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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 10:49 GMT
The rise and fall of TFI
Chris Evans
Chris Evans stepped down as the presenter of TFI Friday
When TFI Friday burst onto Channel 4's schedules in 1996 presenter and producer Chris Evans was hailed as an original and innovative broadcaster.

The mix of celebrity chat, music and quirky competitions and features drew millions of viewers on a Friday evening.

The programme, with its pub banter and crude asides, was broadcast live from the Riverside Studios, west London, adding to the spontaneous feel of the show.

But when former Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder swore 13 times on the programme it was banned from going out live.

The Independent Television Commission described it as a "serious breach" of the programme code.

'Emotional abuse'

The programme also ran into trouble for an interview between Chris Evans and American DJ Howard Stern, which contained "crude remarks and sexual innuendo".

And when a seven-year-old girl was was left distraught after failing to win a 15,000 speedboat for her family the show was accused of "emotional abuse" by the ITC.

The programme also has the distinction of being the first TV programme to hand over 1m as a competition prize.

Other regular features on the programme included Ugly Blokes, Pub Genius, Celebrity Zoo Fat Look-a-Likes and Freak or Unique.

But the programme will be best remembered for its celebrity guests and live performances from some of the world's biggest bands.

Guests have included Friends actress Courtney Cox, David Bowie, James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, Sting and Tom Jones.

But viewing figures for the programme have dropped from 2.2 million to 1.2 million during its most recent run.

Earlier this year the programme was branded "naff TV" by researchers for Universal McCann, a media buying company.

It was compared with the BBC's Noel's House Party, which has also been axed, as "get your ironing done" viewing.

Just weeks before the final series of TFI was to be aired Chris Evans stepped down as presenter, seemingly disassociating himself from the programme.

The use of celebrity presenters was designed to give the show a final boost before its demise but with figures stalled around the one million mark the gamble seems not to have paid off.

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See also:

22 Dec 00 | Entertainment
The reign of the Ginger prince
22 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton leads TFI finale
15 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton duets with a Partridge
20 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Evans makes Comic donation
11 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Evans quits doomed TFI
18 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Evans tops UK showbiz earners
03 Nov 00 | Wembley
Sir Elton hosts Wembley finale
19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Spice Girls to present TFI Friday
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