Live & Kicking (CBBC, 1993-2001)
After the success of Going Live!, CBBC launched a new Saturday Morning show in 1993 with a similar format. Just like Phillip Schofield before him, Andi Peters was promoted from the broom cupboard to become one of the main hosts. He was joined by Emma Forbes, who was also familiar to viewers having hosted some features on Going Live! Alongside them was John Barrowman, but his role was reduced after a while as his acting career began to take off.
Comedy duo Trevor and Simon were also kept on and provided some new characters and sketches, including the funny chat show spoof Meet Someone, also reviewing the latest records at the end of the show with celebrity guests, and constantly telling people that they don’t do duvets.
There was also a floating computer-generated cat head thing called Ratz who always enjoyed talking to the presenters. I presume they hoped that he would become the new Gordon The Gopher but he vanished after the first series, and he was replaced by some leprechaun puppets called Sage and Onion.
Like & Kicking had all the usual features such as computer games reviews, showbiz news, cartoons including Rugrats, competitions with big prizes and star interviews. Run The Risk also continued and every pop group wanted to be on the show, with Take That seemingly appearing every week at one point. A magazine was also published that was popular although I never bought it myself.
The show carried on like this for a while until the end of the third series when Andi and Emma both left. They were replaced by two presenters who were already familiar to CBBC viewers, Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston from The O Zone. They were popular, and a few more changes were made to the show as the series went by, such as a spin-off shown on Friday afternoons and Trevor and Simon leaving in 1997.
At the end of the sixth series both Ball and Theakston left. Somewhat surprisingly, the show did return for a seventh series, making Like & Kicking the first CBBC Saturday Morning show to go beyond six years. Another new presenter duo were introduced, Steve Wilson and Emma Ledden who was also a presenter on MTV at the time. The format was beginning to tire a little by this point though, and the show was now regularly beaten in the ratings by CITV. Even ideas such as hiring Mr Blobby, who even Noel’s House Party had become tired of using by this point, to cause chaos made little difference.
But it still wasn’t over. There was an eighth series, with yet more features and new presenters including Katy Hill who had just left Blue Peter and Sarah Cawood. It had become something of a mess by this point though, with the final editions seemingly presented by whoever has around and it finally all ended with a whimper in 2001. It is a shame that the show had such a disappointing end, maybe they should’ve ended it a few years earlier, but at its peak it did win some awards and like many people I did enjoy watching the early years.