Light Lunch (Channel 4, 1997-1998)
Light Lunch was shown live on Channel 4 on weekday afternoons for about a year. It was was essentially a combination of a cookery show, a comedy show, and a chat show. It was one of the first shows to be hosted by the comedy duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, before they ended up hosting just about every show on TV either together or individually. From this to The Generation Game in 20 years! There was also a live band in the studio whose name seemed to change in every edition who would play various songs throughout the show.
Every day Mel and Sue would be joined by a guest chef who would create a meal for them, and there was a always a cryptic message spelled out in magnetic letters in the background. Now this was around the time when celebrity chefs were popular on TV, and everyone seemed to have their favourite. One contributor to the show was Ross Burden, but of course he’s no longer with us. Remember that all the featured recipes are available on 4-Tel. The studio audience would also be asked at this point what they’re having for lunch.
When it was time for the meal, Mel and Sue would be joined by some celebrity guests and they would be interviewed while they all had their lunch, and they seemed to have some rather decent guests take part. For example Terry Wogan turned up once, although his son Mark did happen to be the guest chef that day. Various comedians, actors, singers and so on also guested, and watching it back now Light Lunch turned out to be a good time capsule of late-90s celebrity.
Then afterwards the guests would then be asked questions by the studio audience, and viewers could also interact by faxing a question or talking to them live on the phone. No tweets in those days! Everyone would also be introduced with some funny captions. There would also be a few comedy sketches and music performances thrown in too. Light Lunch did rather well for Channel 4 and raised Mel and Sue’s profile to the point that the show then returned as…
Late Lunch (Channel 4, 1998-1999)
It’s back! But now it’s in an evening timeslot where it ran for another year in a similar style, although it was now half-an-hour instead of an hour. Along with The Big Breakfast and Late Lunch, you get the feeling that Channel 4 should’ve continued this theme all day and commissioned a late-night live show called something like The Super Supper. Or maybe I just have an odd imagination. This was an enjoyably quirky show that was always good to watch.