Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Big Breakfast
The programme, broadcast live from a set of lockkeeper's cottages in Bow in east London, was a colourful mixed format of news, weather, interviews, audience phone-in and features. The popularity of the show waxed and waned repeatedly over the nine-and-a-half years of its existence - its popularity being closely linked to the spontaneity and humour of the two main presenters at any given time.
The initial two presenters, Chris Evans (presenter from 1992-1994) and Gaby Roslin (1992-1996) held reign over the what might be the golden era of The Big Breakfast. Evans zany humour and touch of arrogance was new and fresh, Roslin a good foil for him. At its height, viewing figures reached two million.
Evans started his own production company and moved onto other projects in 1994. He was replaced by former Neighbours star Mark Little. Little and Roslin presented for two years before Roslin made way for Zoe Ball in 1996. Audience figures slipped a little after Evans left, and a little more after Roslin departed. However, it wasn't until Little and Ball were replaced by Rick Adams and Sharron Davies, two less accomplished hosts on the small screen in 1997, that figures fell dramatically, losing its audience primarily to radio. Producers stopped the rot quickly, finding a winning partnership in Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen. Audience figures jumped back to their peak. Vaughan briefly presented also with Liza Tarbuck and Kelly Brook in 1999, but van Outen returned in 2000. The pair quit together in 2001. This turned out to be the death knell for the show as viewers did not warm to their replacements, Richard Bacon, Paul Tonkinson and Amanda Byram. Mike McClean and Donna Air joined the show as it converted to a multi-presenter format. This format only lasted for a couple of months though, with the show reverting back to its original format for the final months, before it last aired on March 29th 2002.
A key feature for the first five years was the "On the Bed" interview. Paula Yates and later Paul O'Grady (as Lily Savage) and Vanessa Feltz assumed the role of interviewer. Keith Chegwin and Paul Ross were "on your doorstep" outside broadcasters. One of the most infamous on-air was Paula Yates' open flirting during an interview with Michael Hutchens as a prelude to their affair.
In November 2002, after The Big Breakfast was axed, a fire destroyed most of the cottage the show was filmed in. The roof and most of the first floor was destroyed in the blaze. The fire is especially suspicious as there was no gas or electrical supply to the building.
Since the fire, extensive renovations have taken place to restore the house, and it is now used as a family home.
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