You Saw Them Here First is the show that breaks into the archives to reveal the television debuts of some of Britain’s best-loved actors and actresses, presenters and pop stars.
There are baby-faces, mullets, dodgy fashions, fresh-faced actors and longhaired chefs, all serving up their television debuts. Plus, some lucky stars visit the video vault to come face to face with their past as they’re presented with long-forgotten footage from yester-year.
Narrated by Robert Webb, You Saw Them Here First features television debuts from acting royalty like Dame Judi Dench, Sir Sean Connery and Dame Maggie Smith, top TV talent such as Chris Tarrant, Eamonn Holmes and Declan Donnelly, and pop stars including Ed Sheeran, Charlotte Church and Jessie J.
The programme features Cheryl Cole dancing in a bright yellow leotard for a children’s TV show and a cross dressing Jude Law being caught by Sherlock Holmes.
Kicking off the first episode is a look back at hit daytime show This Morning, which has proved to be a hot spot for fresh new talent since it hit screens in 1988.
Long before her role on Coronation Street, a fifteen-year-old Kimberley Marsh is seen auditioning in a This Morning singing competition back in 1990 and, before she sang for Popes and Presidents, Charlotte Church is seen singing for then presenters Richard and Judy.
This Morning’s search for a new boy band generated queues of young men eager to impress the judges, which included Kate Thornton and Simon Cowell. One keen young singer performing on the show was Will Young, who went on to win a place in the boy band alongside a 16-year-old pre-Blue Lee Ryan.
You Saw Them Here First has delved into the archives to unearth various Hollywood greats who started out on the small screen. This fascinating footage reveals some facts you may not have known about these A-list stars, including: Daniel Craig is in just his underwear in footage from an early nineties episode of Boon; Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville played a drug addled aristocrat who dramatically dies skidding on his knees; Judi Dench went all Italian whilst playing a barmaid; and Halle Berry’s skimpy blue swimsuit impressed the judges of Miss USA 1986.
First to enter the programme’s ‘video booth’ is Coronation Street’s Michelle Collins, who comes face to face with clips from her past both as an actress and a backing singer. Michelle’s musical onscreen debut was in the 1982 David Essex Showcase. As she watches her twenty-year-old-self performing onscreen, Michelle sings along in the booth to ‘Just What I Always Wanted’.
What Michelle always wanted though, was to act, and she got her acting debut in Morgan’s Boy in 1984. Michelle reminisces: “I did play a lot of sort of bad girls, tearaways. I had such a fat little face! I must have got Eastenders not long after this.“
Other well-known performers who have had youthful forays into acting include Denise Van Outen who appeared in the Hale & Pace Comedy Sketch Show, The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran with his twin brother in 2008’s Rock Rivals, and Girl’s Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh at the age of just five in ITV's The Booktower.
Plus, there are youthful singing performances including: The Saturdays’ Molly on The X Factor; Frankie Sandford and Rochelle Humes in S Club Juniors; The Wanted’s Max George on The X Factor and Nathan Sykes at the tender age of nine in Junior Eurovision.
Stephen Mulhern enters the video booth to look back at his time working as a Redcoat at Butlin’s, where he wowed his audiences with his tricks as a magician, becoming the youngest member of the Magic Circle at just 18 years old. Also in the booth, Pauline Quirke’s past comes flooding back to her as she watches herself aged 10 in a movie alongside life-long friend and co-star Linda Robson. There’s footage of Pauline sporting an eye-catching tutu, as well as a look back at her own show, Pauline’s Quirkes. The journey back in time proves both an emotional and surprising one for Pauline, as the show uncovers forgotten memories of happy times.
Last in the video booth is Eamonn Holmes who relives his time on Farming Ulster where he was the ‘go-to’ guy for all things agricultural, Ulster TV News 1984 where he interviewed Roland Rat, and as the host of Miss Northern Ireland 1985.
Still reeling from his experience in the video booth, Eamonn Holmes is keen to see that his wife, who has been in the business as long as he has, does not get away scot-free. So he surprises Ruth Langsford whilst filming This Morning with footage of her sporting an outfit that Eamonn likens to a pair of granny’s curtains, and a horse-riding experience where a nervous Ruth threw herself from an out of control horse. Ultimately, Ruth is less annoyed with Eamonn springing the surprise on her, and more upset by his unkind words about her clothes.
Other stars highlighted in this episode of screen debuts include: Naomi Campbell, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale, Sean Connery, Suranne Jones, Penelope Wilton, Jenny McAlpine and Gordon Ramsay.