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About Live & Kicking
Live & Kicking was the fourth programme to occupy the Saturday Morning slot, and its first programme was broadcast 17 years to-the-day that it all started with Swap Shop. The BAFTA award winning show had its debut in 1993, and is the longest running programme in the slot, running to an eighth series in 2000.
The taglines Miss It, Miss Out (or MIMO for short) and The Only Way To Start Your Weekend were as familiar to viewers as was the voice of announcer Mitch Johnson. He was brought in to replace Ratz the strange disembodied cat head which would pop up to link items when the show first started.
The programme survived having four completely different presenting teams throughout its run. The tearful departure of original presenters Andi Peters and Emma Forbes (initially accompanied by actor John Barrowman in the studio and then as entertainment news strand Electric Circus presenter) opened the door for Jamie Theakston and Zoë Ball. They in turn were replaced by Steve Wilson and Emma Ledden, then the eighth series featured Katy Hill (ex of Blue Peter), Ortis Deley (L&K series 7, Short Change, Why 5), Trey Farley (MTV Europe) and Sarah Cawood (Nickelodeon, Channel 5). When the show was moved to Glasgow, newcomer Heather Suttie replaced Katy Hill.
As with its predecessors, the show had guests, pop music, cartoons, competitions and live phone-ins. Many elements of Going Live! remained: Trev and Simon, Run the Risk, guests grilled in the Hotseat and pop videos judged in Hit, Miss or Maybe. The show’s ratings were soaring and its hosts a huge hit with the viewers. The ever-popular Trev and Simon were replaced by 2 leprechauns called Sage and Onion, who were also well-received. Other comedy performers who had short-lived stints on the show were The Cheese Shop group, Australian singing duo Supergirly and even Mr Blobby came out of retirement to host a competition.
The programme had two spin-offs, L&K Friday which lasted for two series (during the programme's fifth and sixth years) as a half-hour Friday version of the programme within the afternoon's CBBC broadcast. The first series was presented by Jamie and Zoë, but the second was presented by Steve Wilson (who would go on to present the seventh series of L&K) and Liz Fraser. The introduction of the digital channel BBC Choice saw a weekly edited version of the programme's highlights (lasting about 90 minutes) called L&K Replay. This disappeared when CBBC on Choice was launched.
The show’s ratings dropped slowly after Ant and Dec’s SM:TV appeared on ITV in 1998. The curtain finally seemed to have come down on the show when on July 4, 2000 it was announced that both series 7 presenters, Steve and Emma had left the show by mutual agreement. The BBC said that they were looking into the future of the show, and did not rule out replacing it. All lay quiet for a couple of months, until early September when it was announced that the show would be returning with a new team of presenters for an eighth series, with a major facelift.
In an announcement on March 20, 2001 it was revealed that the eighth series was to be the last due to poor ratings. A new replacement was to be launched in 2001 running all year, rather that the traditional October - April slot. As a final twist, it was revealed that Live & Kicking too was to run across the summer. The show was relocated to the BBC's Glasgow studios on April 21, 2001 and the final Live & Kicking was broadcast on 15 September 2001.
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It Started With Swap Shop a Unique TV production for BBC TWO