The Satellite Show (CBBC, 1988-1989)
This is a CBBC show from the late-80s. Firstly, why is it called The Satellite Show? I think it might be because this was the early days of satellite TV in this country, when having “satellite” in the title made it seem all modern and up-to-date, not many people had dishes at that point. It is not to be confused with The Satellite Game, a children’s TV show from around the same time that was made by the same production team as CITV’s Knightmare.
The Satellite Show was a big mix of various things, being a part-comedy sketch show, a part-game show, and a part-pop music show, set somewhere in space and featuring a live studio audience. The main host was a blond-haired puppet with an American accent called CD, who a lot of viewers seemed to think looked like a cross between Jason Donovan and Andy Crane.
The comedy element of the show featured sketches as the hapless cast tried to make everything work behind the scenes, sort-of coming across as a mixture of KYTV and On The Waterfront. Among the cast in the first series was Carla Mendonca, and the second series featured Lisa Maxwell who would later go on to appear in The Bill. There would also be an ongoing serial featuring the adventures of superhero Captain Plughole.
The game show element was Name That Thing, hosted by Bob Hopeless. Three teams of two took part, and they had to guess the words that all began with the chosen letter. The highest-scoring team went into the final, where they had to guess what letter various things began with, and then make the longest word that they could with all those letters for prizes. I feel like I’ve seen the idea of two people trying to find a nine-letter word in 30 seconds somewhere else on TV though…
The pop music element was where a hot video would be shown that everyone could do a dance to, and pop stars would also be beamed down to be interviewed by CD. As this was the late-80s you would get a few acts appear that were only popular around this time, including Big Fun and Brother Beyond. Also among those appearing on the show to plug their new single were the mighty Fuzzbox!
The Satellite Show ran for a couple of series on CBBC, but it doesn’t seem to be that well-remembered now. I’m not aware of any repeat runs, there are only a couple of editions online, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. My memory of the show from the time is rather vague, but anything that has a go at trying something a little different is always enjoyable to look back at.