More TV Memories – The Channel 4 Daily.

The Channel 4 Daily (Channel 4, 1989-1992)

When Channel 4 launched in 1982, there wasn’t a breakfast slot, as programming usually began in the afternoon. Eventually their hours were extended, including when schools programmes began at 9:30am in 1987 after moving from ITV. But in April 1989, a breakfast service was launched, and the aim was to rival BBC Breakfast News and TV-am. They’d now be on air from 6am. What would The Channel 4 Daily have to offer?

First of all, there was the memorable opening sequence, featuring a lot of people opening their curtains, and the theme music, which featured some saxophone from Bob Holness. Well, probably. There were various features that were all at rather specific times, including news, business, and sport updates. Some of this was produced by ITN, and among the hosts were people who were already familiar with viewers including Carol Barnes and Dermot Murnaghan.

Most of these features would be introduced by spinning globes (which almost certainly must’ve had an influence on the look of The Day Today). Hosts were in “bureaus” around the world rather than studios, and this really was an attempt at creating “a newspaper on the television” every weekday. In addition to this, there were also features including film reviews, Countdown Masters, and cartoons.

This meant that this all came across as a three hour-long edition of News At Ten. The combination of all this seemed to be a little dry and reserved by Channel 4’s standards, and in September 1992, having not been hugely successful in the ratings, The Channel 4 Daily was replaced by the much more lively and alternative The Big Breakfast, which seemed much more like the kind of thing that should’ve been occupying this slot.

And what is the first part in the Channel 4 breakfast trilogy (along with The Big Breakfast and Rise) isn’t really remembered that much by comparison now, as viewers decided that this wasn’t really the only way that they wanted to start their day, although this did give us something of an insight of what the era of 24-hour news channels could be like.

More TV Memories – The 100 Greatest Children’s TV Shows.

The 100 Greatest Children’s TV Shows (Channel 4, 2001)

A while ago, Channel 4 seemed to be rather fond of Top 100 lists shows. I have already looked back at The 100 Greatest TV Adverts, but I thought that this one was worth a review too, partly because the day that I publish this piece is the 20th anniversary of when this was first shown. One reason that these shows did fairly well is because they managed to fill three or four hours on a Bank Holiday evening.

And it was also because people could debate what shows they felt were worthy of being on the list. As this one was all about children’s TV, there was a chance that this could be the ultimate nostalgia trip, because just about everyone has fond memories of what they watched in their youngest years. The host was Jamie Theakston, who by this point had left CBBC’s Live & Kicking, and was moving into TV for the grown-ups. vlcsnap-00466

Jamie would also be joined by some of the most enduring children’s favourites, including Sooty and Sweep, although neither of them had to much to say for themselves. It’s always a difficult decision to decide what you think should be featured, and comparing different decades and shows in different genres, such as cartoons, drama, and puppetry, is an almost impossible thing to do really. vlcsnap-00467

By this point, we knew what we were going to get with this type of show. As always, there were lots of moments from these shows taken from the archive, some not being shown for the first (or even the tenth) time. The contributions from people who worked on the shows:sarcastic comedians who watched them ratio was just about the average. Do you remember HR Pufnstuf? No? And we also got some rather useless on-screen facts. But look, there’s Fred Dinenage! vlcsnap-00470

What would turn out to be the winner of all this? Well beating everything else, including Danger Mouse, and Grange Hill, and even good old Rainbow would you believe, who all put up a good challenge but just missed out, was The Simpsons. This was a rather odd choice as although it is a TV classic, it has never been a show intended for only a younger audience. I can only wonder where this would feature on a list complied today.

More TV Memories – Brookside.

Brookside (Channel 4, 1982-2003)

When Channel 4 launched, they promised a commitment to various types of programming. Among their schedule would be a soap, which might not have sounded that ambitious, but it was promised that this would be something a little different. Brookside was set in Liverpool, and was created by the same team behind CBBC’s Grange Hill. I must admit that I wasn’t a regular viewer over the years, although this is just about the last major soap that I haven’t reviewed yet (I know almost nothing about Emmerdale so I don’t plan to review that one).

Other soaps at the time produced their interior scenes in a studio, but Brookside was pioneering as their interior scenes were made in actual houses, which helped to add a more realistic feel. And as time passed, viewers would become rather familiar with the families and what they went through including the Corkhills, the Dixons, and the Grants, and the various locations that they visited. vlcsnap-00453

Brookside did well in the ratings and soon became popular enough to be extended to three episodes a week. There was also a monthly magazine, along with some of the highlights from episodes released on VHS. By this point, various topics were being covered in stories, and some viewers were beginning to feel things were becoming a little far-fetched. brookside0002

I also remember that plenty of vintage episodes were shown in a daytime slot on Sky One. And then, the regular evening slot was dropped, and Channel 4 began to concentrate on making Hollyoaks their priority soap. Brookside was then moved to a late-night slot, which was given a positive spin as it was claimed that this could be an opportunity to be more gritty and violent. vlcsnap-00455

Most viewers had lost interest by now though, and after almost 3,000 episodes, things concluded in 2003 on a rather bitter note. Not many people felt that it was the wrong decision to bring Brookside to an end though after its initial popularity, and things did seem to end with something of a whimper. It was claimed that there would be more special episodes made to be exclusively available on DVD, but nothing really came of this.

Game Show Memories – Deal Or No Deal 80s Love Mix.

Deal Or No Deal 80s Love Mix (Channel 4, 2012)

Deal Or No Deal was a long-running show, and it is rather clear that Channel 4 got the most out of it. There were over 3,000 editions, only Countdown exceeds this number for UK game shows. This means that sometimes there were opportunities to do something different, such as having themed weeks. These were rather creative, with the contestants wearing costumes and make-up, a change to the set design, and maybe even some bonus prizes on offer too.

In February 2012, there was the 80s Love Mix, which took the chance to embrace some of the most memorable pop culture from that decade, so naturally this caught my attention. And it’s weird to think that this is almost a decade ago in itself. By this point, Deal Or No Deal had been extended to an hour from the original 45 minutes, and the proceedings could sometimes become a little insufferable. As always, the host was Noel Edmonds, with a horrible shirt (but then isn’t it always). vlcsnap-00012

We begin with the 1982 Channel 4 symbol, and Noel is surrounded by the studio audience in brightly-coloured headbands in a Top Of The Pops style (even though he’d stopped hosting that show in 1978). We then go into a reworked version of the opening sequence, with a synth version of the theme, and a pink and yellow background with added visual effects, and then we enter The Dream Factory. vlcsnap-00013

There is a rather tasty £250,000 on offer, and they’ve even changed the colour of the usually red boxes. What contestant will be chosen today as they try to take on that pesky Banker? Well it’s Jim, who seems to be a cast member from Miami Vice. He is clearly up for this. Before the game, there’s a segment with a cassette tape on a necklace, and the recipient could win a holiday. vlcsnap-00009

The glitterball comes down as Jim makes his choice, and then they do a dance to Spandau Ballet’s “True”. Noel can’t believe it and is overcome. Now it’s time to play. A screen that says “Loading…” appears before the 22 money amounts are revealed. There are all kinds of strategies on offer, and Jim won’t use any of them. The first offer is £4,590, accompanied by an old computer game-type noise. No deal. vlcsnap-00005

Then the man himself Freddie Mercury (well probably) opens the box. The next offer is £9,045, and again it’s no deal. Then someone who looks suspiciously like Siouxsie Sioux opens the box. I don’t know if that’s who she is supposed to be done up as, but either way I never expected that to happen on a daytime game show, and I imagine the contestant didn’t expect such a thing either when she applied! vlcsnap-00417

And then we go to Adam Ant (?) who opens the box to reveal 10p, meaning that The Banker, who loves it when the contestants win small, won’t be given the pleasure by Jim! He’s losing all of his little ones, which is a good sign. The next offer is £17,000, and it’s no deal again. Now we have the mildly surreal sight of what appears to be Annie Lennox opening the box, and it’s only the £250,000! Jim’s game is in tatters! Oh, Annie. vlcsnap-00010

The offer is £13,000 for another no deal. There are now eight boxes remaining, so Jim must go wisely. Can he recover? The next offer is £3,000. And now it’s his friend’s turn to open her box. If she can predict the amount inside, she’ll win a holiday. But no, she doesn’t. How disappointing. And now the offer is £1,000. After a long time thinking, Jim finally says deal. Was that a good choice? vlcsnap-00006

When two boxes are remaining, they are both blues, including the 1p (could he have joined the others on the barge) and £250, so suddenly the deal was a good move. The final offer would’ve been £19.99, and he had £250 in his box all along. As Noel finishes off another show by waffling on about courage as usual, the credits appear in an old-style computer font which is a nice touch. Jim could’ve turned that grand into a million by now, but probably not.

The YouTube Files – 35 Years Of The Chart Show.

This piece is late because the actual 35th anniversary was in April, but I wanted to take another look back at The Chart Show, as some of the earliest editions turned up online recently. The Chart Show was originally shown on Channel 4 on Friday afternoons, and famously had no hosts, with everything being introduced by computer graphics that were impressive for the time (Top Of The Pops launched their first computer-generated opening sequence around the same time, I wonder if it was a response to this, or a coincidence).

It is always interesting seeing the early days of a show before it is properly defined and settles down into a regular format, and it is clear from these editions that there were too many charts mixed in with some bizarre choices for exclusive videos, although at least it gave some lesser-known acts their three minutes of TV fame. At this point as well as the familiar Heavy Metal (later Rock), Indie, and Dance Charts, there is much more.

These include the Reggae Chart, and the Euro Singles Chart, which featured the biggest hits across Europe, including Sandra, a German singer who never really found fame in the UK, and Stephanie (“is this a duff video or what?”). Then there’s the Compact Disc Chart (albums sold on CD) and The Music Video Chart (compilations of videos and concerts released on VHS). vlcsnap-00010

Then there was the UK Hits In The USA Chart, featuring some successful acts during what was called “The Second British Invasion”. One played was “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer that was indeed a chart-topper in America (“can you believe the follow-up to this video is just as bad!”), which in the final edition on ITV in 1998 was rather oddly claimed to be the first video ever shown, when it was actually about halfway through the fourth edition (that honour goes to “What You Need” by Inxs).

And then there was the Network Album Chart, and The Chart File (later Chart File Update), which once featured Cherry Bombz, a rock group fronted by Anita, who used to be in Toto Coelo. Er, yes. The exclusive videos (called Video Reveal at this point) were a rather odd mix, including “World Domination” by The Belle Stars (“these girls used to be shy until they started using hair gel”), the failed attempt to reinvent themselves as a trio (that doesn’t even feature on their best-of).

And there was even Tom Watt (who was best-known at the time as Lofty off EastEnders) and his baffling take on Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, where we are informed that “members of The Fall and New Order appear in this vid” and “a big hi to Dick Robins from all at The Chart Show!”. No idea what this was all about, but I’m sure it went down well at his local The Queen Vic.

The show didn’t conclude with The Top Ten, but The Network Chart, showing us some of the hits currently on the up (and not using the official chart like Top Of The Pops did), and The Chart Race, where you had to write in and predict where a few songs would enter the chart. Add to all this the famous video recorder-style graphics, some sludgy-green captions, and the HUD that told us facts that wasn’t on the screen long enough and almost impossible to read anyway.

And then, in June 1986, after barely two months, The Chart Show was rather abruptly cancelled by Channel 4, and replaced by Rewind. Wait, what? Well, there was a return eventually of course, but lots of ideas tried out in the early days were dropped quickly, with the majority of the extra charts featured gone by the end of 1986, and the more familiar format that would run for another 12 years began to take shape.

More TV Memories – Boyz Unlimited.

Boyz Unlimited (Channel 4, 1999)

In the late-90s, manufactured boy bands seemed to be commonplace on the singles chart. I must admit that I’ve never really been that interested in any of them, but then they weren’t actually aimed at me. But for every one of them that had some success, plenty of them failed. I remember a boy band performed at my school once. I have forgotten what they were called, but they definitely didn’t have any hits. This show is essentially a spoof documentary about how a boy band are put together and marketed.

One notable thing about the show looking back is that it was written and produced by Richard Osman (Matt Lucas and David Walliams are also credited as co-creators of the show, although I don’t think their contribution went much beyond that). Now this was long before he became the co-host of Pointless, at this time he was still working behind the scenes in TV, and he was also the divisor of BBC2 comedy panel game If I Ruled The World. Richard knows a thing or two about what goes on in the music business as his brother Mat is a member of Suede.

Nigel Gacey is a Cockney who is always on the lookout for a get rich quick scheme, so he decides to become a music mogul and put a boy band together. They are Gareth (overweight but kept in the band because he is the only one with any songwriting ability, not that they use any of his songs), Jason, Nicky, and Scott (who is told to change his name from Giles). Also notable is that Gareth is played by a young James Corden, who has gone on to much more TV success. boyz0001

Boyz Unlimited is presented in a “fly-on-the-wall” style (it’s difficult to know what was more commonplace at the time, boy bands, or this style of documentary), and to add an extra touch of authenticity, the narrator was Jo Whiley, who was also a presenter on BBC Radio 1 at this time. As the episodes progress we witness things like the auditions for the band, getting a record deal, making the videos, and releasing the songs. They hope their dreams will come true, but they soon realise that it’s a rotten business. vlcsnap-00002

They are told that they will make cover versions of hits including “DISCO” and “I Say A Little Prayer”. They also cover “A Little Bit More”, which coincidentally (I presume) was a chart-topper for boy band 911 around this time, in a bland as you like style, which is an indication that there really are some things that it’s difficult to parody. They are also involved in various scandals, including Nicky having an affair with the headmistress from his school. vlcsnap-00003

They also face trouble from their biggest rivals Boyz Limited, who are having huge hits, whilst theirs can’t even be found on CD in Virgin Megastore, and they are also embarrassed in appearances on live Saturday Morning TV shows. Nigel continues to hope that there will be a chemistry between his discoveries and they will be the next Bad Boys Inc., but his patience is often tested by their antics. vlcsnap-00004

There was only one series of Boyz Unlimited, and I’m fairly sure that there was never a DVD release. Boy bands could be considered to be something of a easy target, but it shows how much cynicism there was about this kind of thing happening, and this was long before the likes of Pop Idol and The X Factor came along. Maybe they should’ve done a cover of “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

The YouTube Files – Focus North.

Focus North (Channel 4, 1999)

I always like to stumble across unusual comedy shows, even I don’t remember watching them at the time, and I recently saw this on YouTube (credit goes to the uploader Charlie Bowser). The 4Later strand used to feature some rather bizarre shows in the early hours of the morning, and this one (that was usually shown around 1am) definitely fits that description.

There have been many comedy shows that have parodied news presentation over the years, with The Day Today being among the best-known of them, but this one was different enough to manage to get some original ideas out of the genre. Focus North was a parody of regional TV news, and it’s rather clear what the influences were. The show was supposedly produced by Pennine Television, whose ident was suspiciously similar to the one used by Yorkshire on ITV at the time. vlcsnap-00004

And the opening sequence gave me something of a “Channel 3 North East” vibe (the rebranding shambles of Tyne Tees in the mid-90s). The aim was to cover all of the things that were important to viewers. The hosts who were sat on the sofa were Tom Whitelam (Tom Adams, who also around the same time was appearing in those famous “the DFS sale is now on!” adverts), and Shona Lincoln. vlcsnap-00001

Various stories were covered in the regional roundup of the latest happenings, with the hosts seemingly not realising how strange everything was. One item that really stood out to me was about someone who had Clegghead Syndrome, where they are born with an old head that gets younger as the rest of the body gets older, what a strange idea. vlcsnap-00003

There were also some spoof adverts, a look at what was happening around the region, and various technical errors. Tom would also occasionally have some rather odd outbursts, such as turning into the Hulk. Well Fred Dinenage never carried on like this. The show also had a rather large support cast who helped out in the reports, everything was written and directed by a team of three, and it was produced a company that I’ve not seen on TV before or since. Not being from Yorkshire, I wonder if that area is really like this? vlcsnap-00002

There were ten episodes of Focus North in one series, it must’ve been little-seen at the time, but the few that watched did seem to enjoy it, and I can’t really imagine Channel 4 commissioning an original comedy show in such a timeslot now. The style did also remind a little of the type of comedy shows that were being made by UK Play at the time, one of my favourite channels from the early days of digital TV.

The Missing Persons Story – Part 1.

Recently I have done some pieces about quirky singers and pop groups from the 80s. I was wondering if there was anyone else who could be featured here. I don’t get too excited about the modern wave of pop stars, the last ones I had an interest in came on to the scene about a decade ago now such as Paloma Faith and Lady Gaga. I did wonder if there was anyone who could fit the description of being “the Lady Gaga of the 80s”, and I was pleased when I discovered someone who definitely could.

The group is Missing Persons, and it’s always good to discover that a group that I had previously barely heard of and realise that they had an interesting story in the 80s. Their frontwoman is Dale Bozzio (I can’t recall ever coming across a woman called Dale before). Dale Consalvi was born in March 1955 in Massachusetts. Before getting into music she appeared in some rather naughty magazines, and went on to collaborate with Frank Zappa. db66

In 1980, Missing Persons were formed, they could be put into the New Wave genre. They were a quintet, and along with Dale, other members included drummer and Dale’s husband Terry Bozzio (they married in 1979), and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. Although they didn’t have any hit singles or albums in this country, I wondered if they had made any UK TV appearances, so I went on YouTube, and I was pleasantly surprised. As always, this piece won’t be 100% accurate or comprehensive, but here are some of the highlights of their story. vlcsnap-00005

Dale was the definition of small but perfectly formed, with a very distinctive look, including her hair, which was sometimes red, or even – yes! – blue, and plenty of make-up. She also wore what were often described as “fishbowls” containing some foil. It seems that she was rather pleased with her looks and followed the old phrase “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, and if she had half the chance she would probably have worn nothing at all above the waist on stage. Dale was also known for having a squeak in her singing voice. I very much doubt she’s been to any pubs near where I live, but I’ll let her off because she made some great songs. vlcsnap-00017

In 1980 the “Missing Persons EP” was released, which reached no. 46 on the US album chart, and they appeared in the 1981 film Lunch Wagon. But it was during 1982/1983 that they had their biggest success. In 1982 their first single “Mental Hopscotch” was released. It wasn’t a hit, but there was a video made. There was also a video made for “Noticeable One”, but that wasn’t a single. vlcsnap-00015

But next up in 1982 was “Words”, and this is arguably their most famous song. The video has had 6.6 million views on YouTube, making it their most popular. This reached no. 42 (their equal-highest placing in America), and it also reached no. 10 in Australia, which I’m sure is their first and only Top Ten placing on a singles chart anywhere in the world. This one contained the lyric “I think I’ll dye my hair blue“. Please do! Also in this year, their first album “Spring Session M” (an anagram of “Missing Persons”) was released, reaching no. 17 (their highest-charting album in America), and no. 40 in Australia, where they loved it. vlcsnap-00025

Then in 1982 the next single was “Destination Unknown”, another one of their more well-known ones. This also reached no. 42 in America, and no. 89 in Australia, their final hit there. This one had a video, and I know that I shouldn’t take too much notice of YouTube comments, but the amount of people who have said “Lady Gaga stole her look from Dale” is remarkable. They performed this one on various shows including TopPop in the Netherlands. vlcsnap-00011

And in October 1982, they made what I’m sure is their first UK TV appearance, when they performed “Destination Unknown” on CITV’s Razzmatazz! They weren’t exactly the first group that I would expect to appear on the show, but the youngsters loved them I’m sure. Dale also had a rather unusual hairstyle by her own standard at this point. I doubt it’s all her own work. I don’t think they played “Peggy Babcock” though. Missing Persons were now doing well, suddenly Dale was being invited to awards ceremonies, and plenty of people were taking notice of them. vlcsnap-00030

In 1983, “Windows” was released, which reached no. 63 in America. I couldn’t find a video for this one, but they did perform this on shows in various countries. And in March 1983, Missing Persons made another UK TV appearance when they performed a few songs on Channel 4’s The Tube. There was the slight problem that they provoked almost no response at all from the studio audience who seemingly had no idea who they were. vlcsnap-00033

Also in March 1983, Dale appeared on the cover of Sounds, which I’m fairly sure is their only UK weekly music magazine cover, where they were tipped to be the next big thing. Dale is someone who also gave good value in interviews. And although they didn’t feature in an article, an advert for “Words” (which was released in the UK in this month) appeared in Smash Hits. db10

Watch out for more in part two…

The YouTube Files – A morning with Channel 4.

A Morning With Channel 4 (Channel 4, 1995)

The Big Breakfast was a great way to start the day for many years on Channel 4. I thought that I would see if there were any full editions on YouTube, and if so, as well as enjoying the show, review some of the adverts that were shown to get an idea of what was around at the time. The edition I have chosen was shown on 20 October 1995 (25 years ago now would you believe). Chris Evans has long-gone by this point, the hosts are Keith Chegwin and Gary Roslin (who left shortly after this at the start of 1996). Here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-01072

A lot of adverts appear several times. One is for the Clueless film which was a success at the time, and I reviewed the TV sitcom spin-off recently. It also features a very early example of a website address. Half-term is approaching, so expect plenty of toy adverts. These include lots of adverts for a board game version of Pog. Now that game really was the big thing at the time. It was very popular, and I remember having plenty of Pogs myself. The advert is rather odd though. vlcsnap-01074

There are also some music adverts, including one for the “Smash Hits 3″ compilation. The magazine was still around, and this album featured some of the biggest hits of ’95! Take That! Backstreet Boys! Smokie! All the groups the youngsters love! There’s also an exclusive from PJ And Duncan. Now don’t laugh, but I always looked forward to seeing their new videos on The Chart Show at this point, it was so exciting. vlcsnap-01075

Then there is another odd advert for Pog, which informs us “This is an advertisement for Pog™”. I’m not really sure why, it doesn’t say “this is a television programme” all the way through The Big Breakfast, where by this point they’re anticipating the first episode of new soap Hollyoaks on Monday. There’s also an advert hoping we’ll buy the Star Wars films on VHS. vlcsnap-01081

Also featuring is Shredded Wheat with Sharron Davies, who was one of the hosts of the ill-fated relaunch (one of the many ill-fated relaunches as it turned out) of The Big Breakfast in 1996, although we didn’t know that yet. Then there’s another Pog advert?! We’ve had about six of them already and it’s still only 7:38! The show is probably already overrunning by about 20 minutes by this point as it always did. vlcsnap-01083

There really are too many toy adverts, featuring Super Sticker Factory, Playskool, and creepy dolls among them. Time to enter The World Of The Strange, with chewy fruity bar thing Fruitang, featuring Trevor And Simon of Live & Kicking fame. I don’t remember that bar lasting long though. And there’s also a chance to groove to “The Ultimate Soul Collection Volume 2”. vlcsnap-01088

Into the second hour now, which features Salon Selectives, which is notable because it is soundtracked by “Breakout” from Swing Out Sister! It’s always great to hear this, which would’ve been almost a decade old by this point. You can also buy the cartoon version of The Mask on VHS, and don’t forget Milky Way Magic Stars, The Fox And The Hound (“the best children’s video of 1994”), Cheerios, and ending off with a rather trippy advert (computer-generated green dolphins floating around and the like) for Schizan, whatever that was. vlcsnap-01092

I suppose the main thing to take away from all this is I want a Pog.

More TV Memories – Rise.

Rise (Channel 4, 2002-2003)

The Big Breakfast is a show that had done well for Channel 4, especially in its early years, being rather entertaining and lively, and attracting a lot of viewers. But having to produce two hours of live TV a day five days a week all year round soon took its toll, and when the show came to an end after almost a decade in 2002 it did feel like it was past its best.

So it was decided to launch a new show in the breakfast slot, which promised to be a fresh take on all of the latest important news (but don’t they all claim that), but this one would, not to that many people’s surprise, turn out to be a flop by comparison. I didn’t watch this one a huge amount, but why it exactly failed with viewers has interested me. vlcsnap-01064

Rise (or RI:SE as it was sometimes written, aiming to simulate the display of a digital alarm clock) came from a TV studio, and had a collection of hosts who were rather in vogue at the time. These included Mark Durden-Smith (who seemed to be everywhere around this time), Kirsty Gallacher (who had impressed on Sky Sports), and Edith Bowman (who was also on MTV). And would you believe it, despite their abilities, when you put them all together around a desk, there was practically no chemistry between them whatsoever. vlcsnap-01070

The news coverage aimed to be something a little different, by being hosted in front of a big screen where all the reports were summarised in a single word. The show also jumped on the success of Big Brother, giving us some live coverage from the house, that usually only consisted of some people asleep. There were plenty of music videos and celebrity guests too. And you could even email them, how incredible. vlcsnap-01071

It wasn’t too much of a surprise that this didn’t go down well with viewers, and sure enough it wasn’t long before the constant relaunches, with all of the original line-up and the big desk long gone, and over a dozen hosts were used in Rise‘s short time on air. Among those who joined later were Iain Lee (who had previously hosted Channel 4’s The 11 O’Clock Show and had a more sarcastic take on the news). vlcsnap-01065

And also featuring were the double-act Mel And Sue, who practically revived their Light Lunch format that had done well on Channel 4 in the afternoon about five years earlier. Not that many people were surprised when Rise finally ended in December 2003 after nearly 18 months, indeed some viewers didn’t expect the show to even last that long. vlcsnap-01069

There are only so many times you can relaunch a show though that isn’t attracting the viewers. And after this, Channel 4 practically gave up on creating new programming for the breakfast slot, deciding from 2004 to fill the time instead with endless repeats of American sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. And remarkably, almost 17 years on, they still do. Just how many episodes were made?