Liquid News (BBC Choice, 2000-2003, BBC3, 2003-2004)
I must admit that I have never really been that interested in the world of showbusiness gossip over the years, but I do remember watching this show, because it had a more entertaining spin on it than you would get on other shows or in magazines, and because of that it went on to become one of the most successful shows of the BBC Choice era, even surviving the change to BBC3.
The origins of Liquid News are in a show from the early days of the BBC News 24 channel in the late-90s called Zero 30 that was hosted by Christopher Price, and as the title suggests, it was only ever shown rather late at night, attracting a small amount of viewers. Someone must have seen potential in it though, because after a while it was promoted to BBC Choice and renamed Liquid News, where it would be shown live five days a week.
Price stayed on as host, and in every edition he would joined by two celebrity guests (usually pop stars or comedians) who would comment on all the latest entertainment news. Subjects covered would include a look at the latest films, or wondering whether a big star was about to get divorced, and so on. There would also be live linkups with reporters from around the world who had all the latest information.
After about a year or two of this, Liquid News was beginning to increase in popularity, mostly thanks to Price’s presenting style where he offered some witty comments on the news that made the show for many people including myself worth watching. His profile was increasing, and he was beginning to get other TV work, including a show about the Eurovision Song Contest.
But then in April 2002 Price died suddenly at the age of 34 (I am older than that now which is a rather odd feeling). It came as a big shock, and I remember that it even made the front page of the Evening Standard. There was then a hastily put-together special where a huge amount of people who had appeared on the show paid tribute to his work which was all rather touching. I do feel that had he lived, there’s a big chance that Price could now be the commentator on Eurovision instead of Graham Norton.
But the show had to go on… how would it continue? For a while, Liquid News had some guest hosts, but then there was a relaunch and the new regular hosts included Colin Paterson and somewhat inevitably Claudia Winkleman. By now there was a late-night repeat on BBC1, and there were also a few spin-off series that took the chance to lift the lid on celebrity life.
Of course, for every peak there is a trough, and by this point, the format had become a little tired and the last editions went out on BBC3 pre-recorded at around midnight before it vanished for good. But there was no doubt that it was a rather entertaining show while it lasted, and as I said at the start even I enjoyed this twist on a subject that I usually don’t take that much notice of.