Saturday Morning Memories – the others (part 3).

Here’s the third and final part of my look back at some more Saturday Morning shows.

SMTV (CITV, 1998-2003) Dear old Ant and Dec became Saturday Morning presenters and ended up being a huge success. I didn’t watch this show that much but I do remember some of the fun games including Challenge Ant and the classic Wonky Donkey. After Ant and Dec left the show they were replaced by some bloke who used to be in Hollyoaks, and then he was replaced by some bloke who used to be in Steps, and it just wasn’t the same. sat9

Swap Shop (CBBC, 1976-1982) One of the earliest CBBC Saturday Morning shows which was groundbreaking with many of its ideas and is still very fondly thought of today by the viewers who watched it, as Noel Edmonds and his telephone invited lots of star guests into the studio.

Teleganticmegavision (CITV, 1996) Another short-lived show that shared its timeslot with It’s Not Just Saturday, although this was one aimed at younger viewers, with Dave and Emma and features including going behind the scenes of various TV shows. sat10

Tiswas (CITV, 1974-1982) One of the all-time classics, as Chris Tarrant and co. cause lots of chaos with buckets of water and flans everywhere. It was so memorable that some of the best highlights were released on VHS and DVD in more recent years and the fun really does come across, terrific stuff.

TX (CITV, 1985) Another short lived show, notable for being hosted by the combination of Sue “Connections” Robbie and Tony Slattery. Also featured a regular game show called Knock Your Block Offsat11

UP2U (CBBC, 1988-1989) A show which ran through the summer for a couple of years when Going Live! was off and hosted by a pre-Blue Peter Anthea Turner and a pre-TOTP Tony Dortie. The title also seemed to invent “text speak” about a decade before it existed.

Wow (CITV, 1996) Yet another CITV Saturday Morning show from 1996, this was one at the sillier end, hosted by Simeon Courtie who had recently left CBBC (I wonder how he revealed the news to his mate Otis the Aardvark), and Sophie Aldred who messed about as vaguely embarrassed pop stars looked on. Also only ran until 11am as it shared the timeslot with The Noisesat12

And that’s it. This is my final look at Saturday Morning children’s TV. I hope that these pieces have brought back some memories of classic shows from throughout the years such as Going Live! and Motormouth. I watched this slot very regularly when I was younger and there were lots of terrific presenters, features, games, puppets and moments that I still think fondly of after all this time.

Saturday Morning Memories – the others (part 2).

Here’s the second part of my look back at the best of the rest of the CBBC/CITV Saturday Morning shows.

On The Waterfront (CBBC, 1988-1989) A show that inbetween the usual cartoons actually featured various comedy sketches performed by a group including none other than Andrew O’Connor, plus also Bernie Nolan and Kate Copstick.

Saturday Banana (CITV, 1978-1979) Another show from before my time but it does sound interesting for a few reasons. Firstly the story goes that the show was to be called The Saturday Bonanza but because of some bad handwriting it became The Saturday Banana. Also it was hosted by the mighty combination of Bill Oddie and Metal Mickey. sat5

The Saturday Picture Show (CBBC, 1984-1986) A show where a pre-Blue Peter Mark Curry introduced some ancient cartoons, but the show is only really remembered now for Mark having an embarrassing moment live on air which made everyone laugh and was repeated endlessly for a while.

The Saturday Show (CBBC, 2001-2005) At last, a replacement for the past-it Live & Kicking was this show, hosted by Dani Behr (which surprised some people who knew her from Channel 4’s The Word, definitely not a children’s show) and Joe Mace who was a popular presenter at the time, although they were both replaced after a while. The show also had a puppet double act Tiny and Mr Duk who got a CBBC spin-off. sat6

The Saturday Show (CITV, 1982-1984) No relation to the above show, this show had the tough task of filling the gap left by Tiswas. It was hosted by the Terrific Tommy Boyd and Larry Grayson’s mate Isla St Clair. Wrestler Big Daddy was supposed to take part too, but he pulled out just before the launch. From what I’ve seen of this show it does seem to be something of a directionless mess but also a lot of fun. sat7

Saturday Starship (CITV, 1984-1985) A sort-of sequel to the above with Tommy now joined by Bonnie Langford… but this time on a spaceship!

Saturday SuperStore (CBBC, 1982-1987) Mike Read, who was also popular on BBC Radio 1 at the time, hosted this one, with Keith Chegwin among the lads in the warehouse helping him out. Just about every pop star of the time appeared to take calls from viewers and pull postcards out of hats to announce competition winners. Oh, it was crazy. 

Third and final part coming soon…

Saturday Morning Memories – the others (part 1).

Earlier in the year on here I shared some of my memories of my favourite CBBC/CITV Saturday Morning shows. These types of shows were shown on BBC1 and ITV for roughly a 30-year period from 1976-2006. Here’s a quick look back at some other Saturday Morning shows that were either before my time or after my time, or I did watch them but didn’t remember enough about them for a individual 500-word piece. There are 21 more shows to look at so this concluding piece will be in three parts. Off we go then…

The 8:15 From Manchester (CBBC, 1990-1991) You can probably guess when this was shown and where it came from. It was hosted by Ross King and Charlotte Hindle of Get Fresh fame and is most memorable to me at least for its theme which was performed by the Inspiral Carpets, and also the game show segment The Wetter The Better which involved a lot of water. Also like Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow would later do the show repeated episodes of ancient sitcom Rentaghost.

Gimme 5 (CITV, 1992-1994) After Ghost Train ended, the main cast were barely seen again, with the exception of dear old Nobby The Sheep who stayed on for the successor which says a lot really. Also hosted by Jenny Powell and waistcoats fan Lewis MacLeod. One of the main features was The Hooter Game where when a hooter went a game was played. Exciting, I know. Also seemed to come live from a cupboard in Newcastle. sat1

It’s Not Just Saturday (CITV, 1996) A short-lived show that marked the return to Saturday Mornings of Gaz Top, who also hosted Get Fresh about a decade earlier, who hosted alongside pop star Dannii Minogue. Curiously this show was only an hour long, sharing the slot with TeleGanticMegaVision, and this show was also aimed at an older audience. After a while though its slot was cut even shorter, and the leftover half-hour was filled with repeats of sitcom Spatz which was five years old even then.

It’s Wicked! (CBBC, 1987) Another short-lived show that came from various places across the country. Don’t remember watching it myself but from online comments it seemed that the far superior Going Live! couldn’t come soon enough.

Mashed (CITV, 1997-1998) Another somewhat live straightforward pop stars and cartoons mix, only this one had the added fun of being hosted by a puppet monkey called Jarvis. How marvellous. Seemingly doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. sat2

Ministry Of Mayhem (CITV, 2004-2006) One last post-SMTV attempt to get some mileage out of the crazier side of the Saturday Morning format just before the genre disintegrated altogether, hosted by Stephen Mulhern and Holly Willoughby who both successfully made the leap to hosting primetime programmes. Renamed The Saturday Showdown in its final weeks for some reason and quietly moved to the newly-launched CITV Channel before vanishing. sat3

No. 73 (CITV, 1982-1988) A TVS-tastic long-running show featuring the likes of Neil Buchanan making some for his earliest appearances on CITV and Sandi Toksvig playing The Sandwich Game, and all kinds of crazy people dropped by. Was renamed 7T3 in its final series for no particular reason. There was also an extra edition on Sundays which was stretching the idea somewhat. 


The second part of this piece is coming soon…

Saturday Morning Memories – Get Fresh.

Get Fresh (CITV, 1986-1988)

This is a Saturday Morning show that I don’t remember watching much myself as I was still only five years old when it ended, but it does seem to be fondly remembered by the people who did watch it regularly as it was a regular fixture on CITV in the mid-80s so I decided to find out more about the show for myself to bring you this review.

Get Fresh was hosted by Gaz Top and Charlotte Hindle, and the theme music was provided by Big Audio Dynamite. The idea was that every week The Millennium Dustbin would touch down and provide entertainment live from somewhere in the UK. Curiously they only visited the smaller ITV regions so it was a rare chance for viewers who lived in the Border and TSW areas to get their moment in the spotlight. vlcsnap-00967

There were the usual features such as cartoons, a game show element called Get Mucky and big pop groups entertaining the crowds that had gathered where the weather was usually rather wet. For a short while Get Fresh was also shown on Sunday Mornings and featured another bunch of great cartoons. But great as they were, for many people Gaz and Charlotte weren’t the stars of the show. vlcsnap-00966

They were joined from the second series by the remarkable puppet character Gilbert The Alien, a really hideous green and red thing who was voiced by the impressionist Phil Cornwell who liked to make outrageous and very funny comments to the somewhat bemused celebrity guests. The odd comedy character Frank Sidebottom often joined in the fun as well. Gary Wilmot also turned up sometimes too, which is lovely. vlcsnap-00965

Gilbert was popular enough with viewers to get his own spin-off show on CITV called Gilbert’s Fridge, now that really was a bizarre show. One of the other highlights of the show for many viewers was Gaz’s hairstyle which was ludicrous even by mid-80s standards and was the talk of the nation of a short while, and when he got it cut for many people life was never the same again. vlcsnap-00964

After Get Fresh ended Gareth would remain a familiar face on CITV for another two decades, hosting many other shows including The Big Bang and How 2, and Charlotte went on to co-host the CBBC Saturday Morning show The 8:15 From Manchester in the early-90s among other things. Get Fresh ran for five series and from the clips that I have seen of the show it does seem to be really enjoyable. It was a good idea and one of the better CITV shows, if only I had been five years older, I would have watched it all the time I’m sure.

Saturday Morning Memories – Fully Booked.

Fully Booked (CBBC, 1995-2000)

This show mostly aired on Sundays, but the first and last series did air on Saturdays so I’m going to include it here. When Fully Booked launched, someone clearly thought, we need a gimmick to make it stand out. Do we set it on a spaceship? Already been done. A superstore? That’s been done too. How about a hotel, yes, what a great idea!

The first series was shown on BBC1, came live from Glasgow and was hosted by Grant Stott, the bloke off Blue Peter‘s brother, and Zoe Ball. They clearly thought that like most children’s TV shows they needed an annoying puppet too, so Morag The Cow filled that slot, supposedly being the receptionist of the hotel and having awkward comedy moments with the celebrity guests. vlcsnap-00961

There was also some other guy who played various comedy characters including the oh-so amusing Alistair McAlistair, who hosted a feature called The End Of The Show Show, where everyone took part in a big comedy game. This is a highly original feature that has never been done by anyone on any other entertainment show ever. vlcsnap-00963

The format of the show changed rather a lot over the years. Although of course there were lots of cartoons and all the latest young person’s popular beat combos taking part to perform their latest hot waxing and getting their five minutes of fame throughout the whole of the run, the presenters lineup and style was often fiddled about with. vlcsnap-00962

After the first series Zoe left to join Live & Kicking, so for the second series she was replaced by Lou Carpenter’s daughter off Neighbours for some reason. The show also moved to Sunday Mornings on BBC2 and was now pre-recorded. This was how the show continued until the end of the third series. vlcsnap-00960

For the fourth series, the show was completely changed, with a new look and new presenters, and was live again. So we said goodbye to the hotel, Morag, Alastair, Grant and the rest who were replaced by Chris Jarvis, Tim Vincent off Blue Peter, and Gail Porter. This meant that the “Fully Booked” title now meant nothing but there were still a lot of fun features and the show was now live again, and this format continued into a fifth series. vlcsnap-00957

Now just because the format of the show has completely changed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t completely change it again and move it even further away from its original idea. The sixth and final series returned to BBC1, extended to a whopping three hours long, and was now called FBI which was short for Fully Booked Interactive, because by now it was the year 2000 and viewers could email the show and everything, isn’t technology incredible. There was also yet another new presenter lineup, with Kate Heavenor, Vernon Kay, and the bloke off Boyzone now in charge. vlcsnap-00959

By the end of this series someone finally released how out of hand this was all getting and the Fully Booked name was finally put to rest. Although I did enjoy watching the earlier series, it is strange, even when considering they were made five years apart, how different the first and last series were.

Saturday Morning Memories – Scratchy And Co.

Scratchy And Co. (CITV, 1995-1998)

Scratchy and Co. was a CITV Saturday Morning show with a difference. It was hosted by a character called Scratchy who seemed to be computer-generated at first, but he wasn’t. I remember when I first saw the show I was trying to not be freaked out by the way he looked. He was played by Mark Speight wearing a lot of prosthetics in a wacky style as a sort-of crazy cartoon character come to life. vlcsnap-00948

Every week Scratchy would introduce various features such as cartoons including the terrific Animaniacs, competitions, and old episodes of Spatz. Alongside him were his “co.”, an odd bunch of characters including Scratchy’s mate Reg who had a rather low-pitched voice for someone his age, Fathead the talking football, Sedgely the penguin, and others, some of which were played by the comedian Ronni Ancona. vlcsnap-00950

Another regular feature was Massive, which looked at all the latest pop music and showbiz news, and was co-hosted by a young Denise Van Outen. Along with this, Scratchy would often end the show by doing an odd dance which was enhanced with lots of weird special effects. Live & Kicking this wasn’t. There were some changes made for the second series though. vlcsnap-00952

From the second series onwards, the show was a little more straightforward, it now came from a studio with Mark Speight still hosting the show as Scratchy but no longer wearing his odd make-up and now sat behind a big desk with celebrity guests often turning up, and this was how it stayed for the rest of the run. I must admit I preferred the odder format of the first series but it still did well with viewers. vlcsnap-00951

Scratchy and Co. eventually ran for four series, and I suppose that I did enjoy watching it, it was an entertaining enough variation on the way that Saturday Morning shows were presented, and it was nominated for some awards, although there seem to be surprisingly few clips online, but… I can’t avoid the elephant in the room on this one, and looking back at this show now is still a little uncomfortable. vlcsnap-00949

A while ago I decided to buy some old copies of Radio Times online to bring back some memories of classic shows. In an issue from February 1998 there is a small feature about Scratchy and Co. which has the headline “no clouds on this clown’s horizon”, where Mark Speight spoke about how much he loved hosting the show, but a decade later the situation would be very different indeed.

It was a while ago now but it is still a shock to think that Mark is no longer around, and the circumstances which led to his early demise. He was a great presenter on both CBBC and CITV and he is still much missed. I hope that viewers will remember him for the great talent that he was, brightening up Saturday Mornings in the mid-90s for many people including myself.

Saturday Morning Memories – Going Live!

Going Live! (CBBC, 1987-1993)

Over three hours of organised chaos coming to you live every Saturday Morning from the BBC. After a couple of enjoyable years pushing the buttons in the Broom Cupboard, Phillip Schofield was chosen to be one of the main presenters of the show, alongside Sarah Greene who had been a presenter on CBBC since the early-80s, and they worked very well together. vlcsnap-00929

Every week they would be joined by the likes of Emma Forbes for the cookery slot, Phillip’s old friend Gordon The Gopher, and also Trevor and Simon, who appeared in five of the six series and were always around with some of their wide variety of characters to perform a silly comedy sketch or a lovely song, and they gained a big pants-swinging fanbase. There were also great crazy game shows including Double Dare and Run The Risk with Peter Simon. vlcsnap-00926

There were also the usual features such as cartoons including Alvin And The Chipmunks, and debates about various topics such as fashion and the environment, and once again it was a show where if you were a big pop group of the time or just a fancy showbiz name it was one of the most important places to be seen. They always had their phone at the ready to take questions from the viewers at home and in the studio. There were also plenty of competitions too and they used to receive a huge amount of postcards. vlcsnap-00928

As the weeks went by it was clear that everyone was having a good time, and I am sure that Phillip is thrilled that the most-repeated moment from the show is the time when he was hit in the face with a conker. It must have been shown hundreds of times on TV by now. There were also a few special editions of the show done on location, and a few pre-recorded Christmas specials. vlcsnap-00927

Going Live! eventually ran for six successful series and is one of the more popular and fondly-remembered of all the Saturday Morning shows, it was just straightforward entertainment and was nominated for many awards. There were no plots where it was supposed to be set in space or somewhere like that and there were no aliens in the presenting line-up. Or at least I think there weren’t. It is once again definitely a show that I remember enjoying watching regularly.

Saturday Morning Memories – Live & Kicking.

Live & Kicking (CBBC, 1993-2001)

After the success of Going Live!, CBBC launched a new Saturday Morning show in 1993 with a similar format. Just like Phillip Schofield before him, Andi Peters was promoted from the broom cupboard to become one of the main hosts. He was joined by Emma Forbes, who was also familiar to viewers having hosted some features on Going Live! Alongside them was John Barrowman, but his role was reduced after a while as his acting career began to take off. vlcsnap-00925

Comedy duo Trevor and Simon were also kept on and provided some new characters and sketches, including the funny chat show spoof Meet Someone, also reviewing the latest records at the end of the show with celebrity guests, and constantly telling people that they don’t do duvets. vlcsnap-00920

There was also a floating computer-generated cat head thing called Ratz who always enjoyed talking to the presenters. I presume they hoped that he would become the new Gordon The Gopher but he vanished after the first series, and he was replaced by some leprechaun puppets called Sage and Onion. vlcsnap-00923

Like & Kicking had all the usual features such as computer games reviews, showbiz news, cartoons including Rugrats, competitions with big prizes and star interviews. Run The Risk also continued and every pop group wanted to be on the show, with Take That seemingly appearing every week at one point. A magazine was also published that was popular although I never bought it myself. vlcsnap-00924

The show carried on like this for a while until the end of the third series when Andi and Emma both left. They were replaced by two presenters who were already familiar to CBBC viewers, Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston from The O Zone. They were popular, and a few more changes were made to the show as the series went by, such as a spin-off shown on Friday afternoons and Trevor and Simon leaving in 1997. vlcsnap-00921

At the end of the sixth series both Ball and Theakston left. Somewhat surprisingly, the show did return for a seventh series, making Like & Kicking the first CBBC Saturday Morning show to go beyond six years. Another new presenter duo were introduced, Steve Wilson and Emma Ledden who was also a presenter on MTV at the time. The format was beginning to tire a little by this point though, and the show was now regularly beaten in the ratings by CITV. Even ideas such as hiring Mr Blobby, who even Noel’s House Party had become tired of using by this point, to cause chaos made little difference. vlcsnap-00922

But it still wasn’t over. There was an eighth series, with yet more features and new presenters including Katy Hill who had just left Blue Peter and Sarah Cawood. It had become something of a mess by this point though, with the final editions seemingly presented by whoever has around and it finally all ended with a whimper in 2001. It is a shame that the show had such a disappointing end, maybe they should’ve ended it a few years earlier, but at its peak it did win some awards and like many people I did enjoy watching the early years.

Saturday Morning Memories – Motormouth.

Motormouth (CITV, 1988-1992)

It’s about time for another look back at a Saturday Morning show. Motormouth, which replaced the long-running No. 73 as CITV’s main Saturday Morning show, was a memorable show which featured various changes to the format over the years. There were several presenters, with good old Neil Buchanan being the only one to host for the whole run of the show. It was another show that had the usual features such as showing cartoons including The Real Ghostbusters and all the hottest pop groups of the time being interviewed in the studio, along with a few other enjoyable things. mouth0001

In the first series, as well as Saturdays, Motormouth was also shown on Sundays. There was a big inflatable mouth in the studio too. There was also a comedy spin-off called, er, Spin-Off. This was a parody of soap operas that was supposedly set behind the scenes of the show and featured some familiar faces including Richard “Cuthbert Lilly” Waites, Wendy “Wizadora I“, Van Der Plank, Joe “Spatz” Greco, and Roger Sloman, who has been in lots of things, including recently appearing in EastEnders, playing the crazy characters. vlcsnap-00918

By the second series new presenters Gaby Roslin (long before The Big Breakfast) and Steve Johnson joined the show. He was memorable because he hosted the games on the show in a rather crazy style. These included It’s Torture! and Gunge ‘Em In The Dungeon. In later series these were replaced by Mouse Trap, a version of the famous board game, which featured an enormous green flipping over man thing and everything, and there were lots of great prizes on offer for contestants. vlcsnap-00919

In the third series Andy Crane, having recently left the CBBC broom cupboard, joined the presenters line-up, and the format changed again to now look like it was coming from a diner. I do remember there being a regular competition around this time where viewers could write in and win a can which said “Steve’s Brain” on it which was all rather odd. vlcsnap-00916

In the final series there was another spin-off feature which this time was a look behind the scenes, which seemed to take up a lot of the show. Every week the production staff interacted with the various guests who would be appearing on the show, and there were also various plotlines. The cast members included Carla “Sophie II” Mendonca and Siobhan “Benidorm” Finneran. Wow, it was so crazy. Also in this series Neil hosted a celebrity edition of Finders Keepers, with various stars raiding the rooms. vlcsnap-00917

Motormouth ran for four series and was produced by TVS. Although it was a show that I did enjoy watching it doesn’t seem to have lingered in the memory with many viewers as long as its rival Going Live! which was shown on CBBC at the same time, although it had good ratings. This is unfortunate as it definitely had some great moments and there are lots of clips available to watch online, including just about the whole of the final series.

Saturday Morning Memories – Tricky.

Tricky (CITV, 1997)

This was a fairly short-lived show so this part won’t be that long but it did happen and I do have some memories of watching it.

Nothing to do with trip-hop musicians from Bristol, Tricky was different to other Saturday Morning shows in that it didn’t have a host at all. Well, not a human one at least, because Tricky was actually a computer-generated dragon. The show was live so he was voiced by somebody and Tricky moved his mouth in response. vlcsnap-00137

It all sounds very clever but the guy who voiced Tricky had an irritating “way-hey!”-talking style and they only seemed to have made about five frames of animation meaning that Tricky barely moved at all. At least as far as I’m aware he never crashed live on air. vlcsnap-00140

Tricky got off to a tough start. The first episode was on 30 August 1997, and we all know what happened the next day, meaning the planned second episode the following week was cancelled for coverage of Diana’s funeral. Someone also thought along the way that the show might work better with a human host added so none other than Claudia Winkleman was dropped in to host some outside live events where people could play games and win prizes and Tricky would always amusingly get her name wrong. vlcsnap-00136

Among the usual features of cartoons such as Animaniacs and pop videos, one part of the show that I remember was “Tricky Questions”, where our host would ask some pop stars about their latest record and so on. Gary Barlow seemed to turn up a lot at this point. However, the segments with the guests were pre-recorded, and because Tricky was dropped in asking his questions live all the interviews had a rather disjointed style. vlcsnap-00138

Tricky was a one series wonder and left the screen at the end of 1997. Once again unfortunately for CITV they had another flop Saturday Morning show on their hands.