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 – The Big Breakfast.

The Big Breakfast (Channel 4, 1992-2002)

About four years after The Channel 4 Daily started, the decision was made to launch a new entertainment breakfast show which would go on to be a big success. The Big Breakfast was a live show that every weekday for two hours would feature a lively mix of interviews, news, cartoons and lots more. The show came from a big house in Bow and it was produced by Bob Geldof’s production company Planet 24. This review isn’t going to be a comprehensive history of the show, I’ll just be sharing a few memories.

The choice of hosts for the show were important and helped to get the show off to a good start. There was Chris Evans who I remember watching on a short-lived show on TV-am so I knew that he was going to be a good choice, and he was alongside Gaby Roslin who presented a few series of the CITV Saturday Morning show Motormouth. They did work very well together and when they came along in 1992 they certainly made the final few months of TV-am look rather dull by comparison. vlcsnap-01026

They were joined by Paula Yates who would always end the show by interviewing a big star on her bed, the latest news coverage from Peter Smith, Mark Lamarr out and about, and the crazy puppet duo Zig And Zag who had already been a big success on TV in Ireland and were always reliable for a laugh. There were so many great moments in the early days that there was even a VHS released of the best moments. vlcsnap-01292

Part of the reason the show was so successful was because Chris enjoyed going to great lengths to entertain and of course I liked the game show element where viewers could phone in to win prizes in such memorable games as Stop The Mop and Guess The Mess. Unfortunately Chris’s appearances towards the end became very sporadic, partly because he was working on Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, and it was a great shame when he left in 1994. Gaby left a couple of years later, and there were various other hosts in this era including Danny Baker, Mark Little, Paul Ross, Keith Chegwin, Richard Orford and Zoe Ball. By 1996 the format was beginning to get a little tired so it was time for a change. vlcsnap-01027

So a new look was introduced, with new presenters, a redecorated house and new features. The main host of this era was Rick Adams, but unfortunately he wasn’t very popular with viewers although I liked him and he didn’t last long. Other presenters around this time included Lily Savage, Sharron Davies and Vanessa Feltz. Denise Van Outen did do better though and when she was teamed up with Johnny Vaughan who joined in 1997 they created the best double act since the Chris and Gaby days, clearly enjoying the features that they hosted, with one memorable moment being Johnny’s amusing thoughts on the day’s news. vlcsnap-01024

Also during the holidays there was The Bigger Breakfast, an extended version of the show featuring more cartoons. After Denise left, she was replaced by the likes of Kelly Brook and Liza Tarbuck, and in 2000 she was persuaded to return, and Johnny and Denise finally left in 2001, going on to host a few other shows. Clearly someone thought that it was time for another year zero relaunch. vlcsnap-01025

So just like 1996 there was another redecoration of the house and another bunch of new presenters turned up including Paul Tonkinson, Amanda Byram. and Donna Air. Again it wasn’t a big success, and again it went back to the early format of the show, with the likes of Snap, Cackle and Pop returning, and one more wave of new presenters coming along including Richard Bacon. However, I had stopped watching by this point, and it seems that a lot of other people did too, and in 2002 after almost a decade the show finally ended. vlcsnap-01227

The Big Breakfast in its earliest days was a very good show and I felt that it was entirely what Channel 4 should be doing, but crazes come and go and the show had clearly run out of steam by the end. However, it certainly lasted longer than its replacement and all they show in the breakfast slot nowadays is endless repeats of sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.