The Sunday Show (BBC2, 1995-1997)
Something rather unusual happened on BBC2 in the mid-90s. As well as the slot for alternative comedy, which was usually weekdays at 9pm (where several classics including The Day Today and The Fast Show were shown), there was also a slot on Sunday afternoons, between the end of many hours of CBBC, and the start of Sunday Grandstand.
As well as including repeats of Fantasy Football League and Shooting Stars, there were also some new shows tried out in this slot including This Morning With Richard Not Judy (that I also plan to review soon), and this one. The Sunday Show was live and usually 45 minutes long, and it was definitely much livelier that what other channels were offering at the time of the week.
The hosts of the first and second series were Donna McPhail and Katie Puckrik (who had previously hosted The Word). The opening sequence consisted of a shark going round in a fishbowl, which looked suspiciously similar to the one used by BBC2’s Working Lunch. The Sunday Show was a mix of comedy and features, including a look back at some of the more unusual news stories of the week, plus what celebrities had been up to, and reviews of pop music, soaps, and so on.
One of the more memorable moments on the show was Dennis Pennis, someone who had a rather unconventional interviewing style that wrongfooted many a celebrity. After a while, he became popular enough to get some spin-off shows, including Pennis Pops Out, shown rather late at night on ITV and mostly being a showcase for the latest Britpop bands to perform their songs, and Very Important Pennis, looking back at some of his outrageous highlights.
The later series were hosted by Paul Tonkinson (who would go on to host one of the hundreds of relaunches of The Big Breakfast in 2001), and Jenny Ross. For the last series, comedy was provided by Peter Kay, presenting his “World Of Entertainment” in some of his earliest TV appearances, where he looked back at some strange TV moments. Even then he had perfected his “do you remember Bullseye?” routine, and it was clear that he was going to go on and be a big name.
There were also sketches with The Actor Kevin Eldon, and Bez from Happy Mondays took some time off from ‘avin it large in Ibiza to tell us all about the world of science with some zany experiments. There were four series of The Sunday Show (including a couple of Christmas specials), and it is best remembered now for launching some comedy talent and providing something that hadn’t previously been seen on TV at that time of the day.