Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1980s Oxford Road Show, The

Oxford Road Show, The

1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 5 (UK)

1981 saw the advent of the longest-lived, and most reviled, of the right-on ‘youth magazine’ programmes which proliferated briefly in the 80s.

Broadcast from the BBC’s Manchester studios on Oxford Road (“opposite Amigo’s Café and just past the faulty traffic lights”), The Oxford Road Show promised to be “a live and lucid look at the week”.

The show featured live music, pop music news and competitions and addressed issues allegedly important to “young adults”.

Presenters Rob Rohrer (an ex-Sunday Times journalist) and former Cambridge Footlights performer Martin Bergman were soon joined by the more youthful Jackie Spreckley and Paula Yates. A rejigged second series was presented by Spreckley and Robert Elms.

Widely mocked and derided by ‘ver kids’ and the media alike, the Oxford Road Show decided to book alternative comics including Ben Elton, Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall (who exacted their revenge the following year in the pilot episode of student sitcom The Young Ones, creating Nozin’ Aroun’ – a painfully hip programme “for young adults, by young adults”).

After that, the show had a drastic clear-out, putting Radio One veteran Peter Powell in charge of “TV’s electronic magazine”, now chummily abbreviated to ORS followed by the year: ie: ORS 84 and ORS 85.

The final 1985 season introduced different celebrity hosts each week and a phone-in ‘Megaquiz’ captained by Timmy Mallett.