longer in doubt. It is used as the measurement for what is cool. And we all know you cannot sell anything today if it is not cool. The only problem is that punk is not, and never was, for sale.”