SMTV Live (an abbreviation of Saturday Morning Television Live), is a British Saturday morning children’s television programme broadcast on ITV from August 29, 1998 to December 27, 2003.
On the surface, the programme did not seem to stray away from the format of other Saturday morning output, featuring an audience of children, competitions and cartoons, though it constantly won in ratings battles with the BBC‘s Live & Kicking and became ITV’s most successful children’s programme since Tiswas. The major success of SMTV Live has been attributed in equal parts to Ant & Dec‘s original presenting partnership with Cat Deeley, its use of thinly veiled comedic innuendo aimed at older viewers, and its broadcast of the Japanese anime series Pokémon. At the height of its popularity, SMTV Live regularly attracted 2.5 million viewers.
During the final episode of the 14th series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2017, Ant & Dec asked Deeley if she would be up for an SMTV reunion in 2018 to mark the show’s 20th anniversary, to which she accepted. After the 2017 British Academy Television Awards, Ant & Dec confirmed that ITV had green-lit the revival and the show would air in August 2018. It was postponed to 2019 in March 2018.
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20th Century Highlights
- “Chums” (parody of Friends)
- “Fartbeat” (parody of Heartbeat)
- “F’art Attack” (parody of children’s art show Art Attack)
- “SMTV 2099 (parody of Star Trek and sci-fi in general)
- “The Vicar of Dribbley” (a parody of The Vicar of Dibley)
- “The Beautiful Corrs” (a parody of Irish pop group The Corrs)
- “Casually” (a parody of BBC‘s Casualty)
- Wonkey Donkey (similar to Catchphrase but guessing phrases containing rhyming words)
After each programme, CD:UK (an abbreviation of CountDown United Kingdom) was broadcast, with the same presenters as SMTV Live. This was also presented live, and featured bands in the UK Singles Chart, music videos, and interviews with famous music stars. Ant & Dec originally presented the show with Cat from 1998 to 2001 and Cat continued to present until 2005. It was the replacement for The Chart Show, which had been airing on the network for nine and a half years. CD:UK was axed in April 2006 due to budget cuts and financial difficulties.
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