BBC Choice was a channel that ran from September 1998 to February 2003. It was the BBC’s second new channel following the launch of News 24 in 1997. The channel actually launched before the digital equipment that would recieve it was available, so the first week of programming could only be watched online. Some of the shows were even in widescreen and everything!
Like with UK Play, BBC Choice was a channel that I watched a lot in the OnDigital days and was a part of my teenage years. I’m going to bring you details of 36 shows that appeared on the channel, most of them I remember watching myself. Remember this isn’t a comprehensive list of the history of BBC Choice. There actually was a site many years ago that did list everything that they showed but unfortunately it’s long since closed. Here’s the first dozen then…
Bob Monkhouse’s DIY Film Show. Bob introduces various short films made by amateur directors.
Breakers. A soap that ran in Australia from 1998 to 1999 and featured the lives of young people who worked at a modelling school. Needless to say, it didn’t have the same impact as the likes of Neighbours.
CBBC On Choice. A three-hour daytime strand that was looped and shown four times a day featuring some pre-recorded continuity into various children’s shows. Curiously, just about everything they showed was about a decade old at the time so I enjoyed watching as it brought back memories of watching CBBC in the late-80s/early-90s. Shows dusted off from the archive included Bitsa, Caterpillar Trail, Superbods, Model Millie, ChuckleVision, Radio Roo, Playdays, Bodger And Badger, Monster Cafe, Simon And The Witch, Green Claws, and many more. After a while, the slot was split in 2002 when the CBBC Channel launched, meaning that from then on BBC Choice started at 7pm.
Diners. A show where we eavesdropped on celebrity conversations in a restaurant. Give them all a bottle or two and watch them go, and there’s a programme for you.
Dominik Diamond Meets. The ex-Gamesmaster presenter interviewed various stars from the sporting world in his quirky style.
Ed Stone Is Dead. A 13-part sitcom where Richard Blackwood plays Ed who is killed and then comes back to life. And guess what, his wacky housemates can’t believe it. There was also a running gag about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. There were guest appearances too from various comic actors including Johnny Vegas and Robert Webb. Also shown on the long-gone children’s channel Trouble.
45 Minutes. A show about football hosted by the likes of Joe Mace and the bloke who used to be in M People who interviewed the top Premier League footballers of the day. Was actually a 30-minute long show, oddly.
Good Evening Rockall. A late-night topical current affairs discussion show hosted Lauren Laverne and Sue Perkins among others.
Hotlinks. The entertainment guide hosted by the cyber infomaniac search engine known as Nomy. Every episode was 15 minutes long and she would tell you everything you needed to know about the latest music, films and so on. Even though it only ran for six months, I would go so far as to say that this was my favourite BBC Choice show. I really liked the idea of it and how it was made, the music and graphics were great, for the year 2000 at least. I can’t believe it was 15 years ago now.