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"The BIG Breakfast, Still funny after all these years"

 

1992-1996
On a cold September morning in 1992, people gathered around the TV. After a few weeks of mysterious trailers on Channel 4, something BIG was coming to get them. As the clock reached 7.00am a bright sun rose on their TV screen, and the tune that would soon be burned into their memories lit up the nation.
On September 28 1992 The BIG Breakfast was served. It started as it meant to go on, with original host Chris Evans unsure whether they were still rehearsing or if they were on air, not really surprising seeing as he had only seconds before been found locked in a toilet.
They introduced themselves, and began a tour of the house that would house the show in one form or another for the next 10years. Decorated in bright clashing colours and harsh hues, even on a cold miserable day, it couldn't help but look cheerful, with bright green and yellow walls, and blue curtains, and a bright yellow sofa, it was immediately apparent that this wasn't your ordinary breakfast show.
There was no sofa like their ITV rivals TVAM, or desk like BBC Breakfast News. Only a small TV on the left of two yellow chairs in front of a set of French windows, leading onto a patio. The kitchen was also bright yellow, with fried eggs on the wall, the cupboards on the wall wer e white with oranges on them. In the centre of the deceptively large room was a table, with a group of ordinary people sat around it, they were the 'Family Of The Week' the first in a long line of families invited on to the show, to be the presenter play things for 5 days.
On the other side of a door and window in the kitchen was the hall. Decorated in dark blues and purples, it was one of the darker rooms. With a stair case stretching round 3 of the walls, a huge blue grandfather clock by the red front do or, and various other decorative treats this was one of the rooms used to interview such as the one with the kid who could dislocate his shoulders. At the top of the stairs was a corridor leading to the bedroom and the bathroom.
The bathroom was blue, wh at with the main feature in a bathroom been water, this was home to Zig and Zag, from this location they interviewed celebrities, entertained the nation with Chris Evans, and hid from MI5 who were no doubt looking for the UFO that had been seen over London.
The bedroom was the domain of the late Paula Yates, the infamous on the bed interviewer that would set the standard to all those who followed. Her bedroom was pretty normal compared to some of the future bedrooms, with the main feature been the la rge bed in the centre of the room, with a headboard decorated in green and purple. This room would see some of the most outrageous interviews on Breakfast TV, possibly the first lesbian kiss in breakfast TV history, between Paula and Dawn French.
This era of the show was home to many of the great items that would be used for many years, including Superhints, Anorak of the week, Inventors Corner, Snap Cackle and Pop, and The Crunch. Also many of the classic games originated in this era, such as, one lump or two and get your knobbly nuts out.
But it couldn't last forever, and after a few years on top, Chris Evans left the show, and walked off down the tow path, and was never seen at Bow Locks again.
Ok, Chris had gone, but he was replaced by some one almost as outragouse, Mark Little, everyone's favorite neighbor had moved into everyone's favorite house. With his natural whit and aussie sense of humour, he was perfect for the show, and instant hit with gaby, these two formed a partnership almost as strong as G aby and Chris. Paul Ross was still loitering around in the background been the 2nd mail presenter, Peter Smith was still on the news, and Cheggers was out and about on the OB.
Apart from the addition of Mark, the only the change to the show was cosmetic, with some areas of the house been given a bit of a face-lift. The living room was painted with breakfasty items on the walls and a clock was added to the fireplace, the carpet was changed from blue to red, and the presenter's chairs were now green. And in the kitchen, the cupboards were changed to feature cows as opposed to the oranges that had been found there until now.
Under the reign of Mr. Little the show carried on much as it had before, with chants such as "WHERE ARE YOU KEITH?" and mostly the same wacky features and games, but things were only to be like this for a short time....\line \line Because not long after Paula Yates left the show, coincidentally shortly after splitting with Bob Geldoff. Someone who can only be described as.....well, Lilly Savage, rep laced the sexy and flirtatious presenter. Giving a whole different slant on the infamous BB bed. She was rude, cheeky, sarcastic and probing, just what The BB wanted.
Things carried on pretty much as they were for about a year or two, until the un-thinkab le happened, Gaby Roslin left the show. When the day finally arrived, the usual best bits were shown, and as one last surprise Peter Smith came to the house to see her off. Gaby left on a much more cheerful note than Chris, she left the house holding Lill y's hand, as she sang.
The final curtain dropped on the original BB team as Gaby was pulled out of shot by a walking stick.
On the following Monday, thing started as usual, with Mark on his own in the living room, he was waiting for his now co-host, Miss Zoe Ball. Zoe was then seen somersaulting down the towpath, and in through the gate, she came running up the patio, and ... She slipped, and fell headfirst through the French windows, smashing the glass.

A great start, but unfortunately it wouldn't last . When things turned sour in the house, Lilly realized that things were going down hill and jumped ship. Leaving a vacant space on the bed a space which was amply filled by Vanessa Feltz. With rumours of her and Mark not getting on behind the camera, Mark left the show in mid 1996, without warning, or reason. He wasn't properly replaced, leaving Zoe to host the show with Cheggers.
This was the end of Britain's BIG Breakfast as we knew it for some time. Changes were afoot at Bow Locks, and we weren't going to like them!

 

1996-1998
After nearly 4 years on air, The BIG Breakfast was hit by the first of many major blows.
In an effort to distinguish between the original era of the show and the new era, someone at Channel 4 decided it was time for a change.
When 7am arrived, viewers of Channel 4 were surprised not to be greeted with the usual theme tune, instead they were met with the new jazzy theme, and title sequence. They were even more surprised not to find the house as they had left it. It had been tran s formed into an Art Deco style villa, with white washed walls, and NO front door, a balcony at both the front and the rear of the house. And the original front door had been replaced with a second set of French windows, leading onto a patio next to the front garden, which had also been renovated, now with pine trees and expensive turf.

It wasn't just the outside of the house that was changed dramatically, the interior had been re-vamped as well. For the first time, the famous presenters chairs had been skipp ed replace with a bright orange sofa, which was sunk into the ground, and was 'affectionately' known ad the den. Pastel colours were in, with marble effects on some walls. The kitchen had changed completely, the wall between the hall and the kitchen was gone, and the room was now a very light blue like the rest of the house, and the familiar hall was gone. The bedroom hadn't faired much better, firstly there was no bed. And the bright colours had been replaced with marble effect walls and floors. The Big Breakfast was really dead.
The new team were introduced on the new balcony, Rick and Sharon, the new anchors of Britain's favorite show. He was loud, active and at times quite funny. She was sensible, calm and collected, almost a carbon copy of Gaby.
Along with the new presenters in the house, there was a new man on the road. Yes Cheggers was gone, and Richard Orford was here, his role was that of the OB presenter and the family of the week interviewer, all rolled into one.

While HE was on the road meeting the public, the other new presenter was in the air, the show had a new weather girl! S omeone called Denise Van Outen? That right, the queen of Basildon started life as a weather girl. Going from place to place, reporting on the weather, and traffic reports it was basically a useless item, as they only reported on the traffic in that city, so if you weren't there, it wasn't much good. They didn't know it then, but Denise would later go on to save the show from the axe.
With Denise doing the weather, newsreader Peter Smith had a reduced role, which could be part of the reason he left after a month our two later. He also jinxed the new look show, by telling Rick and Shaz that they had a 'nice house' (remember those words).
Most of the old items were dropped, 'Don't phone its just for fun' was gone, replaced with 'A reason to be cheerful'. Only two original items survived the axe, 'Snap, cackle and pop' and Zig and Zag, they both carried on as usual, no presented from a round window in a pale colored room. Every room in the house was pale, just like the show had become. Someone had brunt the to ast and put too much milk on the cereal.
It didn't take long for the new, up market show to start turning back into the old style. The den was filled in, the presenters chairs were put back, only at the other end of the house. The walls and ceilings were r estored, and painted in a checked pattern. Someone was trying to put things back to how they were, but something was still missing,

Very little of the show featured the terrible two, with news and weather at the usual times, Zig and Zag, given half an hour to them elves, and Vanessa on the bed for another half hour. It was obvious that this wasn't going to hold together much longer, and as the mornings got darker, so did the show.
With the dark mornings dens helicopter was no longer an option, and she was grounded, and moved into the house, as the fourth presenter, on patrol in the phone room. The phone room was probably the biggest sign of things to come, as it was given the den treatment, with clashing colours and fluffy trimmings.
By Christmas 1996 Shar ron was basically part time, sharing her job with Denise, from day to day, your would never be too sure exactly who u would be watching in the morning: Rick and Shaz, Rick and Den or Rick Den and Shaz. It soon became apparent that Sharron was out classed by Denise, and using the usual excuse of not liking the hours, Sharron quit.
In most peoples opinion Denise was infinitely better at the job than shaz. Den would fluff lines, sometimes deliberately and make a joke about it. She was the new Chris Evans to t he show, she was unpredictable and eccentric, that element had been missing since Marks sudden departure.
It wasn't long after Sharron's departure that Rick realized he wasn't suited to the job in the house. Despite the potential that was quite clearly th ere, he just didn't live up to what was needed from him. So there was a little bit of a reshuffle, Rick went out on the road and OB man Richard Orford was given the centre seat. And long time newsreader Peter Smith left, replace by fresh-faced newsreader Saxon Bains, who was ultimately replaced by the legendary Phil Gayle.

With this new set-up the show seemed to flow a lot better than before. Competitions like 'more tea vicar', were returned and the show was back to the way it was at the start of 1996.
Bu t life in the Big Breakfast house was never stable, and while Richard was away for a week, fate dropped Johnny Vaughan into the producer's lap, that week was truly sensational, how could they let Johnny go, had they found Den her new partner...?
Well Richard was back the week after, and things carried on as usual, it looked as if 'that week' was just a one off, how wrong could we be!
e The axe was swinging over The BIG Breakfasts head, the house was only a shadow of its former self, the show didn't seen to be able to decide whether it was the old, cozy, loud show from the early 90's, or the modern trendy magazine show of 1996.
Orford was a good match for Denise, but all the time there was something at the back of the producer's minds, that guy that stood in for Orford a few months back, he was GOOD! But they had been trying to get him in for months now but he was resisting, he kept turning down the job. Maybe they should give it one last go, that guy could save the show.
He said yes!
So it was time for another reshuffle in the house, Rick Adams disappeared without a trace, Orford was kicked out of his chair in the house, and put back on the road. And Johnny Vaughan moved in for the kill.
He was an instant success, the sexual chemistry that was there during his week stand in was still present. He had the ability to mock people without actually offending them. That is something that would become very important to his success as a presenter and an interviewer.
Johnny and Den introduced some of the features that would become THE Big Breakfast, the ridiculous characters in the games, the extensive paper review, the pun down, the Friday song and many, many more.
The house also received a bit of a make over for the dawning of this new era. Most obviously it was painted BRIGHT yellow, the windows were still black, but the front door was returned, and the balcony was demolished and the stupid palm trees were chopped down. Inside the house was also revamped, the checked walls were gone, and replaced with bright yell o w walls with orange swirls, and deep turquoise walls opposing each other. The presenters' chairs were moved to the left of the French windows, which were now framed by a pair of sky blue curtains with bright coloured circles on. Things were starting to lo ok like they might be looking up.

The kitchen was painted bright pink with yellow cupboards. And the hall was painted lime green, and purple with yellow railings. And the phone room was updated to fit the rest f the house, with a new purple and space colour scheme.
The back garden was also altered with the passing of the 96 revamp. The pool remained built into the ground, but the wall that was round the back was partly removed, leaving only half of it, that was decorated with clouds. And the rear balcony was also removed.
It was at this point in the shows history that the original theme tune was dropped. (The 96 theme was an altered version.) The new theme was similar, but played by an electric guitar, it accompanied a totally different intro video, still with the original sun rise, but featuring various breakfasty food stuffs flying towards the house at an alarming speed, ending with the house bursting to release the Big Breakfast logo.
During this era of the show there was no third in house presenter on the bed, this role was filled by Den as she had done during the time she shared in the house with Sharron. The bedroom was totally revamped for Den. Gone was the huge bed and statues, replaced with the now familiar round bed and fluffiness. The wall behi n d the bed (that would be redecorated to become unique to each era) was covered in large jigsaw like white and pink panels. The bed was dressed in bright pink covers. The predominant colour in the room was pink. Pink walls, pink bed, and pink carpet, maybe Den likes pink?

The crew became an important part of the show during this time, they were all most all given nick names by Vaughny, such as 'Carpet Monster', 'Linton', and 'Sturdy Girl' they all became part of the show, u noticed when one of them was missing, (particularly Linton). They were given the opportunity to participate in the show during the 'Vital Statistics', when they were invited to guess the answer to the question. This item lead to the invention of the 'steps of woe', when one of the crew g ot the stat right, usually by cheating, they were banished from the house to the steps at the bottom of the garden, accused of undermining the stats.
Most of the crew were sent there at some point, including Johnny Vaughan himself, who was sent out for get ting too carried away during a paper review. Just about the only person never to be banished was the Producer Ed (wonder why that was) he was the one sat there not smiling wearing a suit.
Zig and Zag were still around, poviding the comic releaf. they were now sat infront of a large round window at the top of the stairs. Johnny never quite seemed to know what to do with them, he wasnt as gut with them as Chris and Mark once were, so the produsers had to deside Johhny or the alians. before long Zig and Zag were gone, The last reminance of the original Big Breakfast were gone forever.

This was the format that would represent The Big Breakfast for most of its life from now. But changes were once again afoot in Bow.
On one summers day in 1997 the now familiar yellow house disappeared, and was replaced with a funny orange/brown coloured house, over the next few weeks a brick effect would slowly appear on the outside of the house. Along with another cosmetic change, the modern black windows were ripped out and replaced with the traditional white wooden windows, the front door was repainted a bright shade of red to go with this new image, the titles were c hanged to fit in with this new image. This inside of the house would remain essentially unchanged for now, with the presenter's chairs now positioned directly in front of the front French windows.
Everything stayed the same for the best part of a year, then in September 1998 a minor revamp took place, with the sparsely decorated house disappearing been replaced with what for many is the most memorable interior of the house.
The living room walls were redecorated. The blue walls were a painted yellow, and the yellow walls were painted magenta and covered in plates hung at irregular intervals. The curtains were changed to a pair of very nice multi-coloured checked curtains with bright squares on, that matched the clashing colours of the new look room. The m o nitor next to Johnny was changed from the astro-turf covered one to a large boxy TV with wood effect on the front and a blue padded surround. In the corner behind Den a large bar was installed. Where interviews such as the football review would take place , the front of the bar kept changing to reflect the season, at this time it was a gold and brown tree, reflecting autumn, in summer it would have a bright green and blue image. The fireplace area where many of the interviews took place was changed too. The blue chimney breast was striped down to leave a brick built one made in the brick of the original house. A large pink picture with fried eggs on was hung over the new fireplace, and the arm chair was changed to fit in with the new look, while for now the sofa remained unchanged. Opposite this a large red sofa was placed for the family of the week to sit on.

The kitchen now had yellow walls and pink cupboards, with the traditional table in the centre where the family of the week would sit during their interviews.
For a short while the bedroom was unchanged, but there were reasons, reasons that would break the hearts of almost every fan of the show, Denise Van Outen, the woman what had pulled the show back from the brink was leaving. Her last show would be a pre-recorded Christmas day episode, so unfortunately much of the emotion of her last show was lost, because it wasn't really her last show, it had been filmed weeks before. But all the same it was a sad day, A VT was run of her best bits, many of which were from her post weather girl days.\line \line And she sang her final Friday song, in which the final line was all hers. The usual, "and stick with us from 7 until 9" was dropped and replaced with Den saying "this is Den saying good bye for one last time" which was followed by a huge group hug, and the credits rolled and Den was gone...
For now.

1999 to 2000
Denise was well and truly gone, a replacement was needed to try and keep the show going as it had been before. the whole of january was spent looking for the new face of the breakfast, while the execs were looking for the face, a whole host of guest presenteres were brought in, including Liza Tarbuck, and most notably Jenny McCarthy.
Jen was very loude, very "in your face", very american. she did seem to have a few problems understanding some of the items on the show, particulaly Eastenders, after seeing her first episode of it she was left totaly lost, and claimed she couldnt understand what they were saying! Johnny soon sorted her out explaining the situation with "Grunt" and Phil Mitchal. another of Jens little things was her pronounseation of "The Mirror", Sounding more like "The Mirreeerrrrrrr".

Jenny was posible the best ever guest presenter to apear of the BB, she fitted in so well, she even striped of for real behind the screen during an edition of X-rayted, earing herself a whole hour dedicated to her at the end of the year during the Biggest Breakfast ever. But after a week, she had to go home, and our homes had to get a little quieter, loaded with an armfull of presents, including a Chelsea football shirt from Johnny and one of Waine Hemmingways slippers in fermalderhide, she sung that weeks friday song with a style that is just so unique to her, and she was gone.
There was a new girl on the block.
Cue the entrance of Kelly Brook. Kelly's time on the show wasn't very successful, with her fluffing lines left, right and centre. Apparently she had quit the show after Planet 24 bosses sensationally revealed that her script had to be vetted of any long or complex words because she couldn't pronounce them. so off she went on one of those wonderfull holidays that lots of BB presenters never seem to want to come home from, that was the last we saw of her, aside from a couple of fleeting glimses during the ocational bit of BB Gold

Kelly Brook was out, a new foil for Johnny was desperatly needed, enter Tarbuck. Liza Tarbuck. she was a popular guest presenter from the weeks following Denises departure, she had soem how been over looked in favour of the more "atractive" Kelly when they were recruting last time. but now there was little doubt that she was "the one".
she was quickly hired over the weekend following Kellys departure, and ready for viewing the following Monday. As a long time friend of Johnny she fitted in right away, instantly developing a totaly different Chemistry with Vaughan than any of her predersesors, their relationship was more Brother/Sister like than the flirty one seen with Denise and to a lesser extent Kelly.
With Liza came a whole host of new features and games. Woman in a tabards, was one of the main ones, along with small things such as the ringed finger during the "GET IN THERE" cry in the paper review.
A ranger on new games were introdused during this time, such as Thatch of the day and Wonga, while some games were carried over with new characters for liza, such as "gaggin for it" and "cought with your pants down"
The only main change to the living room at this point was the suround on th monitor next to Johnnys chair, which was changed from blue to green, and the adition of an arial photo of the house over the fire place.

The hall was changed totaly from its last incarnation, the lime green and lemmon yellow were gone, replaced with a rich golden yellow colour. the carpet was a cream and brown egg motif, and the banister was replaced with a VERY nice wooden cutley themed banister, (I want one of those!!)
The landing upstaries was redecorsted, the process started with Jen, under the guidance of Richard Randle, it was painted dark red and had lots of candels lieing around. someone must of desided they were a fire hazard as the room was soon revamped again
The landing was to be the new home of the spin off show, The BIGGER Breakfast, which had up till now been presented from the opposite end of the living room to the main show. The top of the out building was converted into a balcony and a 3rd set of French windows were put in place to give access to this area, and a couple of sofas were stuck in here. So when the October half term came along the show has safe from the regular interruptions it used to get when Johnny would mess about outside, by jumping in and out of shot in the back garden.

Time rolled one, and before we knew it it was once again January, the Xmas titles were dusted down and the fairy lights plugged in, this was of course a VERY spectial Christmas, it was the Millennium!
the run up to the big day was filled with the usual fun and activity, including higlights such as Johnny and the nasal cleaner, where he managed to empty the contens of he nose onto the floor while liza was trying to do a menu trail.
At 12:30 on January 1st 2000 a momentus ocation took place, a 8 and a half hour long episode of The BIG Breakfast. seeing the new Millennium in with the usualy BB style. the house was packed with big starts, Jamie Oliver, Lee Evans, Mo Molum and Gail Porter, to name but a few. while the BBC was looking for the first millennium baby the BB was looking for the Millennium pigglet. Yet some how managed to find the millennium baby as well!

The night also saw the first EVER totaly naked edition of Streaky Bacon! and the very first edition of WONGA! a game of Jenga on a larger scale.
With regular cunks of BB Gold and an entire hour dedicated to Jen McCarthy. it was a one off unique sight, never to be repeated. i u missed it tough, its ur own fault for getting to drunk.
The fetive period was over, and the show returned to normal. the usual titles returned, and the decorations were put away for another year.
after a few weeks the titles were changed yet again. replacing the electic guitar theme and flying food, was a garage style theme, the video featured a CGI chicken flying around to differnt places that had things like moriss dancing or elvis in them, things that were associated with Johnny. they were possibly the worst titles ever, but they were hear to stay.

In August Liza left the show. On the 4th of August it was also the Queen Mothers 100th birthday, so liza departure was slightly over shadowed. with only th last few minutes of the show and the last verse of the friday song devoted to her. she was visibly upset to be leaving the show, and broke don just as the camera moved away from them at the end of the show.
Liza was extremley popular with the show's viewers, and unlike her pre-decessor, was sorely missed.
2000-2001
Liza was gone, and another great era of The BIG Breakfast was over.
It was now summer, the school holidays had started, and the usual dip in viewing figures had begun. Johnny had gone on his usual 1 month holiday over the summer, leaving no regular Presenters in the house, even Bridget Nzekoo the news reader had disappeared. It quite hard to say which era this time fits into, some would say it was a totally separate era. There were a number of guest presenters during this time, but the main two that the most memorable were, Lisa Rodgers and Dermot O Leary.
The house and everything about the show remained pretty much the same, the only difference been that there was no Friday song for the whole of August, there was little happening in this time, the only note worthy thing been Lisas declaration that she, " wouldn mind some kind of ride."
The month passed slowly, Richie Bacon was on the road, visiting various sea side resorts as he went, causing a diplomatic incident in Morcombe, when he declared the resort to be a not very nice place (The BB Timeline does not support that opinion). Also, in a gift shop in one town, the OB caught a group of OAPs committing an act of senseless vandalism.
October arrived, and so did a new look show. The house was redecorated inside, while the exterior was left unaltered.

The living room was seriously revamped, the pink and yellow walls were pained a rich golden yellow, with purple and blue circles, the carpet was re placed with an orange one with cream egg like patches. Much of the furniture was retained from the previous look, all but the monitor next to the presenters chairs, the retro looking monitor was replaced with a bright blue wide screen TV. The colourful checked curtains were changed in favour of pink and purple striped ones. The most noticeable change of all was the removal of the bar from the side of the room, in its place was a new large arch way leading to the new phone room, a less noticeable bar was i nstalled running through this archway, decorated with a large back lit image of a cow. The new look phone room was probably the biggest change to the house since the house was restored after the 96 revamp. For the first time it was opened up so u could get to it from the living room, the room itself was very warm looking, with lots of wooden panelling and pink walls, the area was quickly converted into Donnas phone bunker and decorated with lots as camouflage gear. From this point on daily phone ins were run from here, including daily cryptic puzzles.

Aside from the changes in the living room and phone room the kitchen was the only offer part of the house to change at all, and the only major change in there was that the yellow walls were re-painted lime green. The hall and up stairss remained unaltered from the previous look.
While most of the outside was left untouched, a new front door was installed, and out back the wall surrounding the pool was changed from the sky with cows, to just a plain cloudy sky, a subtle yet important change.
The new look brought a dramatic new twist to the world, the return of Denise Van Outen. Her return show began in a strange way. The pre-titles gag involved Johnny waking up on the bed, as Den got out of a shower in the corner, and after thinking about the past couple of years said " Denise, I just had the strangest dream."
Cut to titles, they were the same as before, with the chicken flying round and all that, after the titles we find Richard Bacon in the centre seat, hosti ng for the first 15 minutes, after which, the party really kicks off when, after a short break, the camera cuts to Johnny and Denise messing about in the garden, with a large crowd or people. The pair make their way up a red carpet past a group of women i n tabards, past some dwarfs, Carpet and Linton moving a large pane of glass, and finally past the wheel of cheapness. Finally Johnny and Denise were back together in the BIG Breakfast house. And Richard Bacon, Donna Air, Jasmine Lowson and Simon Fielder jo ined them.
The format of the show was slightly altered, the news was reworked. Simon Fielder now did the weather, instead of Jasmine, he used a map that was built in the garden, Simons Greatest moment came in October 2000, when he failed to predict the mas sive floods that swept the UK that month, and nearly forced the show off air, when some bright spark decided to open the locks forcing the water from the canal to flow across the garden, this nearly cut the power to the house, but they managed to keep the show on air, and Richard made Simon wade out to the steps of woe as punishment. (ironically this was the last time anyone would be banished to the steps, and Johnny wasnt the one to give the order.

The first day was just a typical day at lock keepers cot tages, loud, crazy, unpredictable, but with one major difference, Dens favourite item of the day, organised at her own request. It involved two American guys, they were stood in the living room totally naked, behind a waste high screen, only the people in the house could see what was happening. To this day no-one knows exactly what happened, but everyone was watching at what was behind the screen, and Den used the words "Have u seen how bendy that is??!" The partnership had lost nothing, Johnny and Den were back on form after a few minutes, you could be forgiven for thinking she had never left.
Both presenters knew their time together was short, and it only seemed like a few minutes before we were at Christmas. The titles were changed, a remake of the origi nal 1992 Xmas titles, with a fly in to the new house and a new logo at the end. Christmas week arrived and the pre-records were been shown. Richard joined the crew in the house, and the presenters chairs were abandoned, in favour of the sofa by the firepl ace. And the news was dropped, replaced instead with Jasmines review of the year.
The New Year came and went without anything major happening, and before we knew it was January 12th 2001, Johnny and Denises last EVER show.
At 7am there was a huge parade in the garden, in front of the gathered crowds, featuring women in tabards, bulldogs, men in women\rquote s coats, and we are assured a fleet of spitfires dropping rose petals on the house.

The show was a spectacular combination of everything that made the show great during the pairs time on it. Vital Statistics, Paper Review, the Pundown, Bull dogging, you name it. The show was hosted from just 2 rooms in the house. The living room and the phone room. The rest of the house was closed off for the revamp, the bu ilders had descended on the house. Johnny compared his last week on the show to the last days of the Third Riche and the new team were the Russians. The last 10 minutes of the show were devoted to the teams best bits, before they sung their final Friday S ong. The end of the show was met with a mix of cheers and sadness, over the noise of the fans, Johnny s final words could be heard "thank you very much!!"

With that thecredits rolled and a dream sequence was played. Johnny and Denise sat in an empty house, thinking about all the good times, with sounds from the past playing in the back ground, they stood up, and walked out of the French windows to the back garden, where they took each others hand and walked off into the sun set, never to return.
The week b etween Johnny and Dens departure was pretty dull, with Richard Bacon as the main presenter. Many thought he should have been given the job full time, but that was to fall to another guy. Richard was joined by a whole host of guest presenters, each more us eless than the last, the only real highlights been Paul Daniels and Debbie Mcgee and Richard Whitley presenting.

The whole week trailers were run promoting " The BIG Breakfast, The Next Generation" they had big shoes to fill, but channel 4 were determined to make it work. At the end of the week Jasmine did the last new bulletin of the day, and we were forced to watch the chicken fly from the house for the last time. BIG changes were afoot at the house, mornings were about to get very different.

 

2001-2002
January 22nd 2001, it was a dark cold day, the sun hadn\rquote t come up by 7am, the Hoobs had just finished, and the nation was bating with bated breath for their new look BIG Breakfast.
"All new and freshly squeezed, its your all new, BIG Breakfast"
YAY!
There was a long pause, and a shot of someone hiding under the covers of their bed, sunlight could be seen shining over then as the sun rose off screen, there was no familiar sunrise. The music was totally different, it was now an Electro pop sort of thing, but it still had the BB beat in the background. The titles sequence involved people doing breakfasty things, cleaning their teeth, eating breakfast, getting ready for work, finally reaching an image of a man in a bath, sliding under that water, only to rise back out of again as a young attractive lady, as the new BB logo appeared at the side.

The titles faded to a scary, scary shot. Paul Tonkinson was filling the screen, a camera held inches form his face, he introduced himself like every presenter in the past, he was in stood in the hall, it was plain and bland. We were then moved to the kitchen, where we were introduced to Amanda Byram, and finally we go to the phone room where we meet our old friend Donna Air. The new team moved to the new look living r oom where we saw the new team together for the first time, the moment was slightly over shadowed by the presence of a large green sofa behind them.
It was instantly clear that the past few weeks had not been wasted behind the closed doors of the house, the place was hardly recognisable. The hall way, which before was bright yellow, with a wooden banister, was now a bland, pale room, the cupboard under the stairs is now a fish tank, the carpet was now red, with a darker patch in the shape of a b. The wooden cutlery banister was replaced with pale metal handrail, and the once colourful walls were now a very pale orange around the door and window, and the wall with the stairs was now half-blue and half-purple. The most noticeable difference was the absence of the wall between the hall and kitchen, it had been removed to give an open plan feel to the house, also gone was the door leading to the living room, replaced with an archway, again giving the house an open plan feel.
The kitchen was also radically changed , the bright cheery walls were repainted in a deep purple, and the cupboards were now a bright orange, the carpet matched the one in the hall, and a large table was infront of the central unit. The table was lime green, and set for a large number of peopl e, even thought there was no one to sit round it. This room was possible the most BB of all the new look rooms, it was still outrageous but had a modern, stylish feel to it.

The living room, the central hive of activity during the show was totally reworke d, the once cosy, cluttered room was emptied out, the yellow walls were gone, replaced with a dark shade of purple, the carpet was now made up of irregular blue stripes, in varying shades. The French windows that were just a big a part of the show as the p resenters were replaced with large glass doors, that looked like French windows, just without the bars across the glass. The brick chimney-breast was plastered over and painted purple, like the walls.
The presenters chairs were now in a skip at the back o f the Planet 24 studio, in their place was the large green sofa, big enough for all 3 main presenters. Behind the sofa was a large plasma screen, replacing the usual monitor, there was still a coffee table in front of them, but instead of muffins and coffee, a bowl of fruit sat on it. The sofa that used to be found near the kitchen was now gone, the sofa and arm chair by the fire place were still there, they too, like the main sofa were lime green, and a plasma screen was hung over the fire place like a pic ture frame. In the corner behind the armchair was a bar unit, oddly enough it was a deep red/purple like the walls, this bar stretched through an arch way leading to the phone room.
The new phone room was green, plain simple green. The carpet matched that in the living room, and the bar unit was the same as in the living room as well, a large abstract painting hung on the back wall of the room. Between the two windows stood a tall chrome unit, with a fax machine and printer fixed on two shelves. In the ba c k of the room below one on the windows stood a small bright red plastic domed table, it was the main feature in the room, where cockney Vic could be found manning the phones most of the morning. It was a far cry from the warm looking phone-bunker from the last version of the show. The new phone room also had a more sinister result, Donna Air was released from the room, to inflict her brand of entertainment upon the public.
"We are you are brand spanking new, never before seen Big Breakfast presenters" said Paul as he stands beside his co-hosts looking rather smug.
"And this is your brand spanking new, never before seen, Big Breakfast house" says Amanda, looking slightly less awkward than Paul.
"And THEY are your same as always desperately in need of the work, Big Breakfast crew! said Donna looking totally at ease in the environment, clutching her old clipboard for dear life. It was at this point we get to see the crew, they had been missing from the show so far, all crowded into a corner out of shot behind the new Steady-cams that were been used in the house. Where the crew used to cheer madly at every opportunity, now they just sat there looking round with a vacant lost look on their faces, letting out a nervous cheer every now and then.

After the tr ailer for the rest of the show was out of the way, we move to find Jasmine in her all new news room, that looked a lot like the old one, except there was a globe in the background and the TV was gone. She presented the news with her usual style and humour , and afterwards when we cut back to the house, she tries talking to the new team, it didnt go particularly well, Amanda makes a comment about Jasmine looking small on screen, after Jasmine said those fateful words, "I like your new house." echoing the words of former newsreader Peter Smiths from the fateful 1996 re-launch. Things did not look good for the show.
The first show of the new era carried on much like it had begun, slow and plodding, barely able to maintain the BB feel. With guests like Castaway 2000 star Ben Fogull and Neil Rudock, the show didnt seem quite as big as before, barely able to pull in the A-listers anymore.
Later in the show we get to go upstairs to the new bedroom. It was predominantly blue with splashes of purple, like the res t of the house the checked pattern effect was present here too, particularly on the wall behind the bed and the chairs, where the experts would be found. The bed was the same as before, just redressed with new sheets and a new headboard. The room always f elt a little empty to me, and a little cold. But it was bright and outrageous, so that was good enough for me.

The end of the show soon came, the presenters were stood in the hall way, and walked through the rooms of the house past all the guests as their names were read out, until the reached the sofa, at this point, everything went pair shaped. The team said their good-byes and waked frantically at the camera, but something went wrong, and the credits didnt run, it was clear that someone was telling them to fill the time, so they slowly walked down the garden away from the house, repeatedly saying bye, and waving, trying to think of things to say. Thanking the decorators, the guests, the crew, never sure when they were going to be cut off, at this rate h ey were going to run out of garden to walk down. Finally the credits rolled, made up of clips from the show and a number of the break bumpers, played along with a mix of the new theme tune, ironically they were cut off before they finished. A sign of thin gs to come maybe?
The following weeks had few high-lights, nothing of note happened apart from one news bulletin in February, when Jasmine decided to give nude-news reading a go, she striped off live on air, much to Paul delight. This was truly the only re al highlight of the first few months of the year. By the end of March, changes were afoot once again at the house. After doing "Rick" (attempting to shake hands with a blind guest) Paul was quickly dispatched, after the show on a Thursday, he was alleged ly called into the office and told not to come in on Friday, he disappeared without warning, and without a trace. His place was filled with guest presenters for the next week, including Ed Hall and Mike " Squeaky\" McClean.
This took us up to Easter weekend, on the Monday Richard Bacon and Donna Air presented the show (Amanda was on holiday), and it was the first show to be produced by Ben Rigden. After a pre titles gag (the first since the revamp) the camera cuts to a busy CRAZY, cheering living room, the steady cams are gone, the crew were back in shot and had found their voice. Most importantly of all, the sofa was gone, in its place were the long lost presenters chairs, sat to the left of the French windows, with a small egg monitor next to them, they looked a little out of place in the room, but things were about to chance a lot around here, as the BB began to bounce back.
This day saw the return of the one of the big brekkies biggest games, WONGA! Junior Wonga to be precise, a bit of a stupid idea really, normal Wonga is for 18+, junior Wonga is for under 16s and under, what are the 17 year olds meant to do?
The new presenting team were a little wobbly at first, Richard wasnt used to working in the house, and for a while seemed like he was trying to be Johnny Vaughan. Donna was just Donna, and wanted all the attention, she interrupted people, talked over them, fluffed her lines a lot, it was clear that her head was on the cutting block. And within a couple of weeks she was gone. It was reported that she quit after been told she would have her own set in the house away from everyone else. It seemed she was to be put in the new bathroom that had been built upstairs, naturally she didn\rquote t take to kindly to this and she left in much the same was Paul did, suddenly and without a trace.

Over the next few weeks, once Amanda returned from her holiday, the house slowly began to change back into the lock keepers cottages we knew and loved. The lights were turned back on, and the presenters chairs were put back infront of the windows. The walls slowly changed colour over the next few weeks, the smaller walls became bright pink, and the other walls became yellow/gold. Shelves were put up on the wall next to the fireplace, and the plasma screen above the fireplace had a frame fitted to make it look like a picture. Also the second sofa was put back opposite from the fire place, for the recently returned family of the week to sit on. . The large plasma screen that was behind the sofa was gone, replaced instead with a smaller monitor, that looked a little bit like the one used during Lizas time in the house. After many weeks of plain windows, small plastic strips were added to the glass to make the windows look like "proper" French windows, and finally, golden curtains with multi-coloured circles were hung over the windows.

This slow revival saw the return of many of the shows greatest items, " pushy mums" , " the paper review" and the crazy games all made a come back. This return to form brought back a small number of th e shows lost fans. But many believed there was no chemistry between Richard and Amanda, some even believed there was hostility between the two. With the change in format, the show became more recognisable as The BIG Breakfast, but something was still wrong somewhere.

The summer of 2001 was like most other summers, the number of people watching the show dropped dramatically, this sparked fears that the show was going to be axed. Channel 4 publicly denied they were considering replacing the show, but it beca me clear by October that they were looking at pilots for potential new breakfast shows. While Planet 24 had put forward a massively reworked big breakfast, they were up against stiff competition. Sky, MTV, and many others were also in the running; it was going to be a close call.
The show carried on as always when all this was going on in the back ground. And for the first time the BB contemplated its own death, by running features like " I can save the big breakfast" when viewers were invited to send in id eas for features on the show that could save it. This is where the chemistry between Amanda and Richard was brought up again, when someone suggested more sexual chemistry, they rushed outside out of shot, and some groaning could be heard, when they came back inside Amandas hair was messed up and Richards shirt was unbuttoned. But even this did little to improve the situation.

At the start of December 2001 the news that we had all been dreading arrived, The BIG Breakfast had been AXED!
The show had 4 m onths before it would be taken off air forever. During which time it got back some of its daring limit pushing attitude. The show had nothing to fear anymore, what was Channel 4 going to do if they did something totally unacceptable? Take them off air?
The Xmas titles were pulled out of storage one last time, as the Xmas period approached, the Christmas week was one of the best ever. Almost any band to appear on the show would split up within a few months, Steps, Hearsay, S Club 7. But without a doubt the best part of the whole week was seeing Hear\rquote say been interviewed, and one of them been forced to eat a chilli filled mince pie, after which he promptly threw up, followed by most of the other band members. This was much to the delight of Richard, who spent most of the show talking about it, "we ve had live vomiting on todays show ladies and gentlemen."

After Christmas and New Year, the show returned to its normal format. Nothing particularly important happened during this time, with only a couple of not able changes, the bath room that had been home to Roland Rat during the summer was once again home to Zig and Zag, returning to the show for the last few months, with "The Crunch" the other major change to the show came at the start of March, the BBs final month, BB gold became a regular feature, looking back at the best bits of the last 10 years. March flew by and before we knew it, it was March 29th, the last EVER BIG Breakfast

 

The Final Show and Beyond
"Out with a bang, it s the very last, BIG Breakfast."
29th March 2002 the day most Brekkie fans will never forget. The day that the British breakfast got a whole lot smaller.
At 7am 9 and a half years after the first show, we saw the beginning of the end, the titles rolled for the final time, and as the various food characters ran towards the house there was a sad sense that this was it, never again.
The titles ended and we got the usual reception, in the living room, with the crew and presenters. The BB countdown clock was now down to 3 hours, the last show was extended to fit all the extra-added goodness they had put into it. The house was packed, with a selection of celebrity guests, past presenters, experts, and later in the show, the queen of current affairs, Jasmine Lowson was in the house. Th e living room was also stuffed full of balloons and various other party things, all in aid of celebrating The BIG Breakfasts 10th birthday just a little bit early.
Most of the house was unused on this day, the bedroom was set up for the Friday Song and the kitchen was just full of people. The bar unit had been ripped out of the living room to make way for "Superfan Corner" featuring some of the shows biggest fans, including Tom Parker and smeg_head. But it seemed only one of the buzzers was working properly, as the same guy answered most of the questions. But to be honest the questions were a bit of a let down, mostly been "what happened on this date" sort of questions.

The show had another special feature, involving the people that the BB had the most effect on, in a feature called "The Big Breakfast changed/ruined my life" . It involved people that had in some way had their life changed by the show, I entered my own experience for this item, but I wasnt picked. The majority if not all of the people seen claimed that they had their lives ruined.
The show was filled with extra helpings of BB gold, peoples finally chance to look back at the shows past, it was an interactive feature, where there was a choice of two clips to watch, we had to pick which one we wan ted. We got Denise stealing from the queen and Johnny destroying an indestructible laptop, truly classic clips.
At 7:30 a normal edition of the news took an unexpected twist when Richard invited Jasmine to the house to join the festivities, she asked who could possible do the news when she was away, enter Phil Gail, the long lost BB newsreader had returned. This left Jasmine free to go to the house, while Phil did his thing.\line \line As always Zig and Zag were there, with their final EVER edition of "The Crunch" it was a rapid fire question section, where the guest were rushed through the bathroom and asked as many questions as possible in a certain time limit. Not the best episode of "The Crunch" but it would have been wrong for it to be over looked.
This took us more or less through to 8 o clock after a slightly rushed edition of the news, it was time for the usual paper review. Nothing special, just a normal part of the day.

At 8:30 we were treated to a great addition of "STARTURN!" Richard Whitely took the broom for this momentous occasion, and made a bit of a fool of himself, dropping all the cups after a couple of seconds, and then getting molested by Jody Bunting on the bed that was included in the course. As you would expect he didnt get anything in the Star-urn so the person with the lowest prediction won.
9 o clock saw the end of an era, the final edition of the Big Breakfast news and weather. It was just your average news bulletin, Phil was still rushing through it to keep it in the time limit (I never realised till then how fast jasmine does the news). At the end of the bulletin after the " and finally" story, there was a special end of news jingle complete with a gong ring at the end. Phil didn\rquote t seem to know that was coming as he started to say something, and then stopped suddenly when he realised he was talking over the effect. Once it was over, Richard ordered Phil to make his was to Lock Keepers Cottages for the final hour.
The Last hour of the show saw some of the best moments in recent BB history. At 10 past 9 Mike McClean was out and about, delivering the BB gnome to its new address, up till this point I for one thought the none was seriously been relocated to a new home, but once this item was over there was no doubt it was a stunt. Mike reveale d he was outside Channel 4 HQ and told the audience to brace themselves. The camera swung round to reveal the giant BB gnome perched on it stand facing the CH4 building, but the mug and fishing rod were gone, it their place, were a bunch of flowers, and a hand, sporting a two finger salute to the bosses at Channel 4. The Big Breakfast had the last laugh, as they told channel 4 exactly what they thought of them. When the shot cut back to the house, Richard, Amanda, Lisa and Jasmine were stood on the patio at the front of the house looking at the giant screen in the garden, with looks of shock on heir faces, they were truly astonished, "well I know who wont be working for again!" said Amanda. Personally I doubt the gnome was there for long.

Once the team got over the shock of the gnome stunt, it was time for a special documentary about the show. "I love The Big Breakfast" was a collection of the best bits, mixed with interviews with key people from the shows past, including Chris Evans, Gaby Roslin, Liza Tarbuck, Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen.
Starting back at the beginning in 1992, the documentary covered from the very first moment of the very first show at 7am on the 28th September 1992. It talked about all the big events. And about all the presenter s, with frank and in-depth chats with the people involved. They conveniently glossed over the 1996 fiasco, without so much as a mention, or a clip, and certainly no interview with the terrible twosome, Rick and Sharon
After a brief break, the show return ed carrying on with the run through of the shows past, this part concentrated on Johnny and Denise, and later Liza, and back to Denise again. The second golden age of the show was documented in 15 minutes, again glossing over the post JV era of the show. It was a very touching show, but, ended to soon, after just half an hour, it was over and that meant only one thing, the last few minutes of the BIG Breakfast.

After "I love the Big Breakfast" finished, we went back to the house, the house itself was basic ally empty, everyone, presenters, guests, Superfan, crew, were out on the patio ready for the big finally, with a few people hanging out of the bed room window holding huge bunches of balloons. Before one last break, Richard read out an e-mail that had ju st arrived to the house, from Prince Charles. He was morning the loss of a "British institution" and commending the people involved for their dedication to the show, and finally saluting the show, for 10 years of bright entertaining news in the mornings.
A fter the final break, it was time for the guys at the house to perform the Friday Song one last time! After the gathered crowds were hushed, Harry began the infamous tune,

 

For the last 10 years we made your mornings bright,
With a blend of features chosen to delight,
It takes quite a lot of time,
To make something so sublime,
And today at last we finally got it right!

 

Singing wakey, wakey, wakey rise and shine,
The big breakfast is the only way to dine,
It s your number one BIG Brekkie,
So get it down your nekkie,
And stick with us from 7 until 9.

 

Our show has been consistently top drawer,
We ve had host of Celebs come pouring through our door,
We asked questions to provoke um,
Play games and then wed soak them
And yet theyd all come running back for more!

 

Singing wakey, wakey, wakey rise and shine,
The big breakfast is the only way to dine,
It s your number one BIG Brekkie,
So get it down your nekkie,
And stick with us from 7 until 9.

 

Now the time has come to shed some poignant tears,
As the breakfast ends and slowly disappears,
To the show that fills our slot,
We say GIVE IT ALL YOUVE GOT!
BUT WE BET YOUR NEVER GONNA LAST 10 YEARS!

 

Singing wakey, wakey, wakey rise and shine,
The big breakfast is the only way to dine,
It s your number one BIG Brekkie,
So get it down your nekkie,
AND THINK OF US FROM 7 UNTILL 9

 

"Thats it, that really is your lot!" Richard Bacon calmed the crowds down after the song, they were insane, people were cheering, and streamers were all over the place, glitter was falling from the sky, after been blown out of the bedroom window. Once the crowd had settled, he announced that it was time for them to all leave. Taking Amandas hand he started a conga that led us all away from the famous Lock Keepers Cottages for the last time. The people in the garden slowly made their way out of the gate, the big 4 ran across the foot bridge, lucky their microphones were turned off, as I hear from people that they really let channel 4 know what they thought. As they reached the other side the band reached the end of their music as the team had a big group hug before disappearing forever.
As the music faded the final outro began, it was a remixed version of the 1992 theme, it was very dramatic, and in a way sad. As the camera slowly pulled away from th e house for the final time, there was an unavoidable feeling, that this really was it, no more, it was over...or was it.

After the final titles finished, we found ourselves in the garden, with slow sad music playing in the background. There were pictures of the past presenters laid out on the ground, as the camera pulled up a stack of Wonga bricks fell to the floor. The camera moved towards the house, weaving between various props from the show, the characters from the titles were stood around the garden, one with the sandwich board wound its neck saying "the end is now!" stood on the patio were two mannequins, wearing the "Gagging for it" costumes. As we approached the French windows a shimmer of sparkles faded us into the kitchen, the furniture was covered in bubble wrap, and sounds from the past were echoing through the house, we passed through to the hall where the Friday song was heard blasting through the room.

The camera moved up the stairs, more pictures of presenters were lying around the house, the bathroom was passed, and we went on to the bedroom, a clothes rail was there, with clothes from the fashion items hanging on them. The chairs and the TV were covered in white sheets, and the bed was covered with a large white sheet, with a bunch of flowers lying on it. The camera spun round and we were in the Phoneroom, it too was empty, the camera pulled back into the living room, all the furniture was covered, and the clutter was gone. Like the rest of the monitors in the house, past title sequences were laying on the screens, more memories could be heard in the background. The camera slowly turned round to the presenters chairs, Richard and Amanda\rquote s clipboards were sat on their chairs, mirroring the dream at the end of Johnnys last show. Another sparkly f ade took us back outside, the French windows swung open and the camera backed away into the air, until the whole house was in shot, after a long pause, the house exploded, leaving a dull, plain shot of dark dirty buildings in the background.

 

A sign of the future?
After a month without a breakfast show the BBs replacement RI:SE hit our screens, I was worried that it wouldn\rquote t be entertaining, well I for one never laughed as much and as hard as I did during the first episode of RI:SE, well it didn\rquote t last long, after less that a year the show was revamped, in a major way, and as I write this the axe hangs over the "new" show, after the show had a share of 0% of the viewers officially none watched it for almost a week, it seems life no longer starts at 7.
In the weeks and months that followed the end of the Big Breakfast, the house was left un-used, and over time it was the victim of petty vandals, but on the 8th September 2002, something that every fan had dreaded happened, the BIG Breakfasy house was destroyed. in the early hours of the morning it is beleaved that someone broke into the house and diliberatly started a fire in the bedroom, it destroyed the first floor and the roof, leading to major smoke and water damage in other areas. the house has now been old to a family, who apaently intend to convert it for residential use. the last tangeable relics of the bb have gone.

 

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The Big Breakfast Timeline. Copyright 2003 Dave Whitehurst
This site is 100% unofficial
The Big Breakfast was produced by Planet 24 and broadcast by Channel 4 Television between September 28th 1992 and March 29th 2002
Thank you to Brekkie.com for alowing the use of the pictures of inside the 1996 house
Last revised: April 23, 2003.