The Late Late Breakfast Show



Noel Edmonds


Leni Harper (1982, first 6 episodes)

John Peel (outside broadcast anchor)

Mike Smith (outside broadcast anchor)


BBC1, 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986 (79 episodes in 5 series + 4 specials)


The oldest, and arguably least fondly remembered, of the Edmonds Saturday night entertainment vehicles. Nevertheless, it did set out the ingredients for BBC1's fun-time schedule for around 15 years, namely: random celebrity appearances, large-scale stunts and gunge.

Main game feature was Give It A Whirl (a.k.a. the Whirly Wheel), where a punter gets to perform a Don't Try This at Home!-style stunt. The wheel's action was somewhat erratic, mainly because it was rigged by a bloke at the back ensuring it landed on the segment relating to the stunt that the production team had lined up for that week. (In a typical Edmonds move, this bloke was brought out in front of the camera to be ridiculed when one week the wheel landed on the 'wrong' space.) As certain eagle-eyed viewers spotted, the other wheel (the one with the names on it) was originally weighted so that the name at the bottom would end up at the top. This was eventually admitted on air, and while the wheel remained rigged, they did at least change the weighting from week to week afterwards, with Edmonds making a running joke out of it.

Other regular features - not all appearing every week - included

  • The Weekly Awards, a collection of archive film clips with topical commentary.
  • The Hit Squad, a hidden-camera stunt in the style of Beadle's About.
  • Eagle Eye Award, given to a viewer who spotted a deliberate mistaike in the show.
  • Mr. Puniverse, a "competition" for weedy and wimpy men, the sort who would be blown over by the force of a hairdryer.
  • The Password Phone Call, where Noel would call up a random phone number and hope that someone would pick up, and then give the phrase printed in that week's Radio Times, all to win a microwave oven or similar consumer durable.
  • Claim to Fame, members of the public were given the chance to demonstrate their unusual skill on network television.
  • The Golden Gauntlet, where teams of people would be challenged to accomplish a certain feat, like cramming themselves into a portable toilet cubicle.
  • The Golden Egg Awards started as a compilation of out-takes and bloopers from broadcast television, but morphed into a collection of home videos from the viewers. You've Been Framed! owes a debt.

In November 1986, 24-year-old Michael Lush was killed while rehearsing for a Whirly Wheel stunt. The stunt was meant to be a bungee jump where the bottom of a box opened and the volunteer bounced on the bungee rope. However, the bungee rope was not properly attached to the box. In the subsequent investigation it transpired that the safety supervisor hired to set up the stunt was not properly qualified.

Michael Lush (pictured) before his death.

The programme was back just two years later, using the new title of The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow.

Key moments

After the last show of the second series, Noel was prompted to do a short Christmas message but unknown to him, the show was secretly still on the air and The Hit Squad was ready to unleash chaos.


Theme music

Signature tune composed by Gary Kemp and performed by Spandau Ballet. Incidental music was by Paul 'N-N-N-N-Ninteteen' Hardcastle.


Compilation editions of the Golden Eggs and the best Whirly Wheel stunts were aired at Easter 1985. Special editions of The Late Late Breakfast Show were broadcast from the top of the BT Tower on Christmas morning in 1984 and 1985; a hastily re-titled Christmas Morning with Noel was made in 1986 after the main programme's cancellation.

For some reason, Christmas morning specials were broadcast live from the Post Office Tower. Further, Network Ten Australia simulcast one or two of these specials to make things just a bit more technically challenging than need be.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

Opening titles from 1982 and 1984 in the BBC Motion Graphics Archive


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