Fully Booked

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Fully Booked/FBi
Presented by Zoë Ball (Series 1)
Grant Stott (Series 1-3)
Sarah Vandenbergh (Series 2-3)
Paul Brophy (Series 1-3)
Gail Porter (Series 4)
Chris Jarvis (Series 4-5)
Tim Vincent (Series 4-5)
Kate Heavenor (Series 5-6)
Keith Duffy (FBi- Series 6)
Vernon Kay (FBi- Series 6)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
Production
Location(s) BBC Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, Scotland
Running time 120 mins (Series 1-2), 150 mins (Series 3-4), 180 mins (Series 5-6)
Production company(s) BBC Scotland
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Picture format 4:3
Original run 22 April 1995 (1995-04-22) – 23 September 2000 (2000-09-23)
Chronology
Preceded by Parallel 9
Followed by Live & Kicking

Fully Booked/FBi was a magazine show for children produced by BBC Scotland and broadcast from 22 April 1995 to 19 September 1999, and in revised form as FBi between 22 April 2000 and 23 September 2000. The show was a summer-time replacement for Live & Kicking, which would normally not broadcast over the summer months. However, only the first series of Fully Booked and FBi actually went out on Saturdays, with all other series broadcast on Sundays.

Original format, 1995-97[edit]

The show launched in spring 1995 as a replacement for Parallel 9. The show was presented by Zoë Ball and Grant Stott, and was set in a fictional hotel. The presenters were joined by actor Paul Brophy, who appeared as a series of comic characters (such as 'Jan Van der Vall', 'Les Vegas' and 'Wee Alistair McAlistair'), and by a large puppet, a talking Highland cow named Morag who was the hotel's receptionist.[1]

In 1996, the show returned in its new Sunday morning slot, with Zoë Ball having been replaced by ex-Neighbours star Sarah Vandenbergh, with Stott, Brophy's characters and Morag all returning. This series was not broadcast live but was 'recorded as-live', meaning that it was recorded in one session and broadcast as if it were a continuous live show (though without any live interactivity). This format was also used for the show's third series in 1997.

Revised format, 1998-99[edit]

Fully Booked was revamped for its 1998 series. A new logo, title sequence and set were introduced, along with a remix of the theme music. The presenters and characters of the show's previous incarnation were all removed, with a new presentation team consisting of Chris Jarvis, Gail Porter and Tim Vincent. The show continued to use the magazine format, with guests, games, features, inserts and music; however, the 'hotel' gimmick was largely dropped in favour of relatively straightforward magazine presentation.

The 1999 series - the last under the Fully Booked name - continued in this new format, but with Gail Porter having decided to quit kids' TV, Kate Heavenor was brought in to replace her. Heavenor had previously been presenting programmes for BBC Choice, and was one of the first presenters to graduate from a digital BBC channel to a show on one of the mainstream terrestrial channels.

The show gained a reputation for allowing alternative bands to perform alongside the mainstream pop acts, and booked groups including Electrasy, Shed Seven, Catatonia and St. Etienne to appear during this era.

FBi, 2000[edit]

In 2000, Fully Booked was replaced by a new live series, which returned to the Saturday morning BBC One slot. The show was revamped again, with a new name: FBi (Fully Booked Interactive). A new studio set, title music and graphics were introduced to tie in with the new title.

The show was still hosted by Kate Heavenor, but Chris Jarvis and Tim Vincent were not involved, and were replaced by Vernon Kay (previously a presenter on digital channel UK Play) and former Boyzone member Keith Duffy.

The show had a similar mixed-magazine format to its predecessors, but aimed to increase the level of live interactivity by encouraging viewers to take part in the show via the internet, email, text messaging and telephony. Viewers were given the opportunity to take part in games and features and submit questions for studio guests.

Saturday Aardvark[edit]

Due to Fully Booked moving to Sundays, displacing BBC Two's Sunday morning sequence of CBBC links, the Saturday morning slot on BBC One was available, but the BBC would not commission another longform programme. Instead, the CBBC links displaced from Sunday were transported across to the Saturday slot, often airing under the title Saturday Aardvark (in reference to the character Otis the Aardvark, who would present the slot, usually with Kirsten O'Brien). During summer 1999, the strand was renamed "Planet Saturday".

Children in Need[edit]

BBC Scotland each year produces content for the annual BBC Children in Need telethon, much of which is screened to viewers in Scotland and elements of which are screened as part of the networked show. Noticeably, for several years in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the Scottish CiN would come from the Glasgow studios and use a re-dressed version of the Fully Booked/FBi set; this was also the case in 2001, when the set used for the Glasgow-produced summer run of Live & Kicking was used in a similar manner.[2]

After FBi[edit]

FBi was the final BBC summer Saturday replacement for several years. In 2001, Live & Kicking ran across the summer, broadcasting from the Glasgow studios that had previously been home to Fully Booked/FBi. The autumn of 2001 saw the introduction of The Saturday Show, which in its first two years was a year-round series, and then in 2004 and 2005 was itself the summer replacement for Dick and Dom in da Bungalow. The BBC's next proper summer Saturday series was Mighty Truck of Stuff in 2006, by which time all Saturday morning children's programmes had been moved to BBC Two.

From 2000, Sunday mornings on BBC Two reverted to a sequence of CBBC links, until September 2002, when Smile moved across from the CBBC Channel, and this show ran in the Sunday morning BBC Two slot near-continuously until August 2007, since when the CBBC sequence has usually been broadcast, albeit in truncated form to allow space for Something for the Weekend to broadcast in the mid-morning slot.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saturday
  2. ^ Saturday Mornings - reuse of Glasgow L&K set for Children in Need 2001

External links[edit]