The Brits: 20 years since Jarvis took on Jacko

Jarvis Cocker on stage - in 2012 (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)Jarvis Cocker on stage - in 2012 (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Jarvis Cocker on stage - in 2012 (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
With the 27th Brit Awards ceremony taking place this Wednesday, we look forward to, and back on, the event.

Among the favourites are Justin Bieber, Little Mix, James Bay, Jess Glynne, The Weeknd, Coldplay and Rihanna - all vying with Adele - a Brits regular, and who is responsible for one of the event’s many controversial moments. In 2012 the Cockney songstress flicked ‘the finger’ in front of millions of TV viewers following her acceptance speech being cut short.

It’s pieces of TV magic like that which mean many viewers will tune in hoping for some unscheduled non-musical action, be it comedic, political or just generally jaw-dropping.

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And The Brits has long been the source for some of TV’s greatest clips. Who can forget the moment in 1998 when Chumbawamba’s Danbert Nobacon emptied a ice bucket over the head of Labour politician John Prescott?

Or 1989’s presenters Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood, as much the Odd Couple as the Little and Large of presenting talent, their stewardship of the event leading to a car crash of missed cues and cock-ups such as Boy George arriving onstage instead of the Four Tops.

And, The KLF’s 1992 appearance, who, when booked to open the show to mark their award as Best Group, ‘remixed’ ‘3 a.m. Eternal’ with grindcore act Extreme Noise Terror (the duo also fired a machine gun over the heads of the audience and later dumped a dead sheep on the steps of the afterparty).

But perhaps the most memorable incident to befell a Brits ceremony took place 20 years ago, when Jarvis Cocker upstaged Michael Jackson with a ‘protest’ which involved the Pulp frontman wandering onstage during Jacko’s theatrical performance of ‘Earth Song’. After walking around a little, waggling his posterior and making a wafting gesture, and then threatening to remove his top, he rushed offstage.

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Cocker was then rushed to a police station and questioned there until 3am on charges of allegedly “assaulting some kids”.

Friends rallied around the beleaguered and baffled indie popster - Bob Mortimer, a solicitor by trade, offered to take on his case, while Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey of TV sitcom Men Behaving Badly started a 'Free Jarvis' campaign outside.