Archive for the 'Celebrities' Category

Flat Eric

Probably the third biggest yellow star of the decade behind Bart Simpson and the girl who drank too much Sunny Delight, Flat Eric was as fly as the zip on your Levi’s jeans.

The head-popping puppet was created by French music producer/director Mr Oizo and began life as Stephane, a puppet almost identical to Flat Eric but with ears and fixed hands. Stephane appeared in some short films directed by Oizo and developed a small following in France and Britain.

With Levi’s struggling during the decade as sales of denim dropped due to the growth of combat trousers, they selected Oizo to produce an advertising campaign around Stephane. After a few alterations by the same company that produced “The Muppets” Flat Eric was born.

The character got his name as the original plan was to have his head run over by a car, but probably after seeing Brian Conley’s career go into freefall due to puppet abuse they decided that Eric would instead be featured on the run from police, along with his friend Angel in a series of ads in 1999.

The real popularity came though when Eric was seen headbanging along to one of Mr Oizo’s songs in the car as he and Angel drove along. The track was called “Flat Beat” and after public it was released as a record and reached number one in March 1999.

Due to the Flat Eric craze, Levi’s even scrapped their “one advert and you’re out” rule and our little yellow friend returned in a series of ads continuing to avoid the police. The campaign worked as sales of Levi’s Sta-Pressed One Crease trousers rocketed and helped the company get back on track.

Following the adverts, and the avalanche of merchandise that inevitably followed, Flat Eric disappeared only appearing on “The Office” as a prop and alongside David Soul in an Auto Trader advert. Further research reveals that he has turned into an alcoholic and drunkenly spends time spinning around in a washing machine.

Even though it looks like Eric has gone off the rails, here’s to hoping that he does indeed make a triumphant return after a spell in rehab like every other celebrity, and returns to being one of the world’s best headbangers alongside Wayne and Garth once again.


Pat Sharp

The man with the worst mullet in the history of television, Pat Sharp appeared on both our TV screens and through our ghettoblaster radios throughout the late 80s and early 90s, but it will be his career in kids entertainment that he’s best remembered for.

After beginning his career on Radio 1, Radio Mercury and Capital FM he presented “Top of the Pops” before landing the best job on telly. If anyone asked you if you wanted to present a show featuring go karts, fireworks and a pair of gorgeous twins how could you turn that down?

“Fun House” began in 1989 and ran for 10 years on CITV and as its theme tune said it was a whole lot of fun with prizes to be won, and where you had to use your body and your brain if you want to play the game, It was such a hit that up to eight million people would watch it each week.

Contestants would go through three gunge-filled challenges and answered questions to gain extra points before the Fun Kart grand-prix, where they would take it in turns to drive around the track at a ridiculously slow speed and grab ribbons. The winners would then go into the Funhouse at the end where they could win cool prizes.

I can’t remember a kid not enjoying “Fun House” and even though the cheerleader twins called Melanie and Martina seemed to be only able to count to five they were as popular as Pat himself. He still claims to this day that he never enjoyed a bit of a ménage-trios in the ball pool with them but c’mon Pat your not fooling anyone!

Sharp’s success on the show led to him presenting a Saturday morning show called “What’s Up Doc” that featured Warner Brothers cartoons such as “The Animaniacs”, as well as new bands including Take That and East 17.

After then hosting a kids quiz show titled “Hang On!” where they could actually win decent prizes such as a holiday, Sharp’s presenting days ended after “Fun House” was pulled in 1999. He returned to radio and currently works at Heart 103 in Cambridge.

He tried unsuccessfully to re-make an adult version of “Fun House” a few years ago featuring Club 18-30 style games, but it was rejected by ITV which annoys me. If smut-filled drivel like “Loose Women” can be broadcast why can’t a revamped classic? I’d much rather seen the twins still looking great in their 40s rather than some aging old slappers talking crap and struggling to get a bloke.

Pat featured on Channel 4’s “The Games” and “X Factor – Battle of the Stars” in recent years, however his place in 90s nostalgia is secured with the wackiest, zaniest kids show ever, and he certainly put the fun back into everyone’s houses right through the decade.

Sonic The Hedgehog

Imagine being able to run faster than Usain Bolt, spinning more than Shane Warne and as being as blue as Eiffel 65 wanted you to be. That’s the world that Sonic the Hedgehog lives in, and he was one of the biggest stars of the decade.

After Nintendo had launched Super Mario as their mascot of sorts, Sega decided to respond. At the time the figurehead of their company was a character called Alex Kidd, who looked like the lovechild of Ian Brown and Superted. Noticing how stupid he looked, Sega decided a change was needed.

After rejecting an armadillo, a Theodore Roosevelt look-alike and a rabbit, Sonic was thankfully chosen. Blue was chosen to reflect the Sega logo, and whilst his shoes were inspired by Michael Jackson his personality was to mirror Bill Clinton’s. Thankfully Sonic was never caught shagging his co-workers and went about saving the world.

Sonic first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog, the first of his games released on the Sega Megadrive. Subsequent sequels would follow as the games proved incredibly popular, and are still classics to this day. Indeed, I just spent an enjoyable hour playing this game which I stumbled across. Well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?

Soon there would be Sonic The Comic, and his television show was so good that even though it was shown at 6.30am on Channel Four, me and my sister used to watch it religiously. His likeness would appear on Formula One cars, football shirts and everywhere else in between. In a short period of time Sonic had conquered the world.

He was also a hero to me as despite being able to run as fast as the speed of sound, a misled assumption that hedgehogs couldn’t swim by one of his creators meant Sonic freaks out when he gets near water, just like myself. However he can use his speed to run across large bodies of water, whereas I just splash around trying to keep myself afloat.

Despite this flaw Sonic and his buddies would continue to save the world throughout the decade, and has been voted numerous times as everyone’s favourite computer game character. This popularity continues to grow as recently more Sonic games have been released and his legacy continues.

Whilst many of the other stars of the 1990s have disappeared without a trace, even though he is a cartoon character Sonic will live on forever, and generation after generation will be able to enjoy the wonders of the spiky little fella. Now, time for another hour of collecting rings and keeping that Robotnik guy at bay…

Dave Benson Phillips

The man with the most amazing laugh and crazy facial expressions, Dave Benson Phillips was the king of kid’s TV during the 90s, mainly for covering annoying adults with gunge on his show “Get Your Own Back”.

DBP was born in 1965 and struggled to find his feet in the entertainment industry, with his first jobs including being a Blue Coat at Butlins, a street entertainer and  busking on the streets of London with Eddie Izzard.

He then landed a role with the BBC in 1989 where he started presenting the Playground Stop on “Playdays”, educating me in sign language. As I was about three years old I though he was some crazy guy just throwing his arms around the place like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man, or me busting shapes on the dancefloor.

Soon after he started on GYOB, and for those who have never seen the show two kids would nominate an adult who had committed a crime, usually something trivial like making them tidy their room. They would then partake in a number of wacky games until one kid won and their adult was thrown into gunge in the Gunk Dunk.

The show ran for an impressive 14 years from 1989 to 2003 and it was compulsive viewing for me when I got home from school and wanted some light relief. My favourite moment was when Dave himself got gunged on the Christmas special by Mr Blobby, as he got all his questions wrong as Blobby himself asked them.

Sadly Dave isn’t seen as much on telly these days, but there was a rumour that Dave used to do the links in a comedy style for the adult channel Babestation. After some research I have found this to be false, but I only wish that it did happen as it would give me a valid reason to watch it…

DBP currently sells a lot of products on his website such as a CD with times tables played to music and is on Twitter and Myspace. His website also allows toddlers to send in their pictures and have them uploaded in his art gallery, something I just had to try out in sixth form and got a bollocking from my head of year.

Unbelievably, it’s featured in this tribute video to the great man himself, pause it 0.55 in –  a good effort don’t you think?

With Dave and his Gunk Tank now confined to television history (although he does tour university campuses gunging willing students) the world may be a cleaner place – but is indeed lesser for it.

Jeremy Beadle

Watch out, Beadle’s about! A broadcasting legend, Jeremy Beadle was weekend TV during the 90s, competing with the likes of Noel Edmonds and Jim Davidson for our viewing pleasure during the golden age of British television.

Born in 1948, Beadle lived a crazy life before he burst onto our screens in the 80s. After being expelled from secondary school, his first jobs included photographing topless models, a diving instructor, toilet attendant and a tour guide around London.

He was finally handed a job in entertainment, but on the other hand he nearly dropped it, beginning as a writer before hosting his own radio show and then moving into telly. His major hit was “Beadle’s About” where he would play pranks on unsuspecting members of the general public. I used to love the show and it was guaranteed comedy gold.

The pranks were always so elaborate and done on a huge scale so that the victim would feel that it couldn’t possibly be faked until Beadle would appear in disguise and reveal himself.

The one everyone seems to remember was when some woman discovered a UFO in her garden and offered an alien a cup of tea. The show would always make you wonder what you would do in that situation, and in this case I very much doubt I’d be offering a visitor a cuppa, more like getting the hell away from it.

Nothing was safe from Beadle’s attempts, even weddings and undertakers’ offices were attacked, with one undertaker even being rumbled for accidently spilling some ashes down the sink and replacing them in the urn with burnt newspaper.

Beadle was also the original host of “You’ve Been Framed” which has long since gone downhill since Lisa Riley wedged herself into the hotseat towards the end of the decade.  Jeremy then had one last decent show called “Win Beadle’s Money” where he took on contests in a general knowledge battle and rarely lost.

And then he was gone as ITV began to deteriorate, only appearing sporadically throughout the next eight years before sadly suffering with pneumonia and dying in January 2008.

It’s a shame that any time something goes wrong in life now you know that the great man himself isn’t going to pop up and tell you it’s just a joke, but he will always be fondly remembered by the British public as the man who brought laughter into our living rooms throughout the 90s.

Mr Blobby

There have been some unlikely TV heroes over time. Indeed when you look back at Ant and Dec’s careers no-one would have thought that they’d make the impact they have when they first appeared on the scene as PJ and Duncan in “Byker Grove”.

And then there’s Mr Blobby. Struggling myself to try and describe him to anyone who had never seen him before I looked at Wikipedia for guidance. And what did they say?

A large pink blob, covered with yellow spots, sporting a permanent toothy grin and jiggling eyes.

Now I thought he was an alien but maybe not, he’s a blob. But a terribly amusing blob at that. With the amount of rubbish on Saturday night TV these days (excluding “The Cube” and “Take Me Out”) “Noel’s House Party” was a must see. Think “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeway” but 10 times funnier and original. And with a purple and yellow blob.

Mr Blobby would appear on the show and just cause mayhem. He used to fall down a lot and could only say the word “blobby”. Even with these gravitational and speech impediments he was the scourge of Noel Edmunds, and anyone who irritates Noel gets a tick in my book. But the viewers loved him and so he just had to release a record which reached number one twice!

Well it was Christmas and people do go crazy but Blobby had conquered the charts. And then he conquered the high street with numerous Blobby themed merchandise hitting the shelves. I for one was a fan of his drink, even though looking back a drink pink in colour surely wasn’t good for a hyperactive child.

But following the demise of “Noel’s House Party” in 1999 Mr Blobby disappeared off our screens. His originally popularity had gone and with Zig and Zag and Flat Eric stealing his thunder there was no room left in the hearts of the British public for Blobby, and so the costume was dumped in BBC storage never to be seen again.

But looking at television now there is a noticeable lack of these non-human characters and with producers running out of fresh ideas he may well be back one day. And quoting the great blob himself he’d most probably suggest “Blobby Blobby Blobby!”.

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About me

Hi I'm Jonny, creator of this blog. Like most people in my generation, I feel that the 90s were indeed an epic decade and this is my tribute to all the things that made it great!