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Going Live! (1987-93)

Courtesy of BBC

Main image of Going Live! (1987-93)
BBC, 26/9/1987-17/4/1993
179 episodes in 6 series, colour
ProducerCathy Gilbey
Directors includeAngela Sharp
 Richard Simkin
 Peter Leslie

Presenters: Phillip Schofield, Sarah Greene, Trevor Neal, Simon Hickson, Peter Simon

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Phillip Schofield, Sarah Greene and team go live from Studio 7, BBC TV Centre, with over three hours of entertainment for Saturday mornings.

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Phillip Schofield's sunny, boy-next-door personality was chosen to revitalise BBC Saturday mornings, working alongside Saturday SuperStore's Sarah Greene. SuperStore's framing ideas were abandoned for a looser format celebrating the workings of live TV.

In place of SuperStore's large-scale outside broadcasts, Going Live! was firmly studio-based, with groups of children present on set questioning star guests in tandem with phone-in callers. This idea (developed from SuperStore) helped speed up the show, although the studio kids often appeared primed.

Some items were redeveloped from SuperStore. Pop music continued to be important. The 'Pop Panel' evolved into the 'Video Vote', with viewers at home phoning their comments, often more forthright than those of the studio guests. Groups would surprise teenage girl fans at home in the 'Live Line' segments. Pre-recorded performances were out - bands would mime live in the studio, with video and computer graphic elements adding dynamism. Slick linking graphics were a key feature.

In contrast to the commercialised feel of SuperStore, there was a 'caring 90s' air about Going Live! Phillip Hodson's 'Growing Pains' problems section tackled difficult topics like eating disorders, AIDS and child abuse, while the 'All About Me' video diaries often examined the lives of disadvantaged and disabled children. 'The Press Conference' quizzed Education Minister Kenneth Baker and ex-hostage Terry Waite among others. SuperStore's talent contest continued briefly - most memorably when two Down's Syndrome youngsters danced to music from Phantom of the Opera and moved its star Michael Crawford to tears. A Blue Peter-styled element saw Schofield take on outdoor action challenges, including breaking a powerboat speed record.

Among this serious fare, comedy partnership Trevor and Simon performed several sketches each week. Characters like the wheeling-and-dealing Sister Brothers, rave freak Moon Monkey and the folk duo The Singing Corner (inviting viewers to 'swing your pants') built a cult following. Schofield had his own comic sidekick, squeaky glove puppet Gordon the Gopher. Gunge antics increased with games 'Double Dare' and 'Run the Risk', fronted by hyperactive Peter Simon. Fun cookery items - usually messy disasters for Schofield - were provided by Emma Forbes. Forbes returned alongside Andi Peters (like Schofield, a former CBBC continuity presenter) to helm the similar Live & Kicking from 1993.

Alistair McGown

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