The ITV Chart Show

In many ways this was ITV’s answer to top of the pops or perhaps a way of capturing the MTV experience in an hour on Saturday Mornings.

The programme featured music videos from the various chart toppers if the week. There was on screen information alongside which when I was younger only the animations were of interest but as I grew older the information contained within was somewhat of interest.

The on screen graphics and information from the mid-90s straight from an Amiga computer.

The programme was a constant throughout my childhood as my Dad was a big music fan and missing it was probably unthinkable. Even as I got older and watched Live and Kicking it was rare I ever got to see the phone-in at the end of the programme.

The chart show is the kind of programme I would probably appreciate more now than I did then only with the same songs they used to play. As a child music was not so important to me, least of all chart music.

As well as the main singles chart – it was the Saturday Chart and therefore often differed from the main chart on Sunday, there were other charts like the Indie Chart and Album Chart.

The graphics would often change but the format was stellar. Top of the Pops 2 owes a lot to the programme. Eventually it was Ant and Dec and a live music programme, CD:UK that would see the programme end.

Just incase you couldn’t tell with the Twix logo all over the title sequence.

Bonus points for the well integrated Twix sponsorship at the start.

Mad Lizzie

Preschool Ben has many happy memories of getting up and joining in with Mad Lizzie. That’s how she was always known. The fitness person on TV-am who wasn’t really massively mad beyond being eternally happy.

Her workouts were simple and fun and I think that is my overriding memory. Getting up off the sofa early in the morning with my Mum and joining in with this overly cheerful lad and some minor pop act that had been pushed on to join in.

She was fun and bright and never really stopped smiling. When TV-am went off air so did she, for a bit. Then she had a go a pre-school children’s fitness show which I never saw as by then I was an in-schooler.

She could certainly pose!

A couple of years ago she appeared on Loose Women. Not really looking any different and yep still smiling.

Blockbusters

I was a bit young to fully enjoy Blockbuster. I would have struggled to answer a question like “What ‘O’ is the generic word for any living animal or plant, including bacteria and viruses?”.

That question was answered incorrectly with “Orgasm” during a famous outtake, that cheeky sense of humour ran throughout and then there was the host, Bob Holness. His response to the above was to cooly but knowingly say “There are reasons I can’t accept that particular answer”.

A grey haired headmaster-type seems an unusual choice of host for a show that was only one place above a children’s programme. The contestants were sixth-formers. But Bob made for the perfect host.

The gameplay was simple. There was a board with yellow hexagons with letters on which would be the first letter of the answer.

The winner of each game would go through to the Gold Run which had more complicated answers. As a kid I was always hoping the contestant wouldn’t complete the Gold Run so I could hear the (suitable) bad luck music.

There was even a boardgame brought out, which in pre-technology days used bits of cardboard and plastic to recreate the game board. Imagine my excitement when about ten years later (long after the series bit the dust) I got to play it!.

When the series ended in the early 90s it was much missed, not just by me, when BBC2 relaunched it I remember tuning in. Now hosted by Micheal Aspel and with adult contestants it was boring which proves that such a simple format needed the right host to be successful.

I’ll have a P please Bob.

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