TFI 1998 (Channel 4, 1997-1998)
Here’s a review of a New Year special TV show that I found on YouTube. By the end of 1997, TFI Friday had been on Channel 4 for almost two years, and it had become very popular with viewers as a lively way to start the weekend, so the decision was made to have a 75-minute special that would see in 1998, which featured as part of Channel 4’s 15th anniversary celebrations season.
As ever, the host was Chris Evans, along with the usual mix of music, stunts, and guests. There was an impressive lineup, including guests Melinda Messenger, Frank Skinner, and Des Lynam, along with music from Ocean Colour Scene, Mark Owen, and Chumbawumba, and also Chris’s mates Will, Cedric, Andrew, and Johnny. It was going to be a fun night.
By this point, the show had definitely settled down into a rhythm and you knew what you were getting. Everyone’s having a party, and most of them are currently being sick in the toilet. Chris promises us that later there’ll be the greatest joke in the world. And just to make sure that he doesn’t miss the big moment at midnight, Chris has got his alarm clock on standby.
Chris goes in and out of the break during this era of the show’s run with a joke from Johnny Boy And The Wheels Of Steel, who had a mobile disco in the studio that played lots of classic songs. Now this reminds me of something else, so I shall explain that before coming back to the show. Earlier in 1997, Chris left BBC Radio 1 and joined Virgin (and he also bought the station). He became the new breakfast host, displacing Russ ‘n’ Jono (how could he?).
I also remember that Johnny Boy was among Chris’s posse (and his breakfast show was also briefly shown on Sky One), and for about a year or so in the late-90s he had his own show on Virgin in a weekend evening slot where he would play lots of synthpop/disco/etc. songs from the early-80s that were a little before my time, and this was where I heard the likes of “Funky Town”, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”, “The Sound Of The Crowd”, “The Politics Of Dancing” (the politics of ooh feeling good), and many more for the first time, and I really enjoyed it, lots of great memories about that one.
Now, back to the show. Chris has got carried away with some chipolatas, and they’ve now had to drop the greatest joke in the world as they’re overrunning. Chris also takes a look back at the last 12 months to see how things have changed. But how exactly will they bring in the new year? Well they do it in a great way. They have the Countdown clock in the studio, so when the clock strikes, er, 30, it will be 1998! And then there’s a big celebration, everyone has party with balloons, and a singsong around the piano, now that’s how to have a party.