Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had some genuinely hilarious comedy sketches, some of which might not have been quite at NSFW levels, but were definitely NSFCT (Not Safe For Children’s Telly):
ITV got away with a cheeky spoof of Friends, arguably the biggest show on TV at the time, with SM:TV Live’s regular sketch Chums. Even the theme tune was ridiculously similar, complete with outdoor sofa shenanigans and dancing around a giant fountain.
Their version of Ross and Rachel was Dec and Cat, who had a long-running joke where they were about to kiss but kept getting interrupted, and had their relationship foiled with shocking revelations like Ant and Dec accidentally getting married or Cat’s ex-boyfriend (played by Darren Day) turning up. Other shocking (and often violent) storylines include Ant getting shot (several times), Lorraine Kelly headbutting Ant, and Dec organising Ant Aid, a Live Aid spoof prompted by Ant pretending he has lost the ability to blink:
As well as the constant corpsing, the real joy of Chums was the way it convinced some of the day’s biggest stars – from The Spice Girls to Pierce Brosnan, Jerry Springer to Jeremy Paxman – to turn up and do some very silly things on live TV. Frankly, if they revived Chums in a primetime evening slot, people would watch it.
The ‘How Did They Get Away With That?’ Moments
While children’s humour leans towards the puerile and scatological end of the scale, SM:TV Live frequently pushed the envelope of what was acceptable to air on a Saturday morning kids’ TV show, aiming its comedy more at audiences of hungover students.
The examples are endless. While appearing in the recurring “SMTV 2099” sketch, Victoria Beckham drew the route for their space mission that was the exact outline of her breasts. Cat Deeley advertised her raunchy “Cat Chat” hotline, where she breathlessly pretended to be a “naughty little kitty” to a delighted Dec. While dressed as a bishop, Ant begins singing the hymn “We plough the fields and scatter” before changing the final lyrics to “…our clothes across the floor!” and doing a surprise strip tease. And when Caroline Quentin appeared in Chums and was about to kiss Ant, she recited the poem: “Make your tongue a deep-throat diver, let’s touch teeth and swap saliva!”