Remember The Big Breakfast?
Before the likes of Piers and Susanna ruled the breakfast television airwaves, The Big Breakfast was waking the nation up with a smile. Both ground-breaking and influential, it redefined the way in which television was produced forever. With the recent news that Channel 4 are set to revive the programme for a one-off special next year with Mo Gilligan at the helm, let's take a look back at the show where life started at seven.
Look up the definition of 1990’s television in any half decent encyclopaedia and the chances are you’ll see The Big Breakfast staring back up a you in all of it’s garish glory.
An essential slice of early morning viewing for anybody young at heart enough not to express an interest in the likes of BBC Breakfast News or the sofa led fluff over on ITV, The Big Breakfast rewrote the rule book when it came to live television. Ditching the traditional spacious studio in favour of a real house next to Old Ford Lock in East London and encouraging the traditionally unseen production crew to become an integral part of the on-screen action.
Loud, brash and very much tabloid in tone, The Big Breakfast made household names of many of the occupiers of Lock Keepers Cottages over the years. Chris Evans, Gaby Roslin, Mark Little, Johnny Vaughan, Denise Van Outen, Richard Bacon and of course Zig & Zag. Every one of them an integral part of what made the show absolutely essential viewing.
Of course, they didn’t always get it right. An ill-fated relaunch in 1996 saw Olympic swimmer Sharon Davis shoehorned into the presenter’s role and everything that had previously made The Big Breakfast so unique stripped back in favour of a cold, clinical on-screen appearance and GMTV style lifestyle features. This proved extremely unpopular with viewers and the changes were eventually undone, resulting in arguably the most fondly remembered era of the programme with Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen at the helm.
Another reinvention was attempted in 2001. This time with Paul Tonkinson, Amanda Byram and Donna Air placed centre stage. But despite the changes bringing the programme kicking and screaming into the 21st century it wasn’t enough to halt the decline. And so, with viewing figures floundering the decision was eventually made to put the show out of its misery.
That’s not to say that The Big Breakfast isn’t fondly remembered, and its influence is still very much evident in many a present-day production.
For those that watched it though it’s the outlandish features, the silly games, the colourful house and the spontaneous moments that really resonate. So here are some of the most memorable moments from The Big Breakfast’s nine-and-a-half-year history.