Kevin’s gone from TV star to warm-up man ... but That’s Life!
He’s worked with celebs including Fearne Cotton, Anton Du Beke, Ronan Keating, Lorraine Kelly and even heavyweight broad- casters David Dimbleby and John Humphrys.
And Glasgow-born John Barrowman is the latest star to join Kevin Devine in the city to record his BBC1 Saturday night show Tonight’s the Night.
But Kevin’s not a producer or presenter -- he’s the warm- up man.
It’s his job to whip the audience up into a clapping and screaming frenzy ahead of the recordings of shows at BBC Scotland including Children in Need, Mastermind and Hole in the Wall.
Kevin, 46, tells jokes, makes fun of unfortunate members of the crowd and generally ensures the audience look like they’re having the best Saturday night of their lives, even if it’s a rainy Sunday afternoon on the banks of the Clyde.
He said: "When they come into the studio they’re maybe a bit intimidated, overawed, excited about maybe meeting the stars. It’s my job to relax them.
"I worked out that on Saturday night television I’ve warmed up at least one show every week for the whole year!
"It started 11 or 12 years ago. A producer friend of mine was producing an antiques show called Going, Going Gone.
"I’d just started doing stand-up and he asked me in to do warm-up at STV. They commissioned a second series and I ended up doing that, and that was it."
Some warm-up men -- who usually have a background in comedy --- have become stars themselves.
Comedian of the moment, Liverpudlian John Bishop, once worked the crowd ahead of the Jonathan Ross show, as did Alan Carr, and both later made it to the sofa as a guest. Michael Barrymore also started off doing the job.
But Kevin has done it the other way round.
He’s the caravan salesman from East Kilbride who shot to fame 20 years ago after winning a job co-hosting one of the nation’s favourite programmes.
It was 1991 when he triumphed in one of the first telly talent contests, to find a new co-presenter for national institution That’s Life on BBC1 alongside Esther Ranzen.
More than 100,000 viewers voted the fresh-faced 26-year-old as the winner.
Despite having no broadcasting experience, he’d been determined from the start, queuing all night in London to be in front of 2000 others all hoping for a shot at stardom.
Overnight his life, which until then had included dropping out of college and working at the Centre 1 tax centre in East Kilbride and later selling caravans at Port Seton near Edinburgh, was transformed.
He said: "I loved television and I kept thinking ‘I think I might be able to do that’ but I couldn’t work out how to get there.
"I heard about the competition and I thought, well, somebody’s got to win it!
"I phoned the show and they said ‘We expect people to start queuing tonight’. So I booked the sleeper, got down there … and there was no-one there. But I think that put me in good stead. Esther wanted to interview me, and those things nudge you forward."
After seven weeks of heats, Kevin won the final with 35% of the vote, and swapped caravans for TV cameras.
He said: "When I walked into the studio it was like coming home. It was phenomenal.
"Esther said to me she’d never seen anyone go to being famous overnight like that -- but nowadays it happens all the time. "I was given good advice -- don’t change. And I think I did alright."
Kevin interviewed talented kids, doorstepped criminals and even became the undercover reporter on the programme, which mixed consumer issues with comical features (including rudely shaped vegetables and a ‘talking’ dog).
He even dodged death when an unscrupulous "car chopper" tried to run him over.
The show’s irreverent style is said to have influenced programmes like Top Gear -- and even gave Simon Cowell the idea for X Factor.
Kevin who is back living in East Kilbride, said: "We did a competition to find a singing star and Simon Cowell was the musical adviser.
"He has admitted to Esther that’s where he got it from."
But despite the fact it attracted up to 12 million viewers, That’s Life was axed in 1994 after 21 years on the box.
Kevin’s dream was over. He was dumped by his agent and even appealed for a new job in the Evening Times. And though he’s done corporate work and even panto, he’s never landed another telly presenting role.
At one time he even worked as resident DJ at a nightclub in Coatbridge.
But now, with his own production company, a voice over firm called JoxVox and a radio slot on Westsound in Dumfries and Ayr, Kevin says he’s happy just to be working on the industry.
And he still sometimes get one-up on the stars, like when he warmed up for Dale Winton’s In It To Win It quiz in Glasgow.
Kevin said: "Dale was in the queue for the That’s Life job. He said ‘you beat me for that job and I so wanted it!
He never even got past the first stage!"