1 9 8 7 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
61 x 45 minute episodes
26-year-old newcomer Jonathan Ross made his broadcasting debut as the host of this live late-night chat show from Channel 4, which premiered on Friday 9 January 1987.
As a schoolboy, Ross had appeared as a grubby kid in a Persil advert and so impressed Mike Bolland (who went on to become one of Channel 4’s commissioning editors) that he was given his own show, despite his lack of experience.
The Last Resort was British television’s first attempt at an American-style talk show a la David Letterman, Jay Leno and the like, and it was the first time UK audiences – accustomed to talk shows being dry grown-up affairs from the likes of Parkinson, Wogan and Harty – had experienced such a rebellious and scatter-shot approach.
“Wossy” was joined occasionally by comedian Rowland Rivron as Dr Martin Scrote (“he’s not a doctor, really”) and Kathy Burke as the perennially pregnant Tina Bishop. The original house band was Nick Plytas & Ecstasy, who were replaced by Steve Nieve and The Playboys for the second series.
Guests on the show included Donald Sutherland, Roy Orbison, Sean Connery, Tom Jones, George Harrison, Elton John, Carrie Fisher, Lulu, John Hurt, Meg Ryan, Peter Cook, Eartha Kitt, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Mel Brooks, Mandy Rice-Davies, Nick Lowe, Barbara Windsor, Wendy Richard, Steve Martin, David Frost, Barry Humphries, Percy Sledge, David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Gary Glitter, Malcolm McLaren, Quentin Crisp, Ray Davies of The Kinks, Billy Bragg, Paul Young, Jerry Hall, Tony Blackburn, John Peel, and Paul Merton.
The show was successful for both Channel 4 and Ross, making him a major British TV star.
Nick Plytas & Ecstasy
Steve Nieve and The Playboys
Dr Martin Scrote