Andy Howells chats to Bad Manners’ frontman Buster Bloodvessel about been parodied by a comedy great – Ronnie Barker!
Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, The Two Ronnies were a regular fixture on UK television between 1971 and 1987 and along with Morecambe and Wise their TV specials became one of the essential must-see light entertainment shows over the Christmas season.
The 1982 special holds particularly fond memories for Buster Bloodvessel, frontman of London Ska band Bad Manners whose hits in the early 1980s included Special Brew, Walking In The Sunshine and Can-Can. The special featured a musical parody of the weekly chart show Top of The Pops entitled Top of The Flops. Three chart acts of the era were parodied including The Two Ronnies as Chas and Dave, Ronnie Corbett as Adam Ant and Ronnie Barker as Buster and his band Bad Manners.
Buster remembers the sketch which featured Ronnie as Buster Gut parodying the band with the song Bad Habits as “Very special”. Buster, who is famed for his eccentric stage persona recalls learning of The Two Ronnies send-up while Bad Manners were filming an appearance on Top of The Pops. “I knew it was going to happen, but we knew nothing more than that, except for when the producer said “You’re going to love it when you see Ronnie Barker doing you.””
Buster continues, “When it came to The Two Ronnies Christmas show, I was at home on my bed watching TV when it came on. I was caught there and then!”
“ I just fell into shock and fell straight off the bed,” says Buster, “it was with laughter more than anything else and I just couldn’t believe he (Ronnie Barker) had spent all that time and effort. It wasn’t just me he copied, he’d copied the whole band to perfection, a very hard thing to do. It was nonsensical, it didn’t make sense to anybody else except for us and he’d made sense of it and I thought,”what a clever, clever man!””
Bad Manners celebrated their fortieth anniversary this year and Buster is looking forward to 2017 with a view to producing new material in his new studio. “I hope to lock myself away and come up with some real stupid stuff,” he laughs, “At the moment, I don’t know of anything that’s having fun in the charts and I want to challenge that.”