Michael Lush: What Transpired With The Late Late Breakfast Show Host?

Michael Lush: What Transpired With The Late Late Breakfast Show Host?

On November 13, 1986, Michael Lush died while carrying out a stunt for the BBC’s The Late Late Breakfast Show. According to some reports, this was the darkest day in British television history.

The BBC provided an ex gratia payment of roughly £120,000 to Lush’s family. The coroner recommended that safety officers be present during any similar follow-up stunts, but BBC managing director Bill Cotton insisted that there would be no more shows that endangered the public.

Everything you need to know about the young man at the time and the specifics of the terrible situation is provided here.

Michael Lush
Michael Lush

Who Was the Late Late Breakfast Show’s Michael Lush?

South Hampton-born 24-year-old Michael Lush was a young man. According to reports, he worked for himself as a hod carrier—a worker on a building who moved bricks in a box with no sides.

Prior to being selected to participate as a stuntman on The Late Late Breakfast Show, which is notorious for its risky and life-threatening stunts, everything was going according to plan. His fiancée nominated him for the whirly wheel, and on November 8th, 1986, he was summoned live on the program and asked to complete the challenge Hang ’em High.

Lush added that although everyone thought he was crazy for agreeing to such a stunt, he was actually rather pleased to give it a try. For him, all it took was a bottle, and he was up for doing whatever that came his way.

The saddest part was when he joked that Allison, his fiancée, had mentioned getting married before the stunt day. In addition, his choice was stressing out his mother. She was unable to comprehend why he was so preoccupied with doing the play. He responded, “I want to be famous,” to that. Unfortunately, he gained notoriety as a result of his affiliation with the BBC program and the tragic event that claimed his life.

The formal show was scheduled to premiere on November 15th, but training had to take place two days earlier, which is when the disaster occurred.

From 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986, the BBC aired a live variety show on Saturday nights called The Late Late Breakfast Show. Initially co-hosted by Leni Harper and Noel Edmonds, it also included Mike Smith and John Peel. Dangerous stunts were performed in the “Give It a Whirl” parts. These acts led to numerous severe injuries, including Michael Lush’s passing in 1986. After his passing, the program was canceled.

Know About The Late Late Breakfast Show

After leaving his Saturday morning children’s program Multi-Colored Swap Shop earlier that year, this was Edmonds’ first show to air in the Saturday evening variety time slot. Gary Kemp composed the song that serves as its ringtone, and Spandau Ballet performed it. Michael Hurll served as both the director and producer. The show initially struggled in the ratings and looked unlikely to continue through its first season. After the third program, the original co-host Leni Harper was fired, and other changes were made to boost the ratings. In the end, the addition of some of the biggest stars in the music industry as special guests assisted in raising the show’s prominence and ratings.

In the first season, the Swedish group ABBA made two appearances, marking their final TV appearance.

A “mag prog [magazine programme] designed for those who get up late on Saturday, containing humor, pop music & a few surprises” was how the program was advertised.

Pop music performances, “The Golden Egg Awards,” which showcased various outtakes, and “The Hit Squad,” a hidden camera segment, were regular fixtures on the program. In a format similar to the game show Wheel of Fortune, a caller to the “Give It A Whirl” segment would spin the “Whirly Wheel” to choose a stunt; after spending the following week practicing, they would execute the stunt live on the following week.

For a while, researcher Helen Fielding worked on the program before going on to write the Bridget Jones novels.
After airing on Channel 4’s The Tube the day before, the song’s contentious music video for Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, “Say Say Say,” made its second appearance on UK television during the program. When the song first appeared on the UK singles chart, the $500,000 video was not yet finished. When it was finally decided, the track’s position on the chart had changed. In order to premiere the video on Top of the Pops, the BBC’s flagship music program, McCartney traveled to London. However, the show’s stringent rule was that no single that had fallen in position may be shown, thus it declined to air it. Following a heated confrontation, BBC personnel reported that McCartney had threatened to stop releasing any of his songs for the organization.

The Late Late Breakfast Show, which featured monthly live music performances but infrequently aired videos, accepted the BBC’s offer to air the video two days later as a compromise. Only if McCartney made a live appearance and gave an interview did the BBC agree to run it on the program. His first live UK TV appearance since 1973, he grudgingly agreed and made an appearance with his wife Linda on the program on October 29, 1983.

The McCartneys made little to no effort to respond to any of Edmonds’ inquiries, and the conversation was awkward. Olivia Newton-John, who had been scheduled to appear that week, was forced to agree to appear to promote the video in a skit, reportedly against her will. She expressed anger at having her “starring” role in the show downgraded into a lesser guest spot to make way for the video and McCartney. The entire program’s show was built around the video’s “medicine men” theme.

The song returned to the top of the chart the following week and was played on Top of the Pops on November 4, 1983, after the video had been featured on the program.

The Health and Safety Executive twice threatened the BBC with legal action to stop planned stunts like helicopter-assisted rescues of bystanders from exploding chimneys because of concerns that the show’s stunts were too risky.
The acts were “some of the most daring feats ever witnessed on British TV,” according to the BBC. During one such live stunt, an attempt to leap more than 230 feet in a car, stunt driver Richard Smith shattered his pelvis and suffered injuries to his head, neck, and back after colliding at 140 mph (225 km/h). Barbara Sleeman fractured her shoulder in 1983 after being shot from a cannon; she would later recall “The BBC could care less. They merely desire the audience.”

Michael Lush’s Death and Obituary

Volunteer Michael Lush died on November 13th, 1986, while practicing for a different live stunt. A 120-foot-high crane was used in the “Hang ’em High” stunt, which entailed bungee jumping from an exploding box. During the jump, the carabiner clip holding his bungee rope to the crane broke off from its eyebolt. After Edmonds resigned, claiming he did not “have the heart to keep on,” the show was canceled on November 15, 1986, and he passed away instantaneously after colliding with something and suffering serious injuries. One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing was screened in place of the scheduled program that was supposed to air that evening.

The jury was made aware of a number of BBC failures even though the inquiry returned a judgement of misadventure. The clip could have been opened by the weight of a bag of sugar, according to Graham Games of the Health and Safety Executive, who also demonstrated that the clip came loose 14 out of every 20 times. A bungee expert from the Dangerous Sports Club named David Kirke claimed that a similar act he had been a part of had utilized three ropes rather than the one rope used by the BBC and shackles rather than carabiner clips. Andrew Smith, the safety officer, wasn’t present, and there hadn’t been any stuntman supervision or demonstration. The jury heard that Lush hesitated for about two minutes before being told to jump; once in the air, there was no way for him to return to the ground, and no one was with him in case he changed his mind. The BBC production team had also insisted on using an elasticized bungee rope despite being advised against it. In addition, Lush had consumed two pints of beer at lunch previous to the rehearsal and there was no airbag or safety net to cushion a potentially dangerous fall. Last but not least, it was discovered that Lush was wearing wet boots prior to jumping, which even if it did not cause the accident posed a safety risk.

Michael Lush
Michael Lush

The BBC gave Lush’s family an ex gratia payment of about £120,000.

BBC managing director Bill Cotton said there would be no further shows that put the public at risk, notwithstanding the coroner’s recommendation that safety officers be present during any similar future stunts.

Noel Edmonds stated, “If I were to continue my career at the BBC, I would want to be completely confident with any production crew I was provided with,” following the inquest.

Two years later, he made a comeback to the BBC’s Saturday night program, hosting The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow.

The Health and Safety Executive then brought legal action against the BBC for violating the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

A professional would not have practiced the feat without an airbag in case of falls, according to Maurice Pallister, who represented the HSE in court. He also stated that “stunt experts” had advised him that even professional rehearsals should have taken weeks rather than days. He defended the visual effects creator of the application, saying that he “had taken a high standard of safety and multiplied it to ensure it was twice safe.” He clarified that the safety officer had not been present at the rehearsal and that the show’s producer had only spoken with the safety officer over the phone about the stunt. Paul Matthews, the escapologist hired as Lush’s trainer, only had theatrical trick experience and had never carried out the stunt necessary for the show. The BBC was assessed a fine of up to £2,000 plus fees. The magistrates decided against sending the matter to the Crown Court, where a lifelong sentence would have been imposed.

Michael Lush’s Accidental Death

Lush was really eager to start practicing the stunt he would execute live on national television on November 13th. He joined the group and gave it a shot after learning the tricks.

The “Hang ’em High” stunt, which involved bungee jumping from an exploding box, involved a 120-foot-high crane. The carabiner clip that was keeping his bungee rope attached to the crane during the leap came loose from its eyebolt.

The show was discontinued on November 15, 1986, following Edmonds’ resignation with the justification that he did not “have the heart to keep on,” and he instantly died after colliding with something and receiving severe injuries. The scheduled program that was meant to air that evening was replaced with the screening of One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing.

Despite the inquiry’s finding of mishappening, the jury was informed of a number of BBC shortcomings.

According to Graham Games of the Health and Safety Executive, who also demonstrated that the clip came loose 14 out of every 20 times, the clip could have been opened by the weight of a bag of sugar.

David Kirke, a bungee expert from the Dangerous Sports Club, asserted that a comparable operation in which he had participated had used three ropes as opposed to the one rope used by the BBC and shackles as opposed to carabiner clips. There had been no stuntman supervision or demonstration, and Andrew Smith, the safety officer, wasn’t present.

In the end, it was discovered that Lush had wet boots on before jumping, which, while it did not contribute to the accident, was nevertheless a safety concern.

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