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Violet Berlin

Violet Berlin


Violet was the original female presenter of Bad Influence!. Initially Violet had applied for the job of a researcher on the show, but thanks to her knowledge and enthusiasm for computers and video games, she was given the job as presenter.

 

Along with co-presenter Andy, Violet introduced the programme and presented all the studio features, news and previews. Violet also left the studio on occasion to front location features from around the country. The final series saw Violet front the US reports, as well as a new feature called 'Virtual Violet', in which she presented some of her personal views on gaming issues. As a result of some of her reports throughout the four series, Violet has actually appeared in several videogames herself such as 'Normality Inc.' and 'Micro Machines '96'. 

 

When Bad Influence! finished, Violet went on to present another CiTV programme produced by Yorkshire Television, 'The Big Bang' alongside her husband Gareth 'Gaz Top' Jones. She has since presented a range of television and radio programmes, including the video games show 'Game Pad' on the digital channel Bravo, which was produced by her own television company, Whizz Bang TV.

 

Andy Crane

Andy Crane


Andy, along with Violet, was one of the main presenters. Andy never claimed to be an expert when it came to computers and games but he was interested enough when he was approached by the producer, Patrick Titley to present the show. Patrick thought of Andy as a main presenter after seeing other items he had done on TV and thought that he would be "interesting and capable".

Like Violet, Andy presented the news, previews and features, including several outside broadcasts that took him around the country, possibly by car, train, or even cheap flights

Andy started his television career on Children's BBC, as a continuity presenter in 'The Broom Cupboard' (with Edd the duck!). Alongside Bad Influence!, Andy also presented ITV's Saturday morning show 'What's Up Doc?'. Since then Andy has been involved in various other television and radio programmes including an appearance in Channel 4's 'Banzai'. He currently hosts the Sunday morning spot on the radio station LBC 97.3FM, and can be seen on Greater Manchester's Channel M digital television station.

 

Sonya Saul

Sonya Saul


Sonya took over as Andy's co-presenter in the studio when Violet was relocated to the US reports. Although she managed a good job most of the time, there was never the same chemistry between the studio presenters as there was in Violet's time.

Producer Patrick Titley, adds "We wanted to alter the balance of male/female presenters (on the grounds that boys would watch anyway because of the content) and there was a feeling that Violet was a better presenter on location than in the studio - hence the coming of Sonya!"

 

Nam Rood

Nam Rood


Nam Rood presented the hints and cheats section of Bad Influence!. Nam Rood (that's 'Door Man' spelt backwards, a play on words based on the notion that he gave out 'back door' level codes) was a character played by the actor Andy Wear. The idea was that he was transmitting a pirate signal from the shed intermittently during the show, giving away gaming cheats and secrets. That was until the set was redesigned for the third series, where he then appeared from the basement. Nam would appear several times per show, welcoming the viewers into his shed/basement usually with the line, "Hello scrotty furtlers". He would always be doing strange things before going on to give the cheat, such as obscure movie impressions or constructing a time machine. The code for the cheat (up down left right, etc) would be written on a 'Head Caption' - a piece of card - that Nam would proceed to slam onto the side of his head where it would remain for the duration of the demonstration.  

Nam didn't appear in the final series. The shows producer, Patrick Titley, said, "We dropped Nam Rood from Series 4 because Series 3 attracted fewer girls to watch - and the research showed that the female part of the audience didn't like Nam Rood. In retrospect I think it was a mistake to get rid of Nam - as you say he added much needed light relief. To be honest part of the reason was that I had to write all the sketches, and I was simply running out of ideas!"

 

Z Wright

Z Wright


Z (pronounced 'zee'), was the US correspondent for Bad Influence!. The latest new hardware developments and news from the States would be heard from Z before anywhere else. The reports, which appeared every week, took Z all round the USA where he reported on the likes of the CM5 supercomputer from 'Thinking Machines' used in weather prediction, and behind the scenes of the Terminator 2 effects, to the future developments of the 'Information Superhighway'.

Apparently, Z's mum called him Z as he was definitely going to be her last child. Z only appeared for the first three series.

 

The Review Panel

Some of the Review Panel


The reviews section was an integral part of Bad Influence!. Each show had one main review which was usually that week's big gaming release, such as Jurassic Park or Mortal Kombat. Later in the show a couple of additional games would be reviewed in succession.

The reviews were performed by a panel of young games enthusiasts. One would serve as the main reviewer and would talk about the game before two others appeared to give short summaries of what they thought. The game would then get its ratings, marked out of five, from the girls and the boys separately.

 

The panel consisted of a number of regulars who appeared throughout the four series. Some have since gone on to work in the media themselves, one of whom was Sohail Shah (pictured top).

 

Sohail said in a recent email, "Seems like years ago when we did Bad Influence!. I'd forgotten how many reviews and episodes I'd actually done. I did my first show back in 93! That officially makes me ancient! I'm still young until I hit 30 though. That's the line and I'm sticking to it! I'm a freelance producer/director now. Mainly do entertainment docs and celeb biogs and stuff, so out in the States a hell of a lot. I always was a trash TV whore, so at least I get paid for it now eh?" 

 

Brad and Deena

Brad and Dina


OK, so they weren't really presenters, but here they are 'Brad' and 'Deena' the Bad Influence! 'Humanosaurs'. They featured in the first two series in the opening titles and between-item stings.

 

The original opening titles were designed to look like a platform game that Andy and Violet were playing on the video wall. The game's two characters 'Brad' and 'Deena' get a little stuck and so Andy and Violet magically jump into the game through the screen and help them to reach the end of the level. 

 

The animation and Humanosaur characters were created for the show by the Sheffield-based games company Gremlin with a view to turn it into an actual game, although, this never came about. The title sequence and Bad Influence! logo were completely redesigned for the third series using rendered 3D graphics.