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Essex FM TV show returns

Ten years after the TV docu-soap Lakesiders, the BBC has reunited Essex FM breakfast show DJ Martin Day with his old boss Paul Chantler, RadioToday.co.uk can reveal. Martin and Paul were two of the characters featured in the fly-on-the-wall series when it was originally shown on BBC 1 in 1997.

Now the BBC is making Return to Lakesiders which is being shown over the course of five days in a week in December on BBC 2. The original fly-on-the-wall series followed characters connected with the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex. DJ Martin and Paul, who was then programme director of Essex FM, were two of those featured every week. The cameras particularly focused on their rows and conflicts.

Paul told RadioToday.co.uk: "Looking back on the original footage, it’s cringe-making and very cheesy especially as we were deliberately hamming it up for the cameras half the time. Martin is very much the wacky, zany stereotypical Essex boy deejay with long hair and a mullet and I’m the big bad boss who was always slapping him down.

“Because Lakesiders was originally aired before multi-channel television took off, the show was always in the BBC top 5 programmes of the week with audiences of about 9 million which is almost unheard of today. Martin and I became well known for a while — and the Essex FM audience figures benefited as a result.”

One of the most memorable scenes was where Martin took Paul flying in his private plane — and something went wrong with the controls and they had to make an emergency landing.

“People thought Martin was winding me up but it was a genuine emergency,” says Paul.

This scene and many others from the original series will be shown again. A BBC film crew spent time at Essex FM’s studios in Chelmsford on Friday filming the surprise reunion between the two, which happened live on air during the Martin and Su Breakfast Show.

In-depth interviews have also been filmed with Martin and Paul in their homes and the BBC intends to feature the pair in at least three of the five themed programmes.

Return To Lakesiders is one of a series of programmes looking again at some of the original docu-soaps on the BBC in the 90s to be shown in a peak time early evening slot in the six weeks running up to Christmas.

Martin is still on-air at Essex FM, and Paul is now senior partner for international radio consultants United Radio and a shareholder of new Hull radio station KCFM.

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