The Late Late Breakfast Show, 1982
Noel Edmonds had had huge success with his Saturday morning kids TV show that had finished in March 1982. Later the same year he returned to host a Saturday night light entertainment show: The Late Late Breakfast Show, this became Noel Edmonds Late, Late Breakfast Show from series two.
Over seventy seven episodes and five series the show would battle through highs and lows before in 1986 a tragic stunt involving a bungee jump went wrong, resulting in the death of Michael Lush who was performing it. Edmonds immediately quit the show and the show was cancelled.
In it’s early days the show struggled in the ratings and many believed it would not be re-commissioned, indeed co-host Leni Harper was sacked after show three. Rather than let it go, various revamps of the show took place in an attempt to improve ratings. Eventually, the inclusion of some of the biggest names in the music business as special guests helped raise the profile and ratings for the show.
The show was described as a magazine programme for those who get up late on Saturday. It was billed as featuring:”comedy, pop music and a few surprises”.
Regular features on the show included “The Hit Squad”, which was a hidden camera section, music from some of the biggest names in pop music and “The Golden Egg Awards”, which featured various outtakes.
A popular feature of the show was “Give It A Whirl.” This involved a member of the public telephoning in and having the “Whirly Wheel” spun to select a stunt. Having selected the stunt they were given a week’s training and invited back to perform the stunt live on the next show.
The stunt that lead to the death of Michael Lush was not the only controversy to surround the show.
There was concern that the show’s stunts were too dangerous; particularly fro the Health and Safety Executive, who twice threatened the BBC with legal action to stop planned stunts such as plucking a member of the public from an exploding chimney by helicopter.
The BBC themselves described the stunts as “some of the most daring feats ever seen on British TV”. On 10th September 1983, stunt driver Richard Smith fractured his pelvis and injured his head, neck and back after crashing at 140 mph (225 km/h) during one such live stunt – an attempt to leap more than 230 feet in a car. Also in 1983, Barbara Sleeman broke her shoulder after being fired from a cannon; she would later say “The BBC don’t give a damn. They just want the viewers.”
There was a difficult interview with Paul McCartney and his wife Linda after they had flown to he UK to promote the video for the Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson single: Say, Say, Say on Top Of The Pops. As the single had made it to the charts ahead of the video being ready the single was falling in the charts. However despite the awkward interview, airing the video on Edmonds’ show must have helped as the single began to climb back up the charts.
Did You Know?
ABBA appeared twice in the first series, making their last ever TV appearance on the show. Edmonds would often interview the music guests live via satellite, although it has been said that in some cases, most notably the appearances of Rod Stewart and Duran Duran that Edmonds was in fact posing questions to an already recorded interview with another station and his questioning was being dubbed over the original interviewer, although this has never been confirmed.
Another unconfirmed story surrounded the “Whirly Wheel” Despite the appearance of choice, the wheel was in fact rigged to select a pre-arranged stunt; on one occasion the wheel chose the wrong stunt, and Edmonds called the hidden technician controlling the wheel out in front of the audience to apologise.
Original Transmission Dates: 4th September 1982 – 8th November 1986