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Kevin originated in 1990 in the "Little Brother" sketches of Harry Enfield's Television Programme as an annoyingly energetic boy who constantly vexed his older brother with his irritating catchphrases and habit of bursting into his room when he was with a girl.
In the first episode of Harry Enfield and Chums (the new name for the show, in November 1994), Kevin, who despite the same name and similar initial manner was actually separate from the earlier character, reached his thirteenth birthday. The sketch showed his parents watching in horror as Kevin lost his sense of dress, courtesy and posture as the clock struck midnight on the day of his thirteenth birthday, thus becoming Kevin the Teenager, one of the most memorable of Enfield's comic creations. Unlike the previous sketches which included an older brother, this incarnation of Kevin was an only child.
As a teenager, wearing a baseball cap the wrong way round and with his red hair flopping over his face, Kevin is rude to his despairing parents, frequently shouting "I hate you, I wish I'd never been born!" at them, and insisting that everything is "so unfair!". In one sketch, when his father asks him to wash his car, Kevin ends up taking the entire day to complete the task due to his inability to get out of bed before noon and an apparent allergy to work, and in another sketch, though wide awake, he made the most primitive of attempts at tidying his room when required to do so. The character is also heavily dictated by peer pressure, and was seen in various other sketches trying to sound like Ali G, or Liam Gallagher.
His best friend is another teenaged boy named Perry Carter (played by the actress Kathy Burke, and based on an early character Burke portrayed on various Channel 4 shows). They starred in a 2000 feature film, Kevin & Perry Go Large.
The sketches suggest that teenage boys are always very polite to all parents except their own. Kevin and Perry heap immense amounts of abuse on their own respective parents (though Perry shouts at his down the phone rather than face to face) yet are very polite to each other's parents. In one sketch, Kevin's plans to host a party go wrong and ends with the house being trashed. Despite his frequent declarations of hatred towards his parents, Kevin ends up crying whilst his long-suffering mother gives him a much needed hug.
Aside from playing video games, Kevin's one aim in life is to lose his virginity, or at least to prove that he has a girlfriend. From boasting about the (imagined) joys of sex to placing the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to his neck to look as though he has received a love bite, he is determined to prove that he has "done it". He eventually does lose his virginity during a drunken party in the final episode of Harry Enfield and Chums. The following morning, he wakes up transformed into a nice, polite and helpful young man. This is however later revealed to be a dream by his mother in the first of the 2 Christmas specials, with Kevin still behaving like before.
Due to Kevin and the other characters in Harry Enfield and Chums' getting positive feedback and statements of the truth behind the writers' observations, the term "Kevin the Teenager" (often shortened to simply a "Kevin"), has entered British vernacular to describe any adolescent who is bad-tempered or rebellious ("He's a right Kevin!"). It can even be applied to female adolescents.
Kevin's father (named Dave in one of the earlier sketches, and later Frank in the movie) has been played by three actors:
When Kevin was "Little Brother", his father was played by Martyn Whitby and his mother was played by Caroline Quentin.
Kevin's mother (named Sheila in one of the earlier sketches), in contrast to Kevin's father, was played by Louisa Rix in both the series and the movie.