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L!VE TV: Wikis


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Launched 15 August 1995 Original (1)
2003 relaunch (2)
Closed 31 October 1999 (1)
28 February 2006 (2)
Owned by MGN
Picture format 4:3, 576i (SDTV)
Replaced by Babeworld (2)

L!VE TV was a British television station that was operated by MGN on cable television from 15 August 1995 - 31 October 1999. It was later revived for Sky Digital from 2003. In 2006, the new L!VE TV's name was changed to Babeworld to reflect the channel's gradual change of focus towards "adult material".


First incarnation (1995-1999)

The channel was proposed by David Montgomery as MGN's foray into pay television. At its launch in 1995, the station was headed by Kelvin MacKenzie with Janet Street-Porter as managing director and a team of young "tellybrats". Street-Porter left after five months due to clashes with MacKenzie over content and was replaced with Mark Cullen. MacKenzie went on to create programmes that received much media coverage but low viewer figures.

Considered cheap and always accused of poor taste, the channel never captured more than 1% of the British television audience under MGN, and at its worst was losing around £7 million a year. It was often described as "tabloid television", in part due to its control by MGN and the fact that MacKenzie had been editor of The Sun.

Among its programmes were Topless Darts (with commentary by comedian Jimmy Frinton), the surreal talent show Spanish Archer, Talgarth Trousers (a comedy sketch show) and Canary Wharf, a soap opera, which used the station's offices in the Docklands as a set. Other features were the weather, read in Norwegian by a blonde model (Eva Bjertnes or Anne-Marie Foss) wearing a bikini, Britain's Bounciest Weather with Rusty Goffe (known, although uncredited, for his appearance as an Oompa Loompa in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory) who due to his small stature bounced on a trampoline while doing the forecast (bouncing higher the further north he was talking about), and the News Bunny, a person in a rabbit suit who stood behind a newsreader making gestures and expressions for each item.

A typical early show was a two-hour afternoon piece based on viewers' wedding videos. By the second week only one had been sent in, and on phoning the participants to have a live commentary, the presenters were informed that the couple were too busy shopping.

Shortly before its demise in 1999, it was said the channel would bid for rights to show the English Premiership, but given the size of the financial commitment required, it is likely that it was merely a publicity stunt. By this time, the channel had increasingly moved to showing soft porn.


L!ve tv was broadcasting live from the Canary Wharf Tower during its bombing by the IRA on 9 February 1996, and sent a live feed to CNN from a camera pointing out its offices, with a a running commentry from Rodhri Williams (now of UK`s Sky Sports News). Rodhri`s usual L!ve tv persona of banal naive low budget incompetance whilst dressed in green tights being very quickly replaced with the stern faced stocism of somebody possibly broadcasting to the world. Unforntunatly, Rodhri`s moment in the broadcasting sun was not not to last as the building was quickly completely evacuated leaving L!ves only camera on, but static, totally missing the biggest news story of the year.

The station's broadchast finished on 31 October 1999 at 6pm with a caption over a black and white still of the station's cast and crew in the studio:

"L!ve TV: 15 August 1995 - 31 October 1999"

Second incarnation (2003-2006)

In 2003, L!VE TV returned as a free channel on Sky Digital, first on EPG 274, then on 214. Its content was almost entirely archive from L!VE TV. Then in 2004, following competitor channels, its risqué archive late-night offerings were supplemented with banners advertising adult text messaging.

Towards the end of 2005, the evening and late night were turned over to promoting adult text and phone-in services, involving models stripping to entice viewers into phoning or texting the studio. This was under the pretence that the viewer would get to talk to a studio guest.

By February 2006, content had dwindled to little more than these shows and it was moved to the adult section of Sky's EPG on February 28, 2006. Two days later, the name changed to Babeworld, ending links to the MGN operation.

A fore-runner to L!VE TV was the cable and satellite channel Wire TV, a far cry from the wild programming to follow on L!VE TV. Regular presenters were Femi Oke, Mike Morris and Fenella George, backed by guest presenters including Chris Stacey, who hosted quiz show EastEnders v Corrie for L!VE TV shortly before its demise.


A number of archive programmes from L!VE TV, including The Why Files and Lie Detector were shown on My Channel, formerly known as Eat Cinema, on Sky channel 199.


See also

External links

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