Posts Tagged 'TV'

Teletubbies

Probably the stupidest kids TV show in history. I mean seriously, a bunch of weird characters with antennas and television screens in their bellies, running around a fake landscape with a pet hoover. And people say cannabis should be legalised? Teletubbies began in 1997 and when I first saw it I immediately hated it. After a few months it took off, making Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po huge stars across the nation. How was it educational to kids? They just used to roll around on the floor, being fascinated with windmills and speakers that appeared from the ground and have the worse grasp of speech since Steven Hawking. They used to gorge on Tubby Custard and Tubby Toast, scoffing it down as fast as James Cordon at a free buffet. But I guess this is what toddlers are like, and that is probably why the Teletubbies scare me now just like young kids. Anytime anyone under the age of six is around me, I freeze like Gordon Brown on a live television debate and just don’t know what to do with them. If a burglar appeared in my house dressed as Po I’d end up handing over my valuables. I wasn’t the only one who found the Teletubbies unappealing. Anti-gay groups slammed Tinky Winky as he was purple and carried around a handbag with him at most times. The show’s creators claimed he wasn’t gay but come on, he’s as queer as Alan Carr dancing to the YMCA at Mardi Gras holding a sparkler. I’m sure Alan would have got on well with Noo-Noo, the sucking sensation. If only Dyson could have come up with a vacuum that goes round cleaning stuff itself, and considering the mess that the frightful foursome made he had his work cut out. Then there was the baby who appeared as the Sun, who I’m sure these days must be being treated for a severe case of melanoma. They released a single in December 1997 which reached number one for two weeks and went double platinum. Who would buy such a thing you may ask? Well, I’ll confess that I did, but only to spite my sister who desperately wanted Boyzone to hit top spot in the same week, honest! The show ended production in 2001 but continues to be repeated to this day, and so more and more kids will end up saying “Eh oh!”, spitting their food everywhere and having to say goodbye to people three times, and it is all down to those creepy characters. It just goes to show that nothing good can ever come from the countryside…

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.

South Park

It seems like a good time to write an article about a show that will celebrate its 200th episode this week, but whilst South Park continues to mock celebrities and warp our fragile little minds with its crude humour, it took off towards the end of the 90s.

The show revolves around a core group of four friends, Cartman, Kenny, Kyle and Stan in their small redneck town called South Park in Colorado. There are many other characters who also feature prominently and attracted me to the show in its infancy.

South Park began being shown in the UK on Sky One in 1998 and would be on well past my bedtime, however when it began a year later on Channel 4 me and my friends could enjoy it in the comfort from our rooms, and without our parents knowing.

The show was riddled with swearing, sexual references and other profanity, indeed Mr Hankey was a talking poo and Kenny was brutally killed in most of the early episodes. But the 10 year old me loved it despite most of the references going straight over my innocent head.

When we went on holiday a few months later me and my sister put it on the telly before we went out one night, and my folks were stunned when Stan was asked to put a stick in his girlfriend’s “pee-hole”. But noticing our naivety they just burst out laughing and enjoyed the show themselves.

And then came the t-shirts, posters, CDs and all the other merchandise as South Park became huge for a generation of kids who really didn’t know what it was about. When we saw the movie we were all totally confused about references to “finding the clitoris”, but thankfully for my former girlfriends I found out eventually.

And so the episodes racked up and we were introduced to cripple fights, authori-tah and “mmm-kay” over the years. Many of you will have your favourite moments but for me the episode with Jimmy desperately trying to get over his problem to perform on stage is pure genius, click here to see it.

Over recent years the show has sometimes come across as quite preachy and too satirical, and I still think the older episodes are the best where every character was made from bits of paper and filmed. However it is still one of the funniest shows on television and is sure to have a few more years in it yet.

At the end of many shows, Stan says to Kyle “you know what, I’ve learnt something today” and South Park taught me and many of my fellow 10 year old pals how to swear properly, how to take the piss out of celebrities and the female genitalia. And for that I am entirely thankful.

Gladiators

I couldn’t face the challenge of the champions, didn’t have the courage of a hero or the will and the skill, but I did feel the power of the Gladiators every Saturday night. Beefed up men and women would hit each other with spongy sticks, climb up rock walls and chase each other around an arena in lycra, and I loved it.

The show began in 1992 and was presented by the unlikely couple of Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu, a strange choice of presenter as he was still a footballer at the time, and a mediocre one at that. Today’s equivalent would be Titus Bramble giving it a go, and with his terrible concentration levels that could only be a recipe for disaster.

But somehow Fash the Bash got through it, and the show would become a huge success, mainly thanks to the antics of some of the nastier Gladiators, including the legendary Wolf. His snarling, mean attitude often led to many a confrontation with the contenders, and would have to be tamed by referee John Anderson and his whistle.

The games themselves were amazing, but the warnings about not trying it at home were needless. After all, who has as a Scalextric set or loads of rings hanging from their ceiling, or a couple of giant balls to roll around in? We did used to copy a couple of games which usually involved throwing tennis balls at people, but only ended in pain.

It was also famous for the scandal surrounding it. Tales of cocaine, steroids, guns and horrific injuries flooded the national tabloids, and there was even a fling between Hunter and Ulrika. I’d love to see her other old flame Sven Goran Eriksson take on Hunter in the arena, it would be funny to see him get ripped apart for a change rather than his defences.

The show always ended with the Eliminator, which pitted the two contestants against each other in a race, and was always very exciting. After climbing up cargo nets, hurtling along a handbike and zooming down a zipline you would have to face the toughest challenge, the Travelator, which meant that even the biggest of advantages could be wiped out.

After running for eight years and featuring many spin-offs, the show ended in 2000. It was recently brought back on Sky One but struggled to live up to original’s high standards, and rather than being like a Wolf, the big man just looked like one of those scabby stray dogs you see in foreign countries.

It may be that we never see the likes of Gladiators again in this health and safety obsessed nanny state, meaning our chances of wielding a pugil stick in anger at a jacked-up beefcake are sadly over before they even had a chance to begin.

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.

SM:TV Live

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.

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.


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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!