You should know by now that Bid-Up was one of my favourite TV channels to watch when it came to Freeview in January 2003. I never bought anything, I just found it really entertaining. There were a lot of format changes over the years though, as producing 17 hours of live TV every day had to be kept fresh, and in 2004, around the time the studio changed to a rather bright orange colour, a lot of presenters left to join a channel called Auctionworld.
This channel had a rather similar format to Bid-Up with plenty of auction action, and among the presenters who joined were Adam Freeman and Duncan Pow (who has also been an actor and appeared in drama series including Sky One’s Dream Team and BBC1’s Holby City). Bid-Up was never the same really, although the great Andy Hodgson and Peter Simon were still around.
The Auctionworld channel was never on Freeview, but it did attract some media attention when it was heavily fined by the regulator, and it closed down shortly afterwards. Then in 2005 another interactive shopping channel launched called iBuy. Again, Adam Freeman was among the lineup of presenters, it seems that they were trying to put the fun back into shopping TV that had supposedly gone from Bid-Up (although I still enjoyed it).
I thought that I would take a look at some of the clips of iBuy on YouTube that have been uploaded by various shopping TV fansites, and I do have to say that it does seem that there were a lot of amusing moments. iBuy used a similar falling price format to the one on Price-Drop (which had also been introduced to Bid around this time), accompanied by the usual garish graphics and endless too-loud music.
There were also some rather familiar features such as informing us when there was limited stock with lots of irritating noises, special clearances and sales, items going down to a pound, and so on. Along with Adam Freeman, many other presenters who had been on Bid took part including Elisa Portelli (who really did like to laugh a lot), and Mike Mason (“sweet meat!”). Also featuring was Anglia Through The Night Star Paul Lavers.
One of Adam Freeman’s sales on iBuy also happens to be one of the funniest videos that I have ever seen on YouTube, when while trying to sell a shaver he had a laughing fit to the point that he could barely talk, and he tried to close the sale whilst doing some high-pitched giggling. I’m surprised that it’s only had about 2,500 views, it’s a classic. Because of this, I started to think that this channel actually did look rather fun.
A couple of years on, in 2007 Adam announced his departure, and iBuy left the screen shortly afterwards, seemingly unable to compete with the more established channels in the marketplace. Adam then went off to the other side of the Atlantic to host on a shopping channel in America (picking up the accent along the way), and over a decade later, it seems that he is still working over there and has done rather well for himself.
iBuy was never an individual channel on Freeview, but it did feature in a BBC3 documentary when Adam Freeman was interviewed as part of a behind-the-scenes look at shopping TV, and it was also shown for a short while on Five US during that channel’s downtime in the morning. And I’m sure that plenty of people bagged a bargain over the years.