The Damned's Captain Sensible once invited The BBC to his parents' house and played a song to his rabbit

Captain Sensible on The BBC's Sixty Minutes
(Image credit: BBC Archive)

In October 1983, The Damned's guitarist Captain Sensible was primed to release his second solo album, The Power of Love. 

The album was the follow-up to the previous year's Women and Captains First, a collection buoyed by the extraordinary success of Sensible's cover of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Happy Talk, an unlikely chart-topper in July 1982. So with the good Captain now an equally unlikely pop star, the BBC came to visit. 

In a clip just published by the BBC Archive, the recently launched Sixty Minutes show travels to Croydon in South London, where Sensible (real name Ray Burns) lives with his parents and girlfriend. It all starts innocently enough, with The Damned man – resplendent in trademark hooped jumper and red beret – explaining how he came up with his stage name. 

"When we first started The Damned, at the first gigs I ever did we were supplied with huge amounts of alcohol," says Sensible. "And because I had to buy them before, I was pouring it all down my throat, and consequently you don't behave that sensibly. 

"It [the name] is sort of the opposite really of what I was behaving like. It's a good name. It's better than Ray Burns."

Things then start to get a little surreal, as Sensible reveals that he road-tests new songs by playing them to his pet rabbit (who appears to go by the name 'Rabbit'), and then proceeds to do just that, performing a song that may or may not be called Rabbit Hutch Blues for the baffled bunny.    

"Good, innit?" Sensible asks the rabbit.

The camera then cuts back inside, where Sensible, for some reason, is discussing nudity.  

"I don't think it's outrageous to tap dance on a table or to take your clothes off," he elucidates. "I think it's quite an ordinary thing, really. I'm not ashamed of my body, you know. Human bodies are great, you know. You know, when it's really hot and the sun shines I don't see why people got to cover themselves up with clothes.

"You know, it's just stupid. Adam and Eve are to blame for it."

The segment finishes with Sensible talking about the difficulties his solo career creates for The Damned, before going on to explain the inspiration behind his "new hit single" I'm A Spider, referencing then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, American economist and statistician Milton Friedman, and 14th century Scottish King Robert the Bruce.

I'm A Spider subsequently failed to trouble the charts, but Sensible wasn't disheartened, and quickly returned to the Top 10 with Glad It's All Over, a pointed commentary about The Falklands War, backed with a Stars-On-45 style medley of Damned hits.  

The Damned's new album Darkadelic is out now. As far as we know, Rabbit Hutch Blues was never recorded. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.