London Live launch review: A-listers, sharp chat, great food – and that’s just the first course

Ellen E Jones gives her verdict on the launch of Britain’s newest TV channel

It’s been a whole year in the making and, at 6.30pm on Monday, launch night finally arrived for London Live on Freeview 8, Sky 117 and Virgin 159. Londoners now have a TV channel to call their own and non-Londoners can feel the buzz too – without the extortionate rents – via londonlive.co.uk.

The very first face we saw belonged to Maleena Pone, one of the roving presenters on daily entertainment-news show London Go and a sunny enough presence to shine through this overcast evening on the Southbank.

It wouldn’t be live TV if there wasn’t one unplanned interruption, but it’s an auspicious start that this one was in keeping with the housing theme – two Russell Brand-a-likes shouting “It’s better to squat than let homes rot!” in the middle of one of Pone’s interviews.

A slightly panicked cut took us to Leicester Square where Pone’s colleague Gavin Ramjaun was interviewing an uncharacteristically friendly Russell Crowe at the Noah premiere and actress Emma Watson looked stunning in a white gown (a nod to the new England kit, perhaps?).

This player is used within article copy as first element. Default size is 630w but FC code uses it for 460w article layout.

Hackney-born Ray Winstone also gave London Live a propah cockney seal of approval. Yep, he’d heard of the channel, that is owned by Evgeny Lebedev, publisher of The Independent, and he’ll be watching .

This player is used within article copy as first element. Default size is 630w but FC code uses it for 460w article layout.

 

This player is used within article copy as first element. Default size is 630w but FC code uses it for 460w article layout.

At 7pm, it was time to retire inside the cosy loft-style apartment of Not The One Show presenter Louise Scodie for an hour of off-the-cuff chat on the day’s big news stories. Okay, the studio in West London isn’t really anyone’s residence, but the relaxed, irreverent style of Scodie and her lively, funny guests made us feel instantly at home. This was most definitely not The One Show – and all the better for it.

Emma Watson and Russell Crowe at the premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square Emma Watson and Russell Crowe at the premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square (Rex)

London Go and NTOS make up 90 minutes of the channel’s five-and-a-half hours a day for news and current affairs programming, but London Live also has a roster of carefully chosen entertainment acquisitions to showcase, including old favourites Peep Show, Spaced, and Twenty Twelve. At 10pm, there was a chance to watch much-missed sci-fi comedy drama Misfits right from episode one, preceded by a triple-bill of original commissions. Innovative new football stunt show F2 Kicks Off kicked off at 8.30pm and at 9pm we were introduced to new young comic talent in Alex Zane: Funny Rotten Scoundrels.

This player is used within article copy as first element. Default size is 630w but FC code uses it for 460w article layout.
Read more: London Live could change the face of broadcasting in this country

The stand-out, however, was Food Junkies (8pm), a mouth-watering show about street food which made an instant star of black cab driver Joey ‘I’ll eat anything, me’ Bone. Bone drove around the city sampling pie and mash shops, while adding his own inimitable cabbie commentary: “Being a Chelsea fan, I’ll struggle to get it down me,” he winced while ordering at Arsenal specialists, Piebury Corner. Another stop in the borough of Waltham Forest was a trek too far in Bone’s book.

“Should’ve brought my passport,” he grumbled “It’s bandit country!” For all the polish of the presenting talent, it was local characters like these who really made this launch special.

Londoners often wistfully observe that even with so much culture on the doorstep, they never seem to find time to be a part of it. Well now, with London Live delivering all the good stuff direct to your living rooms, there really is no excuse. And yes, Joey Bone, that does include going south of the river. Even at this time of night.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing