What a houseful as TV chat show host Jonathan Ross surrounds himself with guests in a Fylde coast family’s lounge while more people peer through the patio doors in the background.
Jonathan, of course, launched the 2013 Illuminations at the end of last month.
But 25 years ago this week – September 23, 1988, which was actually a Friday – Jonathan’s exploits were watched by millions of Channel Four viewers, beamed out of a detached house in Kingfisher Drive, Poulton, when the media
Jonathan had come up with a novel competition with viewers telling him why his show The Last Resort – for one night only, as they say in showbiz circles – should come live from their home.
Winners were Bill and Julie Elliott, whose reason – “to annoy the neighbours” – was judged best.
As cameramen, catering crew, rock band and assorted TV technicians had descended on the quiet cul-de-sac the previous day, Julie admitted she had not realised the competition was serious.
“Who’d have believed that he really meant he was going
to broadcast the show live from someone’s living room? It’s chaos, madness, ridiculous.”
But, above all that, it was real. After enjoying free refreshments, an audience of 100 friends and, yes, neighbours, watched the antics on TV monitors from their seats in an outside studio area.
Dudley Dolittle, appearing in Central Pier summer show cabaret lounge Maggie May’s, warmed them up with comedy routines and applause practice.
Once the live show was underway, Jonathan interviewed Michael Jackson’s sister Latoya, TV soap Coronation Street actor Chris Quentin and even Blackpool’s own champion cucumber cutter Norman Johnson, while Nick Heyward, of Haircut 100, sang, backed by resident band Steve Nieve and the Playboys.
King of the announcers, John Benson, delivered his introductions, clipboard in hand, wearing a dinner suit, sitting on the toilet.
But a highlight for many viewers had to be the kitchen “safety” tips given to Julie Elliott by manic man of medicine Dr Martin Scrote – these days better known as Rowland Rivron.
He confided in The Gazette after the broadcast: “I hope the character doesn’t become so big that I have to make records and everything. Little is lovely.”
How could Rowland have possibly predicted then that in 2012 he would scoop the Let’s Dance for Sports Relief title with a cracking routine to Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon of Choice?
Back in 1988 he smashed Julie’s crockery, revealed mice in the bread bin, caused an explosion and set fire to himself for good measure.
So much for little is lovely!
Afterwards Julie said: “None of that was rehearsed. When it was happening I went through a range of emotions, mainly I was shocked and stunned. I hadn’t been expecting any of it.”
Hubby Bill said that had been his favourite moment, adding: “But I thought it was all fantastic.
“Next week will seem boring after this!”