Oh it so did.
The 90's was the decade of growth, renewal, opportunity and individualism. Thanks Margaret. Bitch!. Soviet Russia was no more and 'Freedom' was the word all over Europe. With the 80's behind us things started to make more sense. There was purpose now and that purpose for a lot of people was money. Thatcherism made society take stock of themselves, to produce and consume more. Free market capitalism changed a lot in the 90's and television was no exception. Better equipped gaming consoles were being fired into every child's home from America and Japan through the power of 'want'. Kids wanted. And the free market was only too obliged to give it to them. The decade of square eyed obnoxious children had begun. TV was our drug and we wanted more, more, more.
In 1993 Carlton Television takes over the ITV London Weekday franchise, replacing Thames Television after 24 years. Additionally, Meridian Broadcasting takes over the South of England franchise from TVS, Westcountry Television takes over the South West England franchise from TSW, and GMTV takes over the breakfast television franchise from TV-am. Big things were happening in television.
As children across the West woke up bright and early on Saturday mornings, the weekly TV ratings war began. The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all had their own unique Saturday morning shows. Goin Live! was in full flow with Philip Schofield and Sarah Greene presenting as millions of eyes tuned in to watch the Rugrats and the ever cute goings-on of Gordon the Gopher, only to be replaced by Live and Kicking! Channel 4 also had T4 and The Big Breakfast with the amazing team of Johnny Vaughn and the faptastic Denise Van Outen. ITV had it's show CITV.
But Britain in 90's was still a bit too proper and out-of-touch with the up-and-coming generation. Britain had the right format, but not the right shows. Although very quickly it was realised TV execs weren't so out-of-touch with the new generation that they didn't know where to turn to for fine wholesome kick ass TV. America! And America had no shortage of awesome TV.
Our little heads were dazzled by cutting edge fast-paced animation, bright colours and adamantium claws ripping the fuck out of some 50 foot tall metal guy's face. Cartoons were the word on the playground and kids fought over who was going to be Gambit. The Real Ghostbusters was a huge hit and not just for television. Everything got eaten up by it. Every other kid had the air powered Ghostbusters gun which fired yellow sponges. I'm convinced that gun inspired the first useage of the word 'WIN'. And who could forget the awseome Ghostbusters lunch box. The list was endless when it came to cartoons. Thundercats, He-Man and the Master of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I had the blimp), Bucky O'Hare, Hey Arnold, Sharky and George, Biker Mice From Mars, Street Sharks, X-Men, The Raccoons and Rocko's Modern Life to name but a few. Of course you can't forget the great British childrens shows of Raggy Dolls, Superted, Banana Man, and Jimbo and the jet Set.
But cartoons weren't the only visually splendid thing to get pasted onto our stupid boxes. The 90's were the decade of 'cool' and the 'teen shows' were being produced at an enormous rate. Across the pond we were being sent shows like Saved by the Bell, Moesha, Kenan and Kel, Sister Sister, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Eerie Indiana. Cool was in and we wanted quiffs like Zack Morris and orange soda all day. Hells even Australia got in on the action with the brillaint 'Round the Twist'.
Now if there were a couple of things the British contributed to TV in the 90's it was the 'game shows' and 'comedy sketch shows'. On Friday evening after a hard weeks work and school the whole family would sit down to watch Mr Blobby creampie Noel Edmonds face in 'Noel's house Party'. Also on the weekend billing was the fantastic 'Fast Show', a show that every week I was in tears of laughter at. "Ain't Television Brilliant". Paul Whitehouse for the mother fucking win.
Gladiators- You just know every kids dad only watched it to get a glimpse of that hottie Jet doing the splits. Infact when I remember back I think that was the first time I started to get strange feelings in my pants. crystal Maze- Every kid wanted a crystal maze ball and the chance to slap Richard O'Briens' baldy bap. Games Master- with Sir Patrick Moore, the all-knowing omnipresent Godhead of games and cheats. Shooting Stars- Ulrika-ka-ka-ka-ka. Harry Enfield and Chums- "so unfair!" Challenge Anneka- I think the whole of Britain cried that night when she was over in eastern Europe helping orphaned kids. Strange but True?- Michael Aspel used to send me to bed shit fucking scared every Friday night. Funhouse- Not even Pat Sharps' stupid looking mullet that he didn't cut in ten years could deter a kid from wanting to get on that show and ride those fucking go-karts.
Ah dear! I'm a sucker for nostalgia. But can you blame me when you compare the 90's with the last ten years. As Kevin once said in Home Alone "I don't think so". I leave you with a video montage of Rocko's Modern Life with the music "Happy Happy Joy Joy Song" from The Ren & Stimpy Show.