The Early Years
The Big Breakfast replaced the Channel 4 Daily, which I watched only for the cartoons. Even though I was still in primary school the appeal of watching The Big Breakfast was much higher.
The programme was aimed at a younger audience overall and was unlike anything else that I had ever seen on television. The entire programme came from a big house that was brightly coloured, anarchic and just generally exciting.
The first hour catered more for the young end of the audience with cartoons like Dennis (which had previously featured on The Channel Four Daily) and The Banana Splits – which seemed odd as it was twenty years old plus and just looked odd to my eyes.
The biggest draw to a kid like me was Zig and Zag, two puppet aliens who lived in the bathroom and had a guest with them plus (usually) the main show host Chris Evans. They’d introduce a cartoon and sometimes music videos.
Their strand was The Crunch, because all of the segments had to have some sort of breakfast related pun, showbiz went under the name of Snap, Cackle and Pop.
They also had Down Your Doorstep. Every morning a presenter (they varied but I mostly remember Keith Chegwin) would be somewhere and knock on a random door to wake someone up and usually do some sort of crazy challenge.
Unlike modern shows, there didnt seem to be any sense of rehearsal to this. Genuinely the door seemed to be chosen at random – sometimes unsuccessfully – which added to the sense of chaos.
They never came to my street but they did come to a street not far from where I lived. I would have loved to have gone and seen TV being made up the road from me but sadly it wasn’t on my route to school.
And that was the great thing for me. The Big Breakfast, for the first time gave me as a kid something I could stick on and enjoy before school and after the 6.30am cartoon that Channel 4 used to show. Which kept me quiet before I would set off for school.
My biggest memory comes from when the show was knocked off air for about half an hour. They showed an episode of The Clangers and a ten minute long Big Breakfast news (which came from a proper TV studio rather than a house) – not bad going seeing as they wouldn’t have had much time to prepare for that.
For me it was the perfect start to my day and if there was any part of it I wasn’t interested in then I would usually put Teletext on and play Bamboozle…