Live and Kicking

1993 - present (BBC Winter)

presented by
Andi Peters and Emma Forbes (93-96)
Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston (96-99)
Steve Wilson and Emma Ledden (99-00)
Katy Hill, Ortis, Trey Farley and Sarah Cawood (00-01)

The transition from Going Live to Live and Kicking was the smoothest yet. Apart from the presenters, only the title really changed (and not all of that).

Live and Kicking version 1

Chosen to replace Pip as the all-important anchor of the whole she-bang was career-minded CBBC drip Andi Peters. His cohort was the personable Emma Forbes, already known to Saturday viewers as Going Live's resident cook, and slightly less well known as the daughter of Nanette "washing-up liquid ads" Newman and actor Bryan Forbes.

For the first series they were aided by Scottish American actor John Barrowman. Richard Bell recalls: "For much of the end of the series he was in some stage play or other so didn't make it to the early morning rehearsals, or even the start of the show. He was replaced for the first hour or so by some guy out of Neighbours (the guy who played Todd or something)." After the first series Barrowman left to go back to acting full time.

After three years, Andi Peters decided to move on. Perhaps aware, deep down, that his screen persona was unlikely to survive the transition to adult TV, he decided to concentrate instead on working behind the scenes. At first he produced The O-Zone, then ITV's The Noise (see WOW!) and later moved to Channel 4.

The last show of the third series was devoted to saying goodbye to Andi Peters, Emma Forbes fully intending to stay on. After the end of the series, however, she discovered that she was pregnant. As the baby would have arrived mid way through series 4, she decided, for both her and the show's benefit, not to return after all. The first show of the new series featured Emma as a Hot Seat guest, and Live and Kicking said goodbye then, with the help of a surprise appearance from Sarah Greene.

Live and Kicking version 2

Possibly because Andi and Emma had only managed to stay put for three years, the BBC took the unprecedented decision to retain the show's title when the new pair took over.

Zoe Ball was at the time famous both as a CBBC presenter and as daughter of the estimable Johnny "Think..." Ball. Her partner Jamie Theakston was known mainly for insubstantial BBC2 pop vehicle "The O-Zone".

Trevor & Simon stayed on as the double act, but for Zoe and Jamie's last series were replaced with members of the comedy team The Cheese Shop. Two of them swapped sides after this series to become head writers for SM:TV. Many viewers followed their example.

After leaving the programme, Zoe moved took over the breakfast show on Radio One, where she was paired with Kevin Greening. By virtue of being very bad indeed, she eventually rose to become sole host. Over this period she become famous as a party-animal and general good-time girl. Theakston, meanwhile, was shagging various pop-starlets. They were, had we known at the time, Saturday morning telly's first real rock-and-roll kids.

Live and Kicking version 3

When installing yet another team after a mere three years, the BBC again decided to retain the show's title - although obviously this time it wasn't unprecedented.

Although higher-profile names had been rumoured, the eventual choices were Steve Wilson, from spin-off show L&K Friday, and Emma Ledden from MTV. The comedy double act idea returned with Australian singing duo Supergirly - whose role included no singing - and Mr Blobby was rescued from his well-deserved obscurity to host his own competition.

The series was ultimately a flop, due to both the overwhelming success of SM:TV and the new presenters' perceived failure to gel with the format or viewers; both were dropped after only one series.

Steve Wilson has kindly sent us his own memories of his time on the show:

"When we were started to be beaten by Ant and Dec we went to 1.3m viewers to there 2.5m, and the Beeb panicked. Emma was laid off at the end of the run, and I had many meetings with the beeb to decide if I was going to stay on for the next series... It was a scary time as I knew that the next incarnation was not going to stand up to SM:TV and felt it would be probably wise to leave after one good series and not do a second [and what was promising to be] lame one.

"Seems I was right, the next series went to half the viewers emma and I had, around 700,000, and had lost the magic we had managed to retain in the last series [if not as well as Zoe and Jamie had...but remember they had 3 years to find their feet, the first series was quite poor from them, esp Jamie]. Anyway, after leaving I was contacted by the SM:TV boss who I've worked for since. It all began with me popping up on the 100th episode of 'Chums' on their show! Ive since covered the Latin Grammys in LA with Cat for them and co-hosted ITV's coverage of Party in the Park with Ant and Dec."

Live and Kicking version 4

After that failure the producers decided on a completely different route, announcing that the show would run all year round with four presenters - CBBC regular Ortis, Italian-born MTV (although never in the UK) presenter Trey Farley, former Girlie Show host Sarah Cawood and, unusually, Blue Peter's Katy Hill, who immediately got blonde hair extensions and a new wardrobe in an always doomed attempt to harness the student market.

Unfortunately for the show, the one thing the production team didn't change was themselves, even after Nigel Pickard moved from head of CITV to a similar role at CBBC, and consequently ratings reached new lows. In April 2000 the show moved to Glasgow but left Hill behind, replacing her with Heather Suttie. The show ended for good in August.  

Left: Ortis, Katy Hill, Trey Farley and Sarah Cawood.

"Fascinating" "facts"

Thanks to Simon Tyers for additional info.

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Recommended Website: BBC's Live & Kicking site