The 100 Greatest TV Adverts (Channel 4, 2000)
A long time ago back in the early-2000s (it’s very odd to think of the early-2000s as “a long time ago” now but that’s another story) there was a brief craze for shows on Channel 4 looking back at various things compiled into Top 100 lists. These shows aimed to determine the greatest in genres including pop music, news, sport, comedy, and so on, and viewers were encouraged to vote for their favourites (I’m fairly sure that I voted in one or two myself). They also did one about TV adverts, and what with this blog being about nostalgia and me being an old adverts fan, you’d think that I’d be all over this one, right?
Well yes, I do remember watching this show at the time and being very interested in it. The reason that these list shows briefly became popular was because they wanted to cause debate with viewers who were keen to see where their favourites ended up (and causing lots of frustrated “it can’t believe that was only at Number 36 on the list, it was great”-type moments), and because they seemed to go on for hours and hours.
The 100 Greatest TV Adverts was a show that fondly reminisced about some of the most memorable adverts, and as advertising on British television launched in 1955, at the time there were 45 years worth to choose from. The show was hosted by Graham Norton, and it also featured a lot of what very quickly caused the genre to lapse into cliche, including several contributions from Stuart Maconie who famously appeared on just about all of these type of shows, telling us his “ooh I remember that”-type memories, and Peter Kay also turned up to take a look back at some of the more unusual adverts that didn’t make the list.
As the hours progressed, we saw a lot of the most famous adverts from over the years feature, including the Milkybar kid, PG Tips, the Smash robots and so on, and the stories behind them from the people in the know. As it turned out, the winning advert was for Guinness, it was very impressive but I wonder where it would be on the list nowadays? I remember about a year or two later this show was repeated with an update, including a few more adverts that had made an impact with viewers in the time since the original showing.
As enjoyable as it was, the nostalgia lists genre seemed to tire rather quickly (and this is before I have even got into BBC2’s similar I Love… series looking back at the trends of the 70s, 80s, and 90s that was shown around the same time as these Top 100 shows), but along with Ad Fab and Bob’s Fab Ads which I reviewed a while back, I do think that this was a very enjoyable show celebrating the bits between the programmes.