Bedrock (ITV2, 1998-1999)
This is a show that I briefly touched on in a piece that I did a while ago, but as some editions have now to my surprise turned up online, I thought that I might as well do a full review, because I was very pleased to see it again. Even though it can’t be a show that is familiar to most people, it is actually rather a important moment in my development of watching TV over the years.
Although it had been around for many years by the late-90s, we never had satellite or cable in our house. Like many other people it seems, the only way we saw anything from these channels then was when people sent us some tapes that had some early episodes of The Simpsons recorded off Sky One on them that we’d wanted to see out of curiosity, long before that show came to BBC1. But we never had anything beyond the four (later five) main channels.
Then we decided to get an OnDigital box after falling for the hype of that one, and that venture went on to become a financial disaster. Just like they had done with BSB about a decade earlier, Sky would again see off their biggest rival in the marketplace at the start of the digital era. When we put the box on for the first time, hoping that it wouldn’t blow up, the first thing that we saw was ITV2, and this show was on, meaning that Bedrock has the honour of being the first ever show that I saw on a non-terrestrial channel for myself.
Now this really did open up a world of previously unknown possibilities. You mean to say that we have a channel 6 now? And even beyond that? All without that fuzziness on the picture? It’s difficult to describe just how blown away I was by it all. And when we used the EPG for the first time, we were informed “it’s got a bed, and it rocks!”, which didn’t reveal anything about what the show was really.
Bedrock was an hour-long live show (usually around 6pm) that was aimed at teenagers, and at this time I happened to be in that age range, so it definitely caught my interest. There were a quartet of hosts, and these included Heather Suttie, who went on to co-host the final series of Live & Kicking, and also Ben Shephard, many years before he went on to host the revival of The Krypton Factor, and squeal at coins rolling around on Tipping Point.
There were also plenty of features, including interviews with pop stars, competitions, plus reviews of computer games, fashion, films, sport, TV, and I remember Scott Mills (who had recently joined BBC Radio 1, and is still there to this day) reviewing some singles. You could also email or fax the hosts if you wanted. On an average day, you could expect to see guests like Adam Rickitt and Julia Bradbury. They were famous at the time, honest.
Although Bedrock can’t have had very high ratings, I’m pleased that the effort was put in to make this show, when BBC Choice and UK Play were also making plenty of cheap but creative shows that I really enjoyed. I don’t watch ITV2 much nowadays, but I’m grateful for the influence that it had on me back then. And I must conclude by saying it proves that you’ll never know what will turn up online, seeing this one again was a real flashback!