This is possibly our first controversial choice, but don’t forget we’re covering the whole of the Cream Era here, and during the early 90s CHRIS EVANS was undoubtedly the most inventive, most likeable and most popular person on the box. Besides, in 1993 every kid in Britain was nuts about him.
The Evans career path is well-known: born in Warrington, no qualifications, tarzan-o-grams, then the sack from Piccadilly Radio. It all came good at GLR at the turn of the 1990s, where he presented a fabulously exciting radio show crammed with humour, best illustrated by his feature Billy where he got people to ring in on their car phones (it was London, people had them there) and simply shout “Billy!” at passers-by, just to confuse them.
Presented in front of a studio audience, Evans’ show became cult listening in the capital and helped get him some telly work, including a daily show on BSB’s Power Station and a contract with TV-am, only for him to get immediately dropped by the latter when the company lost its franchise (though Evans still got paid for 35 unmade programmes).
His big break, though, came on 28 September 1992 when he presented the first episode of The Big Breakfast. Rarely had their been such an excellent combination of host and programme, as his quick wit and likeable personality made him the perfect host for two hours of utterly shambolic but captivating television.
It was Evans who brought with him the idea of getting the crew on camera, which was then ripped off by every other show on TV, while his encounters with Zig and Zag made it the first breakfast telly you’d ever actually set the video for.
Evans seemed able to cope no matter what went wrong, and he quickly established himself as one of the TV stars of the decade, appealing to adults and kids alike with his charm and cheek.
Next came Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, another hugely influential show that made him millions and was packed with brilliant moments, whether it was Evans giving away his own car, getting an entire street to flash their lights on and off, or taking the entire audience off on holiday.
Ripped off by ever light entertainment show since, it’s amazing to think it lasted barely 12 months before Evans decided to end it as he was out of ideas.
Then there was the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, which was required listening for the first year, and even the first few months of TFI Friday were properly exciting.
Of course, it all went wrong later in the decade with a load of self-indulgent unpleasant rubbish, but for a few short years Chris Evans was the best person on television. And he’s OK now, isn’t he? [Speak for yourself - Ed.]
THE DEFINING ROLE: Whether it was helming Invention Corner, running The Birthday Dip or messing around with Zig and Zag, The Big Breakfast was Evans’ finest hour.Read More