Saturday Live (British TV programme)

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Saturday Live
GenreVariety, Stand-up comedy, Music
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Production companyLWT
Original networkChannel 4 (1985-8)
ITV (1986, 96, 2007)
BBC1 (1993)
Picture format4:3
Original release12 January 1985 (1985-01-12) –
1 December 2007 (2007-12-01)
Related showsSaturday Night Live[1]

Saturday Live (Friday Night Live in 1988) is a British television comedy and music show, made by LWT[2] and initially broadcast on Channel 4 from 1985 to 1988, with a brief revival on ITV in 1996.[3] A few one-off editions have also been screened, including a contribution to the BBC's 1993 Comic Relief telethon.

The series made stars of Ben Elton, Harry Enfield, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, and featured appearances (in some cases first television appearances) by Patrick Marber, Morwenna Banks, Chris Barrie, Julian Clary, Emo Philips, Tracey Ullman, Craig Ferguson, Craig Charles and many others.[4] The show featured comic duo Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall in their act The Dangerous Brothers. The introductory theme was an original composition by Paul Hardcastle.

All episodes were transmitted live, but contained a small proportion of material recorded beforehand. Recordings of shows were edited into compilation repeats, retitled Saturday Almost Live.

The third series, Friday Night Live, renamed to reflect its scheduling move to the titular day, is the last of the programme's original iteration. Shorter and slightly more tightly formatted show, it retained Elton as permanent host. The show's titles consisted of re-forming clay animations, highly comparable to early MTV idents.

The show was resurrected as a segment for 1993's Red Nose Day BBC telethon, hosted by Ben Elton, with appearances by Reeves and Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, Hugh Laurie, and David Baddiel and Rob Newman.

The show made a return in 1996 on ITV, regaining a Saturday slot and retitled accordingly. Hosted by Lee Hurst, it featured comedians including Harry Hill and Simon Munnery. The series lasted eight episodes before being axed.

On 1 December 2007, the programme was revived by ITV for a one-off titled Saturday Live Again, presented by Marcus Brigstocke.[5] Comedians included Jimmy Carr, Lee Mack, Mitchell and Webb, and Jocelyn Jee Esien. The original show's regular host Ben Elton also performed. There were musical performances by Bon Jovi and Hard-Fi.

Home releases[edit]

A compilation double DVD set, Saturday Live: The Best of Series One, was released in June 2007, containing almost two-and-a-half hours of material. This consisted of the Saturday Almost Live compilations with the music performances removed. Saturday Live: The Best of Series 2 was released on 4 February 2008 and followed the same pattern, as did the Friday Night Live release. In 2009, a fourth release, a 3-disc set collecting all the show's Fry & Laurie and Harry Enfield sketches and the best Ben Elton monologues, was released.

DVD Title Discs Year Release date
Saturday Live: The Best of Series 1 2 1985-1986 16 April 2007
Saturday Live: The Best of Series 2 2 1987 4 February 2008
The Very Best of Friday Night Live 2 1988 2 June 2008
Saturday Live: Fry and Laurie, Harry Enfield and Ben Elton 3 1985-1988 5 October 2009



Series Start date End date Episodes
Pilot 12 January 1985 1
1 25 January 1986 29 March 1986 10
2 7 February 1987 11 April 1987 10
3 19 February 1988 29 April 1988 10
4 1 June 1996 20 July 1996 8

Almost Live[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 13 September 1986 18 October 1986 6
2 3 October 1987 21 November 1987 8
3 12 October 1988 30 November 1988 8


Date Entitle
4 January 1986 The Best of Saturday Live
12 March 1993 Comic Relief Special (Friday Night Live - Lives Again!)
1 December 2007 Saturday Live Again

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC - Comedy Guide - Saturday Night Live". 6 April 2005. Archived from the original on 6 April 2005.
  2. ^ "Saturday Live/Friday Night Live – Nostalgia Central". 27 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 February 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "ITV reveals its new Saturday Live : News 2007 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide".

External links[edit]