More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 7.

I have done a few pieces where I have written about an interesting idea in TV which is then taken to its extreme, and I suppose that this is another example of that. When Price-Drop TV launched in 2003, I remember that they ran a promotion saying that any item that they sell could go down to just £1! (plus the p&p of course!) But I don’t ever remember this happening in the early days.

A while later, they launched a special feature called the Megadrop, where they said that selected items would be guaranteed to go down to £1. I remember watching a lot around this time because I really wanted to see this happen as I thought that it would be an exciting moment. The presenters insisted that they hadn’t been told which of the items that they were going to sell would be a Megadrop, and when it finally happened, I noticed a few things.

Firstly, there was the response from the presenters. This was rather amusing, and I remember that their responses ranged from total disbelief to just squealing with shock. Also, when there was a Megadrop, there was a huge demand, with hundreds of people phoning in and the item selling out in seconds. And, in those days, it did seem that there were some really good bargains, with several items that had a decent value going for £1.

It seems that Price-Drop won an award for this innovation. I’m not sure what it was exactly but I remember that they described themselves as “award-winning” for many years after. So I thought that was all rather good. Not long after this, when Bid relaunched their format and had falling price auctions too, they decided to introduce their equivalent of Megadrops, and this made me realise something.

We would now see how some of the presenters on Bid including dear old Peter Simon and Andy Hodgson would respond to all of this happening. I wondered if they would get really overexcited too, and they didn’t let me down. First of all, there was Peter. He would usually respond to a Megadrop by clapping his hands, endlessly shouting “it’s a pound!” and then running around the studio. vlcsnap-01348

He would also compare the price to other things, saying things like “for the cost of three large oranges, you just got this!”. He would even occasionally lapse into his famous “no… is that right?” routine. Andy Hodgson was equally enjoyable. He would also get very overexcited by all of this. He couldn’t believe how the price could go so low, it was just so naughty. vlcsnap-01346

The novelty begin to wear off after a while though, a lot of items that weren’t of much value often went down to £1, it was very unlikely that they would’ve lost money on any of them. And not long before they went off air they even struggled to sell out Megadrops which really showed what position they were in by that point. But to once again create something really exciting and silly in the world of shopping TV channels was a great thing for Bid to do.

More TV Memories – Price-Drop TV.

Price-Drop TV (2003-2014)

And so after the early days of the success of Bid-Up.TV, they launched another channel in June 2003 called Price-Drop.TV, and again it featured an innovative twist. This time the price fell for the whole of the sale. This was the first shopping channel in the world to have this feature, and when the quantity sold out, there was a price-lock and sale ended, with everybody paying the lowest price. There were also competitions and extra features on the website. vlcsnap-00881

Price-Drop came to Freeview in December 2003 and again I became a big fan. Even the background music was great. Somehow they had managed to find another crop of great presenters who made watching the channel very enjoyable. First of all there was the remarkable Sarah Hendy, who once seen you definitely couldn’t forget, and there was also Gerry McCulloch who had been great on Bid-Up. vlcsnap-00884

My favourite though was Greg Scott. Again I had vaguely heard of him from when he used to work behind the scenes on Countdown, and he was always enjoyable to watch. Just like Andy Hodgson and Peter Simon, he got the balance between being silly and talking knowledgeably about the items just right, and again whenever he was on I would always watch, and he gained a lot of fans, and dear old Greggles could fill time when there were technical problems like no-one else. Although he has presented a few other things since leaving the channel again it’s disappointing that he hasn’t become a bigger name. vlcsnap-00880

When Price-Drop launched they boasted that any item could fall to a pound, although this never happened at first. Around 2004 someone had the great idea of the Megadrop, where at least one item a day would be guaranteed to go down. This was very exciting at first, even the presenters didn’t know when it was going to happen and their surprise seemed real. Also, there were some remarkable deals, with valuable items dropping to a pound that really were bargains. This was such a great idea that it won an award for innovation and creativity and it has been much imitated since. vlcsnap-00883

After a while a third channel was launched, Speed Auction TV came along in August 2005 but that was only ever shown on Sky. Again, as the years went by, sadly the channel which was so watchable at first began to fizzle out. The quality of items began to decrease and there began to be a lot of sub-Poundland rubbish sold, leaving the presenters with little to work with. There were also endless clearances and they began fiddling around with the format. leaving them with three lame channels that were so vibrant at first. vlcsnap-00879

Price-Drop left Freeview briefly in 2009, which meant that they must have lost a lot of viewers. It did return eventually but again it was past its best by now, with them having difficulty selling out items, however low they went. When the channel closed on the same day as Bid in April 2014 it was a great shame. It felt like the end of an era but at its best it was really great and I still remember the happier times fondly.