1 9 9 2 – 2 0 0 2 (UK)
Departing from the established news and magazine-based format of other breakfast TV shows, The Big Breakfast placed the emphasis on fun from the start, every weekday between 7.00 and 9.00 AM.
Its all-action combination of competitions, interviews, film reviews and music videos was designed to appeal to the younger audience, with news items restrained to brief headlines every 20 minutes (supplied by ITN and read by Peter Smith, Angela Rippon or Phil Gayle).
A real house (three converted lock keeper’s cottages in East London) – and not a typical TV studio – was used for production, adding to the cramped, chaotic atmosphere.
In the early programmes, Bob Geldof (director of the show’s production company, Planet 24) conducted a series of pre-recorded interviews with major figures on the world stage, although these were soon abandoned in favour of more trivial items.
His then-wife, Paula Yates, was also involved, welcoming celebrities into her boudoir and discussing fashion and other issues on her bed (her role was later assumed by Lily Savage and Vanessa Feltz, among others).
A real family joined the programme each week, and Keith Chegwin or Richard Orford spent many mornings interviewing motorists in traffic jams and knocking up families in ‘Down Your Doorstep’.
Other features included ‘Cupid’s Arrow’ (real-life tales of romance), American imports like The Banana Splits, sketches with puppets Zig and Zag (later to star in their own series), and ‘Snap, Crackle and Pop’ (entertainment news).
The first real success story of the programme was host Chris Evans, who became television’s hottest property in the mid-1990s.
Denise Van Outen