BBC Choice

This section contains an A-W of original commissions for the network version of BBC Choice; a few went on to be repeated on BBC2 and BBC1. Liquid News and The RDA have their own pages in this section.

ANNA IN WONDERLAND (2002) - Anna Nolan travelled the world visiting weird and wonderful people, such as female wrestlers and 'furries'.

ATTENTION SCUM (2001) - Surreal comedy sketch show starring Simon Munnery, aka The League Against Tedium. It also featured Johnny Vegas. Only one series was made.

BACKSTAGE (1998-2000) - Cheap and cheerful show, airing daily at 6.00pm during the Choice Mk1 era, which went behind the scenes at the BBC and previewed upcoming programmes. Presented by Kaye Adams at first, but by the time it had been halved in length from 60 to 30 minutes, Julia Bradbury and Jon Monie had taken over. (All three presenters shown here on the final programme - see clips at the bottom of this page). Backstage was one of the first casualties of Stuart Murphy's appointment as Choice supremo, and ended in March 2000 when the channel was given a youth-orientated makeover.

BACHELOR'S WALK (2002) - Drama set in Ireland, about a group of bachelors.

THE BEAT ROOM SPECIALS (2000-01) - Compilation editions of BBC Scotland's excellent music performance show.

BE ME TV (2002) - BBC Choice let us 'experience exciting and unusual lifestyles close up'.

THE BLACK RUN/ROGER BLACK'S SKIING SHOW (1998-2000) - Skiing show with Roger Black, renamed for its second series. Roger also presented coverage of winter sports on Saturday mornings in early 1999, in Snow Sports.

THE BOB MONKHOUSE DIY FILM SHOW (2000) - Bob hosted this show from Edinburgh, giving tips to budding film-makers. The show also included numerous short films from amateur directors.

BREEZE BLOCK (2002) - Geordie comedy drama, with Auf Wiedersehen Pet's Tim Healy.

CBBC CHOICE (1998-2000) - Not to be confused with CBBC on Choice, this Saturday afternoon strand brought us The Crew Room, Dog and Dinosaur, L&K Replay and most notably, surprise Rentaghost and Jossy's Giants repeats.

CBBC ON CHOICE (1999-2002) - From late 1999, BBC Choice's daytime hours, which had previously consisted of a repeating promotional trailer, were now filled with children's programmes from the BBC archive, some unseen for many years. The output was mainly aimed at pre-school audience, and included the likes of Pigeon Street, Bertha, Mr Benn, Bananaman, Charlie Chalk, Caterpillar Trail, Greenclaws, Chucklevision and Bodger and Badger. A couple of festive editions of Play School from the mid-80s were wheeled out at Christmas 1999 and 2000. CBBC on Choice was replaced by CBeebies in February 2002.

CHILL ON CHOICE (1998-2000) - The first hour of Choice's output from 5.00pm was known as Chill on Choice, and started with an episode of the Australian soap Breakers, once it had been demoted from BBC1; then pop videos and a repeat of something like The Brittas Empire or a Top of the Pops compilation.

CHOICE CUTS (2001) - Showcasing the work of up and coming film-makers.

CHOICE WORLD CLUBBING (2000-02) - Exploring clubbing hotspots around the world.

THE CHRISTINE HAMILTON SHOW (2000) - With husband Neil playing the chauffeur, Christine took her real-life sofa out and about to interview celebrities who have weathered storms in their careers, such as Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Bernard Manning.

CLIVE ANDERSON'S CONSPIRACIES (2001) - Clive narrated this series which discussed UFOs, Elvis and crop circles.

CLOSURE (2001-02) - Davina McCall hosted this show which mixed confessions with pop music performances.

COME FLY WITH ME (2000-02) - Possibly one of Choice's bigger budget efforts, this game show saw Joe Mace and Tania Strecker fly five teams of two out to some faraway location to complete various games and challenges. The losers of each round were sent straight back home on the plane, leaving the winners to enjoy their classy hotel suite in the city.

THE CREW ROOM (1998-99) - Similar to The Dog and Dinosaur Show but without the dog and dinosaur. Presented by Marsali Stewart.

THE DAVE GORMAN COLLECTION (2001) - Although also shown on BBC2, this amusing series debuted on Choice. It saw Dave Gorman, the man with unfeasible sideburns, take up a bet to locate 54 more Dave Gormans around the world.

DERMOT'S SPORTING BUDDIES (2002) - Dermot O'Leary talked sport with various celebrities such as Sean Hughes, Davina McCall and BBC Choice mainstay Ralf Little.

DIAMOND SPORT (2000) - The computer games guru presented this 'comic review of the week's sport'.

DINERS (2002-03) - Cheap television at its cheapest - eavesdropping on people's conversations in a restaurant. Continued on BBC3.

THE DOG AND DINOSAUR SHOW (1999-2000) - Part of CBBC Choice. Dog (the clever one) and Dinosaur (the dumb one) were real-time computer animated characters who supposedly presented their show from a pod atop BBC Television Centre. However the majority of the three hour show was made up of repeats of various CBBC shows.

THE DOMINIC DIAMOND INTERVIEWS (1998-2000) - Mr Diamond spoke to various sporting celebrities.

EASTENDERS REVEALED (1998-2009) - The only BBC Choice show to last the entire life of the channel. Other Revealed shows included Casualty Revealed, TOTP Revealed and even Robot Wars Revealed. Shorter EastEnders updates could be found in Around the Square (1998-99).

ED STONE IS DEAD (2002-03) - Late Choice-period comedy drama, starring Richard Blackwood as a dead man who is given the chance to live again.

EXPLORER (1998-99) - One of two nightly archive strands, Explorer brought together themed clips and programmes from the BBC's factual archive. The weekly theme was usually linked to a current BBC1 or BBC2 series. The strand was usually followed each evening by the similar The Take.

EYE CANDY (1999-2000) - Fashion show for teenagers, with Angela Buttolph.

THE FEAR (2001) - Jackanory for adults - Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone, Anna Friel and others read spooky stories.

15 MINUTES OF FAME (2000-01) - Looking back at the careers at various faded performers such as The Krankies, Bob Carolgees and Keith Harris.

15 STOREYS HIGH (2002-04) - Sitcom set in a high-rise flat. Subsequently repeated on BBC2 and BBC3; a second series aired on BBC3 in early 2004.

45 MINUTES (2000-01) - Football chat show with Lisa Rogers and Joe Mace, which actually only lasted for thirty minutes. Best known for footballer Les Ferdinand admitting he had helped a few vandals over the wall into the Blue Peter garden...

THE FOUR HORSEMEN IN 'THIS IS POP' (2000) - Sitcom about a fictional music show, 'This is Pop'. Set at BBC Television Centre, it mixed comedy with archive Top of the Pops footage. The Four Horsemen were a comedy troupe which actually consisted of at least two women. The strangest thing of all, though, was the scheduling - it was buried at 1.00 in the morning, and never repeated.

FUN AT THE FUNERAL PARLOUR (2001-02) - BBC Choice's first high profile sitcom, centered around a family firm of bungling funeral directors in Wales. Written by and starring Rhys Thomas, it ran for two series. Bill Oddie and Tom Baker made guest appearances.

GHETTO FABULOUS (2002) - Series exploring black culture.

GOOD EVENING ROCKALL (2000) - Light hearted current affairs show in which spin doctor Derek Draper, former songstress Lauren Laverne and a special guest each week put forward stories to be included in a news bulletin for the remote island of Rockall. Presenters were Ed Docx (first series) and Sue Perkins (second series); GMTV's Penny Smith read the bulletin at the end of each show.

THE GREAT EGG RACE RIDES AGAIN (2000) - Professor Heinz Wolff introduced condensed rehashes of classic Great Egg Race episodes. Bit of a curious (but welcome!) one considering the demographic BBC Choice was now aiming for. However it was soon followed by BBC Choice's modern take on the series, Simply Complicated.

GREAT SPEECHES (2000-01) - Part of Micro TV, this looked at famous speeches made by Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Bob Geldof and others.

HAVING IT OFF (2002) - Lowbrow sitcom set in a hair salon.

HEAD TO TOE (2001) - A history of fashion.

HYPE (1998-2000) - Sunday afternoon time-filler teen magazine, initially presented by Rachael Hopper and Rick Adams. The later incarnation left the studio and went out and about, with Emma B, Ortis and Jonathon Wilkes now presenting. Knocked on the head by Stuart Murphy.

HOTLINKS (2000) - Part of Micro TV, this 'going out and staying in' guide was a true virtual reality fest, with 'virtual' presenter Nomy.

INSIDE TRACKS (1998-2000) - Part of Choice's launch schedule, this was a rather good music/discussion series originally presented by Kevin Greening from the BBC's Maida Vale studios. It veered towards the credible end of the music scene, with features and live sessions from the likes of Cousteau, Broadcast and The Delgados. Later on it was halved in length to thirty minutes, with the consequence that there was now less music and more discussion. Sean Hughes took over at the start of 2000, but the programme was stopped in its tracks soon after. The theme tune was 'Start the Commotion' by Wiseguys.

JAPANORAMA (2002) - Jonathan Ross explored pop culture in Japan.

JAPAN TV (2001) - Examining Japanese society.

JOHNNY VAUGHAN TONIGHT (2002-03) - Effectively killing off any hopes of a further series of The RDA, the first series of Johnny's chat show debuted on Choice, and was later repeated on BBC1. It was also the first programme to air on BBC3. Johnny also hosted Johnny Vaughan's World Cup Extra on BBC Choice and BBC1 in 2002.

THE JOHNNY VEGAS GAMESHOW (2002) - A one-off frantic game show in which Johnny gave the whole studio audience the chance to win a trip to France

LA POOL PARTY (2001-02) - Jayne Middlemiss, Lisa Snowdon and Tess Daly chatted to celebs around the pool in Los Angeles.

LENNY BEIGE'S VARIETY PACK (1999-2000) - Variety show starring Lenny Beige, aka comedian Steve Furst, with support from Supergirly. Special guests included Terry Wogan, Gail Porter and Lionel Blair.

LIQUID NEWS (2000-04) - Probably BBC Choice's best known show, which made a star of Christopher Price. Spin-offs include Liquid Assets and Liquid Profiles. See our Liquid News page.

THE LOAFERS (1998-99) - Very early stand-up comedy and music show. Set in the fictional flat of Brendan Coogan and Gill Mills, in each edition new comedy talent made a case to move into the flat's spare room.

LOGO (2001-02) - Documentary series exploring the power of brands upon today's society. Slightly ironic, considering BBC Choice insisted on displaying its logo right throughout its output.

MARK LAMARR'S CELEBRITY RELICS (2001) - Mark examined celebrity leftovers, such as Elvis's GI service jacket and John Lennon's piano.

MARK OWEN'S CELEBRITY SCOOTERS (2000) - Err...right...

MARY ANNE'S BIKES (2002) - Biking series with Radio 1's Mary Anne Hobbs.

MICRO TV (2000) - Introduced in April 2000 as part of Stuart Murphy's Choice revamp - an early evening sequence of 15 minute programmes, such as Hotlinks and Great Speeches, apparently aimed at people who can't be bothered watching 30 minute programmes. The strand had virtually disintegrated by the autumn, replaced by Weakest Link, Robot Wars and TOTP2 repeats (all 45 minute programmes).

MIND GAMES (2001) - Late night mind-bending puzzles, featuring the voice of Sean Pertwee, and ambient backing music from the likes of William Orbit and Air.

110 PER CENT (1998-2000) - Sports news magazine that aired in Choice's early days at 7.00pm daily, presented by Mary Rhodes and Matt Smith (not the one from Doctor Who!)

OUT ON A LIMB WITH JASON BYRNE (2002) - Another game show pilot, where the prize was apparently Rod Stewart's girlfriend, Penny Lancaster.

THE PARTY (2000) - Series of six individual half-hour dramas from new writers, with only the underlying theme of 'The Party' linking them.

PATSY PALMER'S REAL EAST END (2001) - The EastEnders actress explored the real East London.

PICK OF THE WEEK (1998-99) - Saturday evening catch-up repeats from BBC1 and BBC2 - but you'd have to tune in to find out what they were!

THE PLAYERS CLUB (2001) - Trevor Nelson met pop stars like Mel B, Mary J Bilge and Puff Father.

POP NOODLE (2000) - Pop news and gossip.

PROBLEM PAGE (1999-2000) - Teen discussion series presented by Heather Darroch. Shown as part of Chill on Choice, and produced in conjuction with Rapture TV.

PURE SOAP (2002-03) - A spin off from the BBC's Pure Soap website, this live series brought us soap news, gossip, guests and phone-ins. A second series aired on BBC3.

RADIO 1 TV (2001) - Behind the scenes at Radio 1, with the station's presenters bringing us music, features and interviews.

THE RALF LITTLE SHOW (2002-03) - Not the most obvious or natural candidate to host a chat show, Ralf's effort debuted on BBC Choice before continuing on BBC3. Peter Davison guested on one show and performed the theme tune to Button Moon.

THE RDA WITH JOHN GORDILLO (2000-01) - The best show ever on television, bar none! See our RDA page.

REAL LIVES (1998-99) - Early Choice documentary series when it was still in 'best of the BBC' mode.

REAL STYLE (1998-99) - A sort of combination of the daytime shows Real Rooms and Style Challenge.

RE:COVERED (2002-03) - Dermot O'Leary's BBC3 music show was first shown on Choice. Each artist featured performed their latest single and then a cover version of a classic song.

RENT FREE (2002) - Richard Bacon hosted this game show in flatmates competed to win a flat, rent free for one year. A follow-up series, Get Staffed was broadcast the following year on BBC3.

RE-PETER (1998-99) - Part of CBBC Choice, highlights of the previous week's Blue Peter. Briefly resurfaced on the CBBC channel in 2002.

REVOLVER (2001) - 'Dark and twisted' sketch show which saw familiar old school faces like Melvyn Hayes, Roy Barraclough, Lionel Blair, Mollie Sugden and Carmen Silvera exhibiting unfamiliar behaviour... A second series aired on BBC1 in 2004.

RICH HALL'S BADLY FUNDED THINK TANK (2001) - 'Rich Hall and Mike Wilmot present a new show which does your thinking for you' - this was a pilot for a series which never materialised.

ROADTRIPPIN' (2002) - Cat Deeley and Edith Bowman go touring round three continents.

ROCK SHRINES (2000-02) - Another part of Micro TV, this series visited the shrines of deceased pop stars like John Lennon, Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain.

ROW Z (1998-2000) - Early BBC Choice 'hotlink' show (not to be confused with Hotlinks!) which followed immediately after BBC1's Match of the Day with fanzine-style football chat and analysis.

RUSH (2001-02) - A whistlestop tour round the coastlines of Great Britain and Ireland, visiting unusual people and places.

SCRAP MATES (1999-2000) - Sarah Cawood presented this renovation/makeover series for groups of flatmates on a tight budget.

SCREEN GRABS/OFF YOUR BOX (1999-2000) - Starting off as a straightforward television review show, Screen Grabs was soon transformed in a sort of comedy sketch show which reviewed recent programmes on all channels, and was subsequently renamed Off Your Box. Mark Eccleston and Dave Chapman were the sole performers. The second series retained the sketch show format, but the duo now turned their attention to looking back at television of the 1980s - however they only got as far as 1984. This series must be congratulated, however, for starting each show with a contemporary BBC1 globe, and being made in 4:3 thus not cropping any of the archive clips (programme makers take note!) Dave Chapman was later a regular participant in CBBC's Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

SCREW UPS (2000-01) - Five minute time-fillers, in which people described their most embarrassing moments.

SHAKER MAKER (2000) - Yet another Micro TV entrant, this series featured barman Ben Reed mixing up coaktails for various groups of people.

SIMPLY COMPLICATED (2000) - One of Choice's finer moments, this was son of The Great Egg Race, in which two teams raced to design and build a contraption to perform an household task, eg making the tea, spreading jam on bread etc, but make it as unnecessarily complicated as possible. Their efforts were then judged by the likes of Johnny Ball, Trevor Bayliss and Judith Hann. Sadly, only one series was made.

THE SIN BIN (2000) - Sport and music magazine, presented by Matt Smith of Row Z and Ian Brodie of the Lightning Seeds.

SISTERS (1999) - BBC Choice's first drama commission, this one-off play starred Lisa Faulkner.

60 SECONDS (2001-16) - Hourly minute-long news updates. 60 Seconds continued for as long as BBC3 did, ending in February 2016 when it ceased as a broadcast channel.

...SO FAR (2000-01) - Part of Micro TV, this series reviewed the careers of various celebrities, such as Zoe Ball, Jason Donovan and Ulrika Jonsson.

SPINE CHILLERS (2002-03) - Two unrelated comedy dramas with a spooky edge - Goths and Love Gods. The remainder of the series was shown on BBC3 in 2003, and then a second series was broadcast under the title Twisted Tales.

SPORTS TALK (1999) - Very short-lived sports chat show.

THE STATE WE'RE IN (2002-03) - The pilot edition of this topical satire show was presented by Jeremy Vine, but Dermot Munaghan took his place for the first full series. A second series aired on BBC3.

STOP! KUNG FU! (2001) - Jonathan Ross took a light-hearted look at kung fu films

STOP THE WORLD (1998-2000) - Off-the-wall comedy sketch show with link material from Mark Tonderai and routines from various comedy performers. The most recurring element featured the antics of residents of a high-rise block of flats. It also utilised archive news footage with spoof voiceovers.

STUPID PUNTS (2001-03) - Celebrity game show with Patrick Kielty, which continued on BBC3.

SUPERGIRLY (2001) - Appalling sitcom starring theaforementioned 'comedy' duo. The BBC must also have realised it was a duffer, and stuck it on at midnight.

THE TAKE (1998-99) - Another nightly archive programming strand. The weekly themes included First Take, looking at televisual firsts, classic children's shows in Later with Bagpuss, police shows in Evening All, and the bescarfed time traveller himself, Doctor Who.

TALES OF UPLIFT AND MORAL IMPROVEMENT (2001) - Rik Mayall starred as Mrs Ffine Carmody in this series of tales set in Edwardian England, each of which examined a moral dilemma faced by a child.

TASTE BUDDIES (2000) - Superb series of 15-minute cookery sitcoms, set in a Welsh bedsit. Yes, really! A hidden gem.

TERRI MCINTYRE - CLASSY BITCH (2001-03) - Naff sitcom about the owner of a Glasgow tanning salon. A further series aired on BBC3 in 2003.

TOILETS (2002) - A sign of BBC Choice going down the pan? Claudia Winkleman hosted an entire series of documentaries about, um, lavatories.

TOTP - THE NEW CHART (1999-2000) - BBC1 and BBC2 both had their own versions of Top of the Pops - and so did BBC Choice for a while. The New Chart was transmitted live from London's Met Bar on Sunday evenings at 7.30pm, becoming the first place on television to reveal the new singles chart, using videos and pre-recorded studio performances. It didn't survive the Stuart Murphy axe.

TREVOR NELSON'S URBAN CHOICE (2000-02) - Hip-hop, garage and rap music performances.

24 HEAVEN (2002) - Celebrities told us why they love the American series 24 so much.

UP LATE WITH... (2001) - Replacement for The RDA that was a complete waste of space compared to its illustrious predecessor. Ralf Little, Gina Yashere, Sean Hughes and Mel and Sue took turns in presenting.

URBAN ICONS (2001) - The history of mobile phones, personal stereos and cashpoint machines.

WAITING FOR THE WHISTLE (2002) - A series of three football-themed dramas - Dead Casual (written by Johnny Vaughan!), The King and Us and Staying Up.

WAR: DO OR DIE (2001) - Documentary broadcast in the wake of the 11th September terrorist attacks, in which twelve young people were taken on a military survival course.

WEB RATS (2002) - One-off 'comical internet review show', shown in the middle of the night. Obscure or what?!


From our YouTube channel, Kaye Adams extols the virtues of BBC digital television, focusing particularly on BBC Choice, in this nine minute programme, Noughts and One, broadcast on BBC2 on 15th November 1998. (This video also appears on our BBC Digital page). Also featuring Kaye Adams, along with Julia Bradbury and Jon Monie, a few clips from the final edition of Backstage. We also have some short clips of BBC Choice startup menus.


BBC Choice schedules at BBC Genome
BBC Choice Wikipedia entry

Text copyright © Robert Williams, images and video copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation