Hotlinks (BBC Choice, 2000)
This is a show that I very much doubt anybody will remember watching at the time, but I still want to tell you all about it, and I’ll explain why. A while ago I did a few pieces looking back at the most memorable shows on early digital channel BBC Choice which recently had its 20th anniversary, but there is one that I enjoyed so much I have decided to do a full piece about it.
The scope and scheduling of BBC Choice changed a lot in the 4½ years that it was on air, and in 2000 there was a prime-time strand introduced called Refreshing TV, which featured shows that were 15 minutes long that seemed to be repeated endlessly, and one of these was Hotlinks, which along with various shows on other channels including UK Play and Cartoon Network was definitely up there with my favourites from this era.
Hotlinks was a show that was a guide to all the best things that were currently happening in TV, film, music, the internet and so on, and there was a new edition once a week. What struck me about the show was the way that this was all presented. The host of Hotlinks was a rather glamorous-looking woman called Nomy (I never did find out who the woman who played her was though unfortunately) who described herself as an “infomaniac”, wore a silvery dress and told us everything that we needed to know for that week.
Along with this, there was the virtual reality background which had various changing pictures on it, beeping sound effects, and there was also text constantly scrolling along the screen in an old-fashioned computer typeface. Wow, it’s the year 2000 and we’re in the future now, so for more information on what was featured the show you could even visit the website, whatever will they think of next!
Hotlinks seemed to change its format for the last few editions, turning into more of an European travelogue, before ending after about six months, never to be seen on the TV or referenced by anybody else again. The show also used a lot of of-its-time computing/internet terminology, with most editions featuring Nomy saying “your Hotlinks connection has now timed out” before closing her eyes and the show ending with no credits at all (except for “© BBC MM”).
Hotlinks seemed to be presented as if Nomy actually was the internet or the world wide web, a sort of search engine in human form. Probably not that surprisingly there is almost nothing about the show online, but I feel lucky to have seen it, I think that it’s my favourite BBC Choice show of them all, and to realise that this is almost two decades ago now is just extraordinary.
Adam is logging off now…