|On which every night is bins!|
My Dad maintained we got the dish originally so I would have something to watch in the boring six week summer holiday such as satellite's own dedicated children's channel called...um, The Childrens Channel which also happened to a channel which also finished at 10am every morning so the Lifestyle channel (for WIMMIN!) could share its channel (or transponder) number and wouldn't be joined by the likes of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network for another three years. Looking back at this time, particular with all the recent EU nonsense, I'm overwhelmed with nostalgia and our rare opportunity to see a window into what the rest of Europe were doing, connected to our neighbours across the water. But if I'm honest back in 1990 I was mostly very very bored. I mean, I even went outside and stuff. BY CHOICE.
|Original DJ Kat (left), mental eyed American upstart variant (right)|
I also learnt that as well as there had been ANOTHER DJ Kat on New York channel WNYW which just so happened to have recently been bought by Rupert Murdoch's Fox. He was also American although that made slightly more sense and was partnered with the "Flexitoon Puppets", a comically rubbish name that can never possibly live up its sheer Simpsons-joke sounding promise.
It was The Simpsons that undoubtedly became one of the big reasons my friends suddenly all wanted Sky themselves and I recall much jealousy (and a bit of inviting themselves round) when the yellow family made their exceptionally hyped arrival in September 1990. Far from a kids show, despite what most dreadful "BEST KIDDIEBOX SHOW EVERS" polls say, 6:30 on a Sunday became an instant family-centring ritual which was upheld until pretty much me moving out from my folks. I would happily watch the first Sunday showing AND the same week repeat on Thursdays. Sky even had a "Simpsons week" once they'd actually just shown enough episodes to fill five days in a row. And we'd have been there watching them all again.
Its not even like season one is especially that good but telly we could all agree on wasn't always that common in our house. It was almost always tuned to something my Dad wanted to watch (hopefully monster trucks on Screensport) so finding something we all liked was a huge bonus. Indeed, I can recall quite a few huffs when I was denied my daily episode of "Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles" (CALL IT BY ITS NAME) even though, looking back, it really was a load of old shite.
I could still watch terrestrial episodes in my room of course but it was pretty sweet to watch ones your mates haven't. Not that I'd abandoned Children's BBC or ITV but it was nice to have a choice of programming back then, even if it was ratty copies of "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors" or "Beverly Hills Teens". By the time it had finished in 1995 "The DJ Kat Show" was from all reports (I'd long drifted away thanks to likes of The Big Breakfast, MTV and being asleep in a morning) quite a respectable beast having morphed from a simple puppet and presenter format to live games, sketches, multiple cast members and cartoons even from the same decade.
DJ Kat will never be as iconic or remembered in the same way Edd The Duck, Round The Bend or knowing the full words to Willy Fogg is to my generation but it holds extremely fond memories for me as a time when telly was still finding its feet and Sky TV was the punchline to every single Jasper Carrott routine. In the same mental basket as adverts for Mini Dickmann's, Army Of Lovers' not especially subtle "Crucified" video every fifteen minutes and Keith Chegwin presenting the godawful Sky Star Search, not to mention the lightest in Saturday night Bavarian pornographies.
Fun Factory was fucking shit though.