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Reminiscing The Big Breakfast

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RE
regvariations
I rated Zoe quite highly but it just didn't work with Mark at all. Was slightly better with Keith but that was never going to be a long term solution. A surprise really that they didn't try her with Richard - to my knowledge he didn't present in the house in between his initial stint with Gaby and hosting with Denise after the 1996 revamp.


I recall Richard did a random day with Zoe one morning. I think they'd sent Mark on the OB to some haunted castle or something. I remember thinking Richard and Zoe worked much better together.
SW
Steve Williams
Zoe is quite candid about how she didn’t enjoy her time on the show. And of course L&K showcased her talent much more. But she was a bit of a disappointment from day one frankly. And after more than three months of pre-publicity before her first show, she was gone within about seven months I think.

I hope Steve Williams has more to say on this, but the show presumably chose to save Zoe and sacrifice Mark.....yet he had been the more loyal servant and possibly had more to give.


Well, here I am. As you say, Zoe didn't have a very good time on the show, she said in interviews afterwards that they just wanted her to be like Gaby, making her wear suits and even doing her hair a bit like Gaby, to the extent she ended up wondering why they even hired her if they didn't want her to do it in her own way but just wanted another Gaby. And Mark seemingly never rated her, I remember reading at the time (as I submitted to Morning Glory) that it all started to go wrong around March when they won a TRIC award (which illustrates how hopeless those awards are, it shouldn't have been winning anything in those days) and in the acceptance speech Mark made great play of mentioning Gaby and how good she'd been, and Zoe considered that a bit of an insult, which is fair enough I think.

But Mark had nearly left a year before, because when they got in Paul Ross and then Richard Orford, Mark wisely thought, "well, that's it for me, then", assuming he'd be out when his contract expired and hence arranging his Edinburgh run and his stand-up tour, and it was only when Richard Orford flopped that he got a reprieve. And when Zoe started, there was a piece in Sky magazine (the old unisex mag for twentysomethings) where she was on the cover, but there was also a brief interview with Mark where he said he was surprised to still be on the show, let alone the main presenter.

In the end, the chemistry was so bad it could never carry on, and Zoe was more famous so it was Mark that had to go, as ever on that show abruptly disappearing and never being mentioned again, no matter how stupid it looked.
SO
Soupnzi Recently warned London London
Thanks as ever Steve. I can’t quite remember when Mark Little disappeared but there was an awful on-air moment the day after the Dunblane shooting (which was March 1996) where he had to apologise for the ident shown at 0700 where he fired bullets at the screen in the shape of the then C4 logo. Obviously those bits of continuity are pre-planned but I never saw a BB presenter ever get as (rightly) angry/emotional as that.

I don’t remember him after that and not in any way suggesting it contributed (which it wouldn’t have done), but it was a sour note right at the very end of his BB career.
JB
JasonB London London
Peter Kay hosts here with Melanie Sykes in the Summer of 1998. Anyone know what he's fiddling with when they start the menu at 01.45?

Have you washed your hands?
VM
VMPhil Granada North West Today
Thanks as ever Steve. I can’t quite remember when Mark Little disappeared but there was an awful on-air moment the day after the Dunblane shooting (which was March 1996) where he had to apologise for the ident shown at 0700 where he fired bullets at the screen in the shape of the then C4 logo. Obviously those bits of continuity are pre-planned but I never saw a BB presenter ever get as (rightly) angry/emotional as that.

I don’t remember him after that and not in any way suggesting it contributed (which it wouldn’t have done), but it was a sour note right at the very end of his BB career.

Not sure I've ever seen that ident surface online - it mustn't have been used very often or for long.
SW
Steve Williams
Thanks as ever Steve. I can’t quite remember when Mark Little disappeared but there was an awful on-air moment the day after the Dunblane shooting (which was March 1996) where he had to apologise for the ident shown at 0700 where he fired bullets at the screen in the shape of the then C4 logo. Obviously those bits of continuity are pre-planned but I never saw a BB presenter ever get as (rightly) angry/emotional as that.

I don’t remember him after that and not in any way suggesting it contributed (which it wouldn’t have done), but it was a sour note right at the very end of his BB career.


Yes, I remember this (and mentioned it to Morning Glory). As you say, this was a C4 ident, one of the ones they did around that time with C4 personalities, where he fired four bullets at the camera, which seemingly and disastrously wasn't taken off the schedule and played out at 7am the morning after Dunblane. They must have had a load of complaints because a bit later that morning Little did an apology, as you say getting quite emotional, and he said "I can't believe that went out", suggesting he didn't know why they were playing it at 7am anyway because he said he'd been told it was only going to be used later in the evening around suitable programming. I think after that they stopped using it completely.

As you say, it didn't have anything to do with his departure, but as I've said before, that morning rather illustrated the failings of the current state of The Big Breakfast. While it always had problems the morning after a major tragedy to get the tone right, it really seemed to struggle that morning, there were really awkward gear changes and, while it's nice to have something a bit lighter when there's been very bad news, everything seemed a bit crass. Before that they'd managed to cope a bit better but it felt like the show was rather creaking at the seams and the current team weren't very adept at dealing with things like that.

I do vividly remember around this time there was a bit where Mark Little linked into an item and then when the camera cut to it you could clearly hear him swearing massively - either at himself for messing it up or someone else. But they never mentioned it again. Maybe nobody else was watching.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I'm surprised they did a show the morning after the Dunblane tragedy. I remember Chris Evans was on Radio 1 just playing music and popping up to link to the news.
Write that down in your copybook now.
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
It was only after Sept 11th it got pulled due to events of the time, and arguably had the show been in a stronger position at the time that wouldn't have happened anyway, certainly not all three days.

I think as This Morning often shows that entertainment and magazine based formats can be just as important as news coverage during events of national importance and, as The Big Breakfast did after Diana died, they give a chance to look at the event from the perspective of the people rather than the politics. And as we're seeing now a show that brings a brief respite from the tragedies of the real world has it's place too.
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
SW
Steve Williams
It was only after Sept 11th it got pulled due to events of the time, and arguably had the show been in a stronger position at the time that wouldn't have happened anyway, certainly not all three days.


Yes, and of course the show had already been axed by then so C4 weren't particularly bothered about keeping it on air. Of course during the second Gulf War there was a morning edition of Channel Four News but RI:SE continued running from 8.10-9.30, which seemed such a waste of time.

The Big Breakfast was probably quite lucky in its early days that there didn't seem to be many major news stories or tragedies (or I was a stupid kid who didn't watch the news enough) and I certainly don't recall them actually mentioning the news that much. It would have been interesting to see how Chris and Gaby would have dealt with it. Dunblane was probably the first time there was a really big and serious news story and the whole thing just looked a bit crass. I know it's good to have some kind of normality, especially as many kids would have been baffled and bemused by the whole thing and it would have upset them, but it just didn't seem to fit, there were really awkward gear changes between the extended news bulletins and the usual stupid Big Breakfast business.

It reminds me of the bit on It Started With Swap Shop where Mike Read talked about doing Saturday SuperStore on the morning after the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster (which I vividly remember, mostly because it meant SuperStore started an hour late), and talking about the challenges they had that morning in terms of coming off the back of a newsflash to the usual Saturday morning fare, trying to make things seem as normal and as light-hearted as possible, and then bringing it back down again to go back to the news. It's not something I'd relish anyone having to do, but Mike said the Beeb were very pleased with how they pitched it, and they were pleased the Beeb trusted them to do it.

I think had The Big Breakfast been in better shape around that time, it might have coped a bit better, but I think it illustrated that the Big Breakfast format as it stood was getting a bit tired and it really wasn't suitable for occasions like this, and the presenters and production team didn't really have the skills to make it hang a bit better.

Of course the Channel 4 News shows after 9/11 in place on The Big Breakfast did have an impact on the future of that slot because it was during the period they were commissioning its replacement, and when they saw how well that worked as a breakfast show they decided that the new show should have much more news than they were originally anticipating. Which presumably is one reason why RI:SE got it, as Sky News was involved.
RE
regvariations
Wasn't the show's future still in limbo when 9/11 happened, with C4 considering replacement formats, one of which was a reworked BB? I'm sure the show wasn't officially axed for another few months (late Nov/early Dec?) and they made a point of talking about it on air.
SW
Steve Williams
Wasn't the show's future still in limbo when 9/11 happened, with C4 considering replacement formats, one of which was a reworked BB? I'm sure the show wasn't officially axed for another few months (late Nov/early Dec?) and they made a point of talking about it on air.


Planet 24 had a clause in the contract that they would have a year's notice of the show being axed, and would also have the right to make a pilot for the replacement. By 9/11 they'd already started the process of requesting pitches for its replacement, which Planet 24 would have been a part of, though I would assume that had Planet 24 retained the contract it wouldn't just be to continue with The Big Breakfast, it would be a completely revamped show. So by this point it was pretty clear it wouldn't be carrying on for much longer in that form.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Didn't Chris Moyles do a pilot for a revamped Big Breakfast or something like that? I remember some clips surfacing a few years ago.

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