Every Saturday morning, my alarm clock would go off at 9.25. Bleary eyed, I’d reach out, grab my remote control and press 3. I would hear those opening titles and only then could my weekend officially begin.
SM:TV Live was the perfect start to my two-day freedom from school each week. After being a Live and Kicking fan for the majority of the 90s, I was straight away hooked to the new show when it launched in 1998 as its presenters were the best thing to happen to TV since John Logie Baird.
Ant and Dec had started out in Byker Grove and moved into music before starting their presenting days. After a couple of poor kids shows on CBBC they landed their roles on SM:TV along with the gorgeous Cat Deeley and set about making it as entertaining as possible.
The only downside was the programmes they showed during it. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was watchable, but stuff like Pokemon and Cow and Chicken was pretty lame. The real highlights were the regular features involving the threesome such as the Postbag (I can still do the dance), Eat My Goal and of course, the Poke-rap:
There was also “Chums” which was their parody of “Friends” and used to feature celebrity guests entering Ant, Dec and Cat’s apartment. Every episode would see Dec try and kiss Cat with the immortal line “me and Cat, alone in the flat… I think I’m going to kiss her!” before Ant would pop up and ruin Dec’s moment. This was often packed full of inuendos that went over kids’ heads and gave adults something to chuckle about.
Some of the funniest moments would come during the competitions. If Ant would beat his young opponent in Challenge Ant, he would get up and celebrate in their face as Dec snatched all the prizes away from the devastated contestant, and the amount of abuse Dec gave some callers in Wonkey Donkey who couldn’t quite grasp the concept of rhyming was hilarious.
Throw in CD:UK for an hour afterwards featuring live performances from top bands and it’s no wonder 2.5 million people young and old tuned in each week. After three years the Geordie duo left to begin their primetime presenting duties and ITV tried to keep the show going with new presenters, such as that annoying tosser from Big Brother, and it slowly died on its arse.
After discovering the enjoyment of a Friday night out on the town it’s unlikely I’ll see 9.25am again, however if they started showing repeats of SM:TV instead of whatever drivel they have on now, I’d consider ditching my nights out and dusting off the old alarm clock once again.