6 O’Clock Live (ITV, 1989-1992)
When ITV had much more regional programming, there would be various shows and hosts that would be popular, but if you went to a different part of the country, these would be just about unknown. One of the most successful examples of this was The 6 O’Clock Show, shown live on Friday evenings in the LWT region for about six years, and hosted by Michael Aspel.
When this ended in 1988, the replacement was Friday Now, but this didn’t do as well, and in 1989 this was replaced itself by 6 O’Clock Live, which is the one that I remember watching. This was an hour-long show that was supposed to be the best way to start the weekend. There would be celebrity interviews, music, competitions, and a look at what was happening around the capital.
This came from a studio where famous landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral could be seen in the background, and this was a sight that would soon become rather familiar. The main host was Frank Bough, who was best-known for hosting shows including Grandstand and BBC Breakfast Time. I must admit that at the time I don’t think I was aware of what Frank had supposedly got caught up in.
But LWT decided to give him a fresh start (and he hosted a few ITV Sport shows around this time too). The co-hosts were Jeni Barnett and Danny Baker, who had a similar role to The 6 O’Clock Show, being a roving reporter who took a look at the more light-hearted side of life, whilst wearing a horrible shirt. Other co-hosts and stand-ins included Jo Sheldon and Nick Owen (of TV-am/Good Morning fame).
There were also occasional news updates, and don’t forget there is more information available on Oracle page 243. 6 O’Clock Live ended in the summer of 1992, as preparation began on London Tonight, the new show launching in 1993 from London News Network, a collaboration between Carlton and LWT (who they were much more friendly towards than their predecessors Thames).
After this, Frank just about retired from TV hosting, although he occasionally appeared on a few other shows. For the next four months, the gap was filled with repeats of rowdy sitcom On The Buses (which was about 20 years old even then), and boring school documentary thing (what by the end of the decade would be called a docusoap) Park High.