Interviews Television

The Version Interview: Chris Evans on the return of TFI Friday.

tfi friday

There are music shows. There are chat shows. There are even all-round entertainment shows. And then there’s TFI Friday.

For four years between 1996 and 2000, this iconic institution kicked down the doors to the weekend. As its name implies, the show aired on Channel 4 at 6pm Fridays and rapidly became part of its fanatical and fiercely loyal fanbase’s week. The title stands for “Thank Four it’s Friday” – nothing rude, honest.

Now, the show is returning for a 90 minute special with its original presenter Chris Evans at the helm. Here, he tells us more…

What made you want to bring TFI back? Why is this the right time?

I never got to say goodbye to it as I left when there were still ten shows to go. Let’s call it closure. This just feels like the right time, many of us who were involved with “the scene” at that time are back doing what we love and people seem to like it.

TFI viewers had a very special relationship with the programme. What elements can they expect to see again?

Lots of the old favourites will be back – Freak or Unique, It’s Your Letters and Show Us Your Face Then – plus lots of new stuff that we already don’t have time for.

What will be different about the show?

Tune in and find out.

What can you say to younger viewers about what to expect from TFI?

Ask their parents, aunties and uncles, grandmas and granddads.

The show was always famous for attracting the biggest names in music. Any hints as to who we might see on this time around?

Definitely Blur, Blur and Blur. Oh, and have I mentioned Blur.

Who were the best guests you ever had on the show? And who were the most troublesome?

Best guests, Jarvis Cocker two days after he was arrested at The Brits for mooning Michael Jackson. Peter O’Toole – the coolest mad of all time, U2 Live In Dublin, Jenson Button the week before he drove in his first ever Formula 1 race. The cast of American Pie the week the movie opened in Great Britain – they had no idea how big it was going to be.

Courtney Cox was pretty high maintenance; she arrived with a hundred page contract for me to sign concerning what I could and couldn’t ask her during the interview. I told her people where to shove it. She came on anyway and couldn’t have been nicer. Showbusiness???

What was your favourite segment on TFI?

My favourite segment was The Naked Parade – pre varicose veins. Yes, we really were completely naked.

What was the best thing about being involved with TFI?

Being at the centre of music and movies in the nineties. Which were our sixties.

Do you think TV has become less anarchic since TFI?

Some TV is equally, if not more anarchic. We weren’t that outrageous, just original. The two are often confused.

Why is that?

Time is like a fun house hall of mirrors. Memories get bent and stretched out of shape so they fit how we’d like to think they were. Even if they weren’t.

TFI Friday returns to Channel 4 on Friday 12th June.

 

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