Caught In The Act (BBC1, 1992)
In 1990, ITV launched You’ve Been Framed, a show which featured a lot of what were always called “home video howlers”. BBC1 decided that they wanted to do a show like this, so a couple of years later they launched Caught In The Act which had practically the same idea. It was hosted by Shane Richie in one of his earliest TV presenting roles, fully a decade before he landed his dream part of playing a barrowboy in EastEnders.
The format would be that every week Shane would firstly introduce some “camcorder calamities” from around the world, and then he would have a stilted conversation with a reporter in a particular country who would introduce some more clips from where they were. All of these clips were accompanied by daft slide whistle and trumpet noises. Do this four times.
Then there would be another segment where Shane introduced three contestants from various parts of the UK who had sent in a video. The studio audience then had to press their buttons to determine which one they thought was the funniest. The winner would get a cash prize, an editing suite, and a place in the final. Do this three times.
In the final, the studio audience voted again on what they thought was the funniest clip overall. The winner got the star prize. It varied in each episode, but it was often a holiday or even a double-decker video recorder!
Then at the end Shane told us if we’ve got a funny video that we should dial the number and we could appear in a future episode, but don’t be too hasty because the show wasn’t much of a success and never returned.
I remember reading some strange things about this show. Firstly, the foreign presenters weren’t even coming live from the country they were supposed to be in, they were just in a different part of the studio in front of a blue screen showing an image of where they were supposed to be. Also, they were just some random actors not even from where they said they were from so the French correspondent for example might have just been some bloke putting on the accent.
I also read that all the shows had been wiped which I find hard to believe for material from that era, but if they have then because I recorded a few episodes I might have the only remaining copy. Finally, I read that Shane is now rather embarrassed about hosting this show and thought it was rubbish. Now that one I can believe. I did enjoy it though.
Although Caught In The Act only lasted for one series, You’ve Been Framed continues to this day nearly 25 years after it launched, showing that there is still a market for shows featuring people falling over.