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Wednesday, 15 November 1995

Nickelodeon UK - Ooze News - November 1995

Ooze News - November 1995

Nick UK

Once upon a time, Nickelodeon just took over schools - now it's taking over the world.

Nickelodeon has been on the United Kingdom since 1993, where it's known as Nick UK. Although Nick UK is very similar to Nickelodeon in America, there are some differences. NICKELODEON MAGAZINE found out about them when we visited Nick UK in London, England.

The most unusual part of Nick UK is NickAlive. Between shows, hosts do live broadcasts from two studios. One studio is in a London shopping mall called the Trocadero. It has glass walls, so the crowds at the mall can walk by, look in, and even end up on TV. It's the kind of place where alnmost anything can happen.

The rest of the time, NickAlive works out of the UK's first-ever Virtual Studio. Computers and fancy camera work are used to create three-dimensional backgrounds, such as a Gak cave and kitchen. The hosts can interact with these backgrounds.

In both settings, NickAlive involves lots of kids. Every weekend (and each Wednesday during school vacations), kids vote by phone for their favorite show. The show that gets the most votes airs, usually within the house. For Coast to Coast, eight kids were chosen to travel across America, from New York to California, in a motor home. They were given camcorders to tape whatever they wanted during the month-long journey, which took place in August. Short segments of the trip will air this fall.

Kids also call and fax in jokes, pictures, and more. When we were there, one kid called up and played his trumpet over the phone. Another gargled the theme to The Flintstones.

All of this kookiness is led by seven human hosts and a orange fish called Bert.

"It's so spontaneous," says Yiolanda Ttokkallos, one of the hosts. "We can decide to do something and then do it - just like that!"

Nick UK isn't always live TV. It also airs show you can see in the U.S., like Clarissa Explains It All and Rugrats. But others are special to Nick UK. One is called School of the Week, where Nickelodeon visits a British school and wreaks havoc. Each week a different school is invaded. Teachers are forced to dress up in chicken suits, kids get to tell the truth about school lunches, and a student's romantic crush is exposed.

One of the most popular shows on Nick UK is Family Values, where a host travels across Britain and surprised families by dropping in on them at home. Then he gets them to reveal secrets about one another, like who has the messiest room in the house. So far, Family Values has not gotten in to see the Queen, but that doesn't mean they won't.

Bert the Fish

Perhaps the only fish on a call-in show, Bert the Fish hates everything. Especially kids. He thinks they smell like milk, and this bothers him. Other fish bother him, too. They always seem to open their mouths, yet they never say anything. This animated creation can be found complaining on NickAlive where he hosts with a human sidekick.

The Presenters

NICKELODEON MAGAZINE spoke with some of the presenters (as hosts are called in England) of NickAlive.

Nigel Mitchell

At 16, Nigel is the youngest of all the presenters.

NM: What is the worst thing about being on a live show?

Nigel: Things can go wrong. Once, I was left there looking like a complete lemon because I thought we weren't on the air anymore. I just sat there staring.

Lucy Alexander

Lucy trained as a dancer before becoming an actress.

NM: Have you ever gotten the hiccups while on the air?

Lucy: Yes, and once, I got a big hair in my eyeball - it felt like it was wrapped around it. I had to start the segment with my eye closed, tears streaming down my face.

James Gilbey

Before coming a presenter on NickAlive, James was a star on a British soap opera called EastEnders.

NM: What has been your most embarrassing moment on the show?

James: I do a part of the game show Family Values, where I talk to a parent and a viewer on the phone every morning for a whole week. We've done all sorts of research on the family, so I know all these silly secrets. I've got a reputation for being quite mischievous. Well, one family decided to get me back. I was talking on the phone with them when suddenly they hung up. I was baffled - I hadn't said anything rude to them. Suddenly, they burst through the studio door and covered me in custard pies. I thought I was talking to them at home, but they were in the back room of the studio the whole time. That was the moment I wish had never happened.

Yiolanda Ttokkallos and Mounya Khamlichi

Yiolanda and Mounya were sales assistants when they found out about an audition at Nickelodeon one Friday. They were on TV a week later.

NM: What's one of your favorite things you get to do on the air?

Mounya: We do a segment called "The Love Doctor." Kids phone in with their love problems, and we offer big sister advice. The funniest question we ever got was from a guy who was dating a set of twins, and didn't know which one to go out with.

Rick Adams

Rick was so nervous before his first time on live TV that he threw up.

NM: Do you ever wish you weren't doing a live TV show?

Rick: Sometimes. Yesterday, kids were voting by phone for which show they'd like to watch. Lucy (my co-host) and I always bet on which show is going to be chosen, and the winner gets to do something to the loser. I lost, and Lucy dropped two glasses of ice down my trousers. I sang soprano all afternoon.

Sarah Cawood

NickAlive is Sarah's first-ever TV job.

NM: Describe your first moment on live TV.

Sarah: It wasn't too bad because I'm a dancer and I'm used to seeing 3,000 people in front of me. When you've only got a camera, you're not actually aware that there are people watching you, unless you stop and think about it.

You Speak English?

You may think Brits and Americans speak the same language, but can you understand the following sentence?

Hey, mate, I hope those crisps choccy biccies, and ice lollies I ate while watching telly don't make me guff. Otherwise, I'll have to put on trainers and run to the loo.

Here's a little glossary to help you understand the sentence and make up sentences of your own.

British English - American English

telly - TV
loo - bathroom
ice lollie - popsicle
guff - pass gass
rubber - eraser
crisps - potato chips
chips - French fries
trainers - sneakers
choccy biccies - chocolate cookies