UK Play

This section contains an alphabetical listing of original commissions for the now-defunct music and comedy channel UK Play (later known as Play UK) which ran from 1998 to 2002. The channel was originally envisioned as a televisual counterpart to Radio 1, and although the channel eventually launched without that link, some programmes did feature Radio 1 personalities of the time, such as Chris Moyles, Sara Cox, Mark and Lard and the Dreem Teem.

The post-watershed schedule mainly featured comedies repeated from BBC1 and BBC2, such as The Fast Show, Shooting Stars and The Royle Family, and there were even some children's classics including Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Bod. The channel was originally run by Stuart Murphy, before he moved to BBC Choice.

As old schedules for UK Play/Play UK are somewhat hard to come by, we're sure this list is far from complete, so if you can recall any other programmes that were produced specifically for this channel, please get in touch and I can add them to the list.

We also have programme lists for BBC Choice, BBC Knowledge and BBC News 24.

THE ALPHABET SHOW - Lauren Laverne and Chris Addison presented pop videos and chat based around a different letter of the alphabet in each episode.

BOB DOWNE ALL OVER BRITAIN - The Australian comedian travelled across Britain to meet the locals.

BOY GEORGE: ONE ON ONE - Recorded at his house, Boy George chatted to celebrities about their glamorous lifestyles in this ten-part series.

CHERRY POP - 'Freshly-plucked new comedians present their favourite music videos'.

CONNECTED - We can't find any information about this programme, at a guess each episode comprised music videos that were connected in some way?

THE CHRIS MOYLES SHOW - The rotund Radio 1 DJ was joined by Comedy Dave for these half-hour programmes in which the pair linked pop videos with amusing content. For some reason, Dave spent the entirety of one series dressed as a jockey, and another dressed as a matador.

THE DAVE SAINT SHOW - The Fast Show's John Thomson starred as a washed-up disc jockey presenting a local radio drivetime show in this series which, like many on UK Play, mixed comedy with pop videos.

DREAM PERFORMANCES - From a bed in a park somewhere, Lauren Laverne introduced archive performances from a different band or artist each episode. Featured artists included Supergrass, Radiohead, Catatonia and Jamiroquai.

EITHER/OR - Simon Munnery, aka The League Against Tedium, presented the 'most disturbing' game show on television, in which anonymous contestants dressed in monk-type costumes were forced to make absurd choices.

FLATMATES - Game show hosted by Sara Cox that 'plays on the tensions between people who live together'. The show took place in said flatmates' own abode - well, it saves having to build a studio set.

FOOL'S GOLD - 'Perplexed shoppers find themselves on the receiving end of Mischief La Bas's unique brand of street comedy'.

FOOTAGE AND MOUTH - Pop videos interspersed with archive footage, re-edited for comic effect.

FUNNY NOISE - Music videos introduced by comedians.

FUTURTV - Simon Munnery, again in his guise as The League Against Tedium, presented his own 15-minute 'pop slot' and got 'wonderfully discursive about strange days ahead'. There were also contributions from the Kombat Opera.

GET YOUR HITS OUT - Described as the 'ultimate comedy and music format', this twice daily show was hosted by Lauren Laverne and Matt Brown. Each edition also included members of the public giving their opinions on new releases to Gina Yashere and Anita Rani in Streetbeat.

HAVING A POP - Offbeat comedy show featuring Radio 1's Mark and Lard, aka Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley.

HERE IS THIS - Comedy series about 'the exciting adventures of a mild-mannered sales representative and his secretary Mabel'. The show featured the characters Barry Gibson, Bobby Peru and a certain Keith Lemon.

HEY DJ - 'The best dance videos mixed by UK Play's own resident DJ'.

HONKY SAUSAGES - Sitcom about 'the most obscene family ever to grace the TV'. Starred Laila Morse.

JAMIE THEAKSTON'S PICK 'N' MIX - The ubiquitous presenter introduced a selection of live music performances from the BBC archive.

JOE'S POP SHOP - Joe Mace used 'his extensive retail experience' to run a record shop in this surreal sitcom, which also featured Ben Dunn as his friend. The pair also wrote the series.

THE JOY OF DECKS - Songs and videos mixed and mashed up together.

LE HIP PARADE - 'Priorite a Gauche go out for a night on the tiles and investigate British nightlife'. They also introduced their favourite European pop videos.

LUCAS AND WALLIAMS IN ROCK PROFILE - Preceding Little Britain, and much funnier, Rock Profile featured Matt Lucas and David Walliams playing a variety of rock and pop stars interviewed in deadpan fashion by the ubiquitous Jamie Theakston. The highlights, though, were probably the ludicrous 'Rock Facts' that appeared at the bottom of the screen during the music videos. Two series were broadcast, in 1999 and 2000, and re-edited versions appeared on BBC2 in 2001. Both series were released, sans pop videos, on DVD. Rock Profile was revived in 2009 as an online-only series, this time with Dermot O'Leary as interviewer.

MARK AND LARD'S POP UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS - Another of UK Play's highlights, this was a comic take on University Challenge, with the two teams actually sitting on top of each other - posh city dwellers on top and country yokels down below. The hosts, Radio 1's Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley, similarly sat in a double-decker construction looking like a two-storey shed, asking pop questions of their respective teams.

MARK AND LARD'S TENUOUS LINKS - A further outing for the Radio 1 duo, who this time tested our knowledge of 'flimsy pop music trivia'.

MENTAL! THE MUSIC QUIZ - Pop quiz hosted by Iain Lee. He later described it as a 'terrible, terrible show'.

THE MITCHELL AND WEBB SITUATION - Preceding the likes of Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look, this sketch show featured the then-virtually unknown David Mitchell, Robert Webb and Olivia Colman. The series has been released on DVD.

NEXT STOP, PHIL KAY - The Scottish comedian 'cocks a snoop at stuffy tradition' as he tours his Scottish homeland.

THE PHONE ZONE - Spin-off of BBC2's The O Zone broadcast live each afternoon from 4-6pm, featuring pop video requests, phone-ins, special guests, competitions and gossip. Presenters included Jayne Middlemiss, Vernon Kay, Joe Mace and Josie d'Arby. In 2000 it was replaced by TOTP@Play.

PLAY DANCE/PLAY MUSIC/PLAY LOUD/PLAY SELECTA - Non-stop pop video programmes, we presume.

PLAY TOP 20 CLUB CLASSICS - Dance and disco tracks to get down and groove to.

PLAY TOP 20 HITLIST - The Top 20 countdown.

POP WILL SHOOT ITSELF - 'Series celebrating famous, infamous and innovative music videos, presented by Danann Breathnach and methodist minister Reverend Leslie Griffiths'.

RE:BRAND - Russell Brand looked at cultural taboos.

THE SOUND OF DISCO - Back-to-back videos of the 'funkiest disco hits of all-time'.

THE SOUND OF PLAY - Non-stop music videos broadcast during daytime hours.

THE SOUND OF XMAS - Non-stop Christmas music videos (we presume!) broadcast during daytime hours.

SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE - Celebrity guests talked to Radio 1's Mary Anne Hobbs about the songs they would choose to go on the soundtrack to a movie about their life.

SPIN CITIES - Radio 1 dance music DJ Judge Jules (not a real judge) presented this travel series for clubbers, in which he visited ten international cities to discover the best clubs, bars and restaurants.

SWIVEL ON THE TIP - Comedy series spoofing youth TV, featuring Nicholas Burns, Kathryn Drysdale and Daisy Haggard.

TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT - One-off comedy - we have no more information than that!

TERRORVILLE - 'Kinda weird and only just about watchable, but OK' according to a Digital Spy poster in 2001 - unfortunately, we have no idea what this was, other than that it featured the sketch group Big and Daft.

THAT DREEM TEEM THING - Radio 1's UK garage DJ trio Spoony, Mikee B and Timmi Magic (not their real names) presented this series from their flat in Bethnal Green.

TOP OF THE POPS PLUS - Launching at a time that the TOTP brand was spreading far and wide, this spin-off featured performances from recent editions of Top of the Pops, music videos, guest interviews and a rundown of the Top 20.

TOTP@PLAY - Taking over from The Phone Zone in 2000, but otherwise much the same format - guests, competitions, and pop videos requested by viewers, along with some Top of the Pops performances thrown into the mix. The presenting line-up included Vernon Kay, Josie d'Arby, Joe Mace and Lisa Rogers.

THE UK TOP 20 - Pretty self-explanatory, we would have thought!

UK PLAY TOP 100 - 'The biggest and best songs of all-time, counted down by a board of chimpanzees'.

UNNOVATIONS - Shopping channel spoof, featuring demonstrations of bizarre products.

VIC REEVES EXAMINES - Chat show in which the comedian invited guests to discuss a topic of the choice.

WESTWOOD PRESENTS - Radio 1's Tim Westwood (his real name) explored hip hop culture in this ten-part series.


Play UK Wikipedia entry