Kick Start (TV series)

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Kick Start
Developed byNick Brittan
Presented byDave Lee Travis
Peter Purves
John Lampkin (commentator)
Mick Andrews (commentator)
Jack Stites (commentator)
Theme music composerRenate Vaplus
Opening themeBe My Boogie Woogie Baby by Mr. Walkie-Talkie
Country of originUK
No. of seasons13
Executive producer(s)Derek Smith
Running time25 min.
Production company(s)White Rabbit Productions
Original networkBBC One
Original release6 August 1979 –
1 June 1988
Junior Kick Start
Presented byPeter Purves
John Lampkin (commentator)
Country of originUK
Original release1980 –
17 August 1992

Kick Start was a motorcycle trials series on BBC television that aired between 1979 and 1988. The idea originated from Nick Brittan, the organiser of the 1978 Lombard RAC Rally, who thought top trials motorcyclists, competing over a hazardous track and obstacles, would make exciting television. It was produced by BBC Pebble Mill producer Derek Smith, who also created Top Gear.


The first series, which was hosted by Dave Lee Travis,[1] aired in August 1979 filling the slot vacated by Nationwide. The course for these three shows was devised by trials rider Sammy Miller and constructed within the Donington Park Race Circuit. For the following series, which were filmed at Easton Neston near Towcester, Travis was replaced by Peter Purves from Blue Peter.

An offshoot programme, Junior Kick Start, was also made for younger contestants, notably appearances include Dougie Lampkin. Another notable contestant to appear on the show is Jean-Pierre Goy, who later became a stunt motorcyclist. He performed a stunt bike sequence in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.[2][3] An often-repeated incident from the programme was when a ten-year-old competitor fell from an obstacle into a ditch. As volunteers from the St. John Ambulance attempted to help, they fell into the ditch too. Commentator Peter Purves had to apologise as he struggled to stop laughing at the scene.[4]


Trials were run against the clock. Riders were required to run over obstacles such as logs, oil drums, rockeries, water troughs, walls, steep banking, cliff-faces and often a VW Beetle. Time penalties were incurred for putting a foot on the ground while tackling an obstacle or touching or knocking over specified parts of an obstacle (such as the "bunny hop"). The competition had a first prize of £500.

The courses and obstacles designed for Junior Kick Start were modified to be slightly easier for the younger contestants.[5]

Other media[edit]

A video-game inspired by the series called Kikstart was released for the Commodore 64 in 1985 by Mastertronic.[6] It was also released for the ZX Spectrum and Atari 8-bit computers. According to the game's programmer, Shaun Southern, "The C64 version's name at least, was a shameless rip-off of the TV series."[7]


  1. ^ "Kick Start". UKGameshows. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Junior Kick Start Xmas 1986". Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  3. ^ "Jean-Pierre Goy". Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  4. ^ Junior Kick Start funny moment on YouTube
  5. ^ Newsham, Gavin (7 November 2003). "The 10 funniest sports shows". London: Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Kikstart - Commodore 64 Game / C64 Games, C64 reviews, downloads & SID tunes". Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Kikstart". Archived from the original on 17 August 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2010.

External links[edit]