Here is the third and final part of my look back at UK Play.
Podge And Rodge. Two dirty old twin brother puppets tell filthy stories from their bed. I think this was done by the same people as Zig and Zag.
Pop Upstairs Downstairs. Mark and Lard return with a pop trivia game show that has the same format as University Challenge but played for DOUBLE POINTS! Two teams of three faced a starter question for 20 points. If they got it right they then received three supplementary questions (or “suppository questions” as Lard called them) for 10 points each. They then finished off with a quickfire buzzer round. It was good stuff and they always separated the clever people from the halfwits. ReBrand. One of the last shows to be made by UK Play, this was a lively debate show hosted by Russell Brand.
Rock Profile. Probably the best known of the UK Play shows, Jamie Theakston interviews Matt Lucas and David Walliams who play a wide variety of pop and rock stars. Also featuring lots of amusing made-up Rock Facts. A very good show. The Score. A live show about football featuring sketches and reports. Because of course UK Play didn’t have any football coverage the show mainly consisted of taking some calls and reading out some results. The Sound Of Play. A fairly straightforward music video show, although it was a little more alternative than MTV with some indie/rock videos being played among the pop ones and you never knew what would be next. Oh look, it’s the new video from Gay Dad! Because I was around 15-18 when UK Play aired I was interested in chart music a lot so I watched this frequently. There were also spinoffs looking at specific years or genres such as The Sound Of 1989 or The Sound Of Disco. Swivel On The Tip. One of my favourites, a comedy show that was a parody of “Yoof TV”, characters called “Hoxton Finn” and the like. Only really notable now because some of the cast went on to bigger things, including Nicholas “Nathan Barley” Burns, Kathryn “Two Pints Of Lager” Drysdale and Emily “Bits” Booth. Tenuous Links. Mark and Lard again. This time they introduce some music videos and you have to spot the connections between the songs. TOTP Plus. Not too much of an extension of Top Of The Pops, it was just a show that played some music videos of songs currently in the top 20 plus repeating a few performances from the TOTP studio.
Unnovations. A show that was a parody of shopping channels, a easy target probably but it did well. It also guest starred some bloke who used to be in The Bill and it was made by the same production company as TvGoHome which was on E4 around the same time. Vic Reeves Examines. Jim looks at a different subject every week with help from a celebrity. I remember a particularly good one when Johnny Vegas introduced Vic to the world of pottery.
Two extra notes:
Other programming. As well as repeating a lot of BBC2-type comedy which I might reflect on in another article soon, UK Play also occasionally showed cult children’s TV shows including Camberwick Green and Trumpton.
Continuity. When I first saw UK Play all the announcements were made by the same woman and it took me a while to realise that they must have been pre-recorded. Curiously, UK Play was renamed Play UK in November 2000 but it made little difference. Due to poor ratings and the collapse of ITV Digital it closed in September 2002. A great shame, but they put a lot of effort into making some good shows despite the tiny viewing figures. I hope you have enjoyed this look back at this great but obscure channel.