UK, BBC, Impressionism, Colour, 1985
Starring: Phil Cool
Hard-working cabaret star Phil Cool had appeared in the new talent show Rock With Laughter in 1980 and as one of the regulars on Saturday Stayback in 1983, but he fully realised his potential in these series for BBC2. Cool had been championed by comedian Jasper Carrott, who was so impressed by the impressionist in cabaret that he took an active hand in furthering his career: Carrott acted as associate producer on the first series of Cool It and co-wrote the scripts for the second. His faith was justified: Cool was an amazing talent.Whereas there were 'alternative comedians', Cool was an alternative impressionist. Sure, he did impersonations of the famous (Roy Hattersley, Mick Jagger etc) but he combined this with a far more eclectic mix of characters including Rolf Harris, Quasimodo, Rowan Atkinson, ET, the Pope and Rik Mayall. And these weren't just vocal impressions but fully fledged facial expressions, with Cool able to contort his features into a caricature semblance of the intended victim. Sometimes so uncanny was this facial transformation that he didn't need traditional sketch material to go with it and could rely solely upon the power of the transformation. The shows tipped into the realms of surrealism when Cool took his act even further, impersonating animals, cartoon characters and inanimate objects such as motor cars, inventing different personalities for Datsuns and Volkswagens.
Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.
Number of episodes: 14
Length: 11 � 30 mins � 3 � 25 mins