It was unmissable TV, at a time when TV was still unmissable – children there were only FOUR channels back then.
1990. Friday nights. 11pm.
You’d pile back from the pub to be disgusted, enthralled and entertained in equal measure by The Word on Channel Four.
There were musical firsts – Nirvana’s international TV debut with Smells Like Teen Spirit, Oasis playing Supersonic live, and a knickerless Donita Sparks of L7.
The Hopefuls slot preempted modern TV’s gushing sewer of reality wannabes with people queuing up to do vile things just to get on the box. Eating worms and snogging a granny were just two that come to mind.
It made a star of Mancunian motormouth Terry Christian, but also heralded the UK TV debut of a former dancer with The Pet Shop Boys from the US, who in her own words, managed to turn talent and “dumb luck” into a fascinating and varied career.
Katie Puckrik still broadcasts on BBC Radio 6 Music, has her own fragrance blog and YouTube channel – and she coined a phrase that’s etched into the lexicon of the nineties.
When we chatted recently in London she told me how it all came about, and how giving girls a chance to be as loud and lairy as blokes had always been, was the major motivation behind The Pyjama Party, the show she presented after The Word.
“Laddism has been around since the beginning of time. What about ladettes? What about an opportunity for women no matter how stupid or smart to kind of have permission to be lairy, over the top and unrepentently obnoxious but funny?”
We also chatted about how the digital revolution has enabled a whole new generation to ‘get rid of the gatekeeper” and put themselves and their work directly in front of a potentially huge audience.
A broadcasting original, and someone, who by treading her own path, has perhaps unwittingly created real openings for today’s creative female talent.
You can watch the full interview here.