Fully Booked (CBBC, 1995-2000)
This show mostly aired on Sundays, but the first and last series did air on Saturdays so I’m going to include it here. When Fully Booked launched, someone clearly thought, we need a gimmick to make it stand out. Do we set it on a spaceship? Already been done. A superstore? That’s been done too. How about a hotel, yes, what a great idea!
The first series was shown on BBC1, came live from Glasgow and was hosted by Grant Stott, the bloke off Blue Peter‘s brother, and Zoe Ball. They clearly thought that like most children’s TV shows they needed an annoying puppet too, so Morag The Cow filled that slot, supposedly being the receptionist of the hotel and having awkward comedy moments with the celebrity guests.
There was also some other guy who played various comedy characters including the oh-so amusing Alistair McAlistair, who hosted a feature called The End Of The Show Show, where everyone took part in a big comedy game. This is a highly original feature that has never been done by anyone on any other entertainment show ever.
The format of the show changed rather a lot over the years. Although of course there were lots of cartoons and all the latest young person’s popular beat combos taking part to perform their latest hot waxing and getting their five minutes of fame throughout the whole of the run, the presenters lineup and style was often fiddled about with.
After the first series Zoe left to join Live & Kicking, so for the second series she was replaced by Lou Carpenter’s daughter off Neighbours for some reason. The show also moved to Sunday Mornings on BBC2 and was now pre-recorded. This was how the show continued until the end of the third series.
For the fourth series, the show was completely changed, with a new look and new presenters, and was live again. So we said goodbye to the hotel, Morag, Alastair, Grant and the rest who were replaced by Chris Jarvis, Tim Vincent off Blue Peter, and Gail Porter. This meant that the “Fully Booked” title now meant nothing but there were still a lot of fun features and the show was now live again, and this format continued into a fifth series.
Now just because the format of the show has completely changed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t completely change it again and move it even further away from its original idea. The sixth and final series returned to BBC1, extended to a whopping three hours long, and was now called FBI which was short for Fully Booked Interactive, because by now it was the year 2000 and viewers could email the show and everything, isn’t technology incredible. There was also yet another new presenter lineup, with Kate Heavenor, Vernon Kay, and the bloke off Boyzone now in charge.
By the end of this series someone finally released how out of hand this was all getting and the Fully Booked name was finally put to rest. Although I did enjoy watching the earlier series, it is strange, even when considering they were made five years apart, how different the first and last series were.