It's alive, it's alive!

Live TV is 24 hours old today. Janet Street Porter played midwife, Jim White witnessed the birth

Seven minutes to go before Live TV, the national cable television station, goes on air for the first time and they've lost one of the presenters. "Where's Rod?" yells a man with a beard desperately scanning a dozen television monitors in the company's state-of-the-art television gallery in Canary Wharf, east London. "Rod, Rod you twerp, where are you?"

It was surprising anyone could have lost Rod. He was wearing a distinctive pair of trousers with a yellow, mauve and orange check. And indeed, five seconds after the panic, Rod comes into view on one of the monitors walking rapidly round Live's brightly decorated offices rehearsing his opening lines. These were about how this was to be a station without boring sofa chat; about how it was to be lively and live and alive and living. In short: Live TV.

"Sorry loves," says the man in the beard. "Rod's on camera three. Less than a minute to go. Remember everybody, lots of life, let's be lively, let's enjoy it."

Rod's trousers are a useful metaphor for Live TV (or, to give it its full title, l!vetv). According to Janet Street-Porter, managing director of the station and herself kitted out in a cheery scarlet suit for the morning of the launch, colour is what Live TV is all about. "I know it sounds corny," she says. "But the look is kind of modern. You know, kind of bright, fresh, youthful? And friendly, yeah, not sneery."

Colour and speed. The five seconds when Rod fell into a between-shot Bermuda Triangle would be like five minutes for any other channel: time to squeeze in at least two items. When LiveTV sprang, like an excited labrador puppy, into action yesterday at 9am precisely, the pace was exhausting. And that was just for the viewer. "Cue Rod and cue Donna and cue Rod and cue Donna," the man with the beard was yelling, rapidly organising cuts of shot between the two presenters like he was directing an outside broadcast at Wimbledon. In less than 10 minutes we were served up a news bulletin (headline: a survey reveals Britain's younger women are not getting enough sex, "bad luck girls"), a nappy-changing competition judged by Richard E Grant, the promise of a report from Imran Khan's speech to the Oxford Union plus a report about the shopping opportunities his new wife will be able to look forward to in Islamabad. This plus gossip, dozens of snapshots of celebrities caught outside film premieres telling us we must watch Live, and a constant reminder of what will be coming up next. Like an 0898 sex line, Live devotes more time preparing viewers for the arrival of an item than it does on the item itself: "We'll be" is its verbal principal verbal tick.

"We'll be out and about in London catching a celebrity off their guard," yells Rod, into camera three. "Like this."At which the screen was filled by a reporter galloping down a London street behind an un-cooperative Paula Yates. "Where you off to, Paula?"

"The office."

"What's in your bag, Paula?"

"Not telling you." Kelvin McKenzie, managing director of Mirror TV, Live's parent, offered up a pithy description of Live: "Bosnia it ain't." A risky comparison since, on a budget of pounds 2,000 an hour (enough to keep a BBC costume drama in bacon sandwiches), precedent would suggest the station has about as much chance of working as a Lord Owen peace initiative. In fact the speed, the colour, the flash, the panache - all characteristic of Street Porter's output since the birth of yoof telly - are a cunning disguise. Live TV might look many things, but cheap and nasty are not two of them.

"The ethos will be witty, stylish, lots of fun," says Street-Porter. "Tune into Live and you'll never quite know what to expect." And, of course, it will be live. "We've got three outside broadcast trucks and we'll go everywhere. If it's live and it's working, we'll stick with it and we'll ditch the studio stuff. We'll be, like, taking people to all the parties they're not invited to. Starting tonight, with our own launch party. Tune in and see the staff get wasted, har har har."

L!vetv is available on most cable packages. Check with your local dealer.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week