Kick Start (TV series)

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Kick Start
Developed by Nick Brittan
Presented by Dave Lee Travis
Peter Purves
John Lampkin (commentator)
Mick Andrews (commentator)
Jack Stites (commentator)
Theme music composer Renate Vaplus
Opening theme Be My Boogie Woogie Baby by Mr. Walkie-Talkie
Country of origin UK
No. of seasons 13
Executive producer(s) Derek Smith
Running time 25 min.
Production company(s) White Rabbit Productions
Original network BBC One
Original release 6 August 1979 – 1 June 1988
Junior Kick Start
Presented by Peter Purves
John Lampkin (commentator)
Country of origin UK
Original release 1980 – 17 August 1992

Kick Start was a popular series on BBC television inspired by motorcycle trials riding, a sport akin to horse show jumping, but on motorbikes. The programme was first aired in August 1979 and ran until 1988.

The programme was devised by Nick Brittan and produced by BBC Pebble Mill producer Derek Smith, who also created Top Gear.

The idea for Kick Start originated when the 1978 Lombard RAC Rally organiser, Nick Brittan, realised that top trials motorcyclists, competing over a hazardous track and obstacles, might make exciting television [1]

Run against the clock, the show illustrated some of the skills needed in normal trials riding. In the Kick Start format, the riders went over obstacles such as piles of logs, oil drums, rockeries, water troughs, up a wall, up steep banking or a cliff-face and over a car (VW Beetle). Penalties, in the form of time added to their round time, would be given 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 show aired originally during the summer, filling the slot vacated by Nationwide. It was hosted by Dave Lee Travis.[2] who deserted his own sport of drag racing to take part in the series.

The course for the three-part series was devised by trials rider Sammy Miller and constructed within the Donington Park Race Circuit. Later series filmed at Easton Neston near Towcester.

The knock-out competition had a modest first prize of £500.

For the following series, Travis was replaced by Peter Purves of Blue Peter fame. In later years, an offshoot programme, Junior Kick Start, was also screened. Of a similar theme, this programme was for younger contestants, notably Dougie Lampkin. Perhaps the best remembered incident from both versions of the programme was when a ten-year-old competitor in Junior Kick Start, Mark Scofield, fell from an obstacle into a ditch. Two volunteers from the St. John Ambulance attempted to help but themselves fell into the ditch in comical fashion; commentator Peter Purves had to apologise as he struggled to hold back laughing at the incident.[3]

The courses and obstacles were designed to be slightly easier for the younger contestants in Junior Kick Start.[4]

The other notable contestant to appear on the show is Jean-Pierre Goy, who later became a stunt motorcyclist, most notable for his stunt sequence for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.[5][6]

Other media[edit]

A video-game inspired by the series called Kikstart was released for the Commodore 64 in 1985 by Mastertronic.[7] 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."[8]


  1. ^ .
  2. ^ "Kick Start". UKGameshows. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  3. ^ Extract of 'St John's Ambulance' incident
  4. ^ Newsham, Gavin (7 November 2003). "The 10 funniest sports shows". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  5. ^ Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2007.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Jean-Pierre Goy". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  7. ^ "Kikstart - Commodore 64 Game / C64 Games, C64 reviews, downloads & SID tunes". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  8. ^ Archived from the original on 17 August 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]