Whether it's the heartwarming reunions on reality TV or the jaw-dropping plot twists in scripted series, television has a way of captivating audiences and creating unforgettable moments.

Viewers often find themselves drawn into the worlds and stories unfolding on their screens, forming connections with characters and becoming invested in their journeys.

These moments in television history have the power to evoke a wide range of emotions, from laughter and joy to tears and suspense.

Following on from the Echo article regarding the sister of a legendary Hampshire drummer who appeared on BBC One's The Repair Shop, the Echo explores a few of the many other connections Southampton shares with television.

Immigration Street

It was the follow-up to Channel 4’s popular documentary Benefits Street and it is safe to say it ruffled a few feathers.

The controversial programme, filmed and broadcast in 2015, focused on the lives of communities living in the Derby Road area of the city.

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Scores of campaigners travelled to London to demonstrate against the programme fearing it would paint the area in a bad light.

Protesters in Southampton later held crunch talks with senior Channel 4 bosses over the future of the proposed television show.

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It followed 1,000 people signing a petition opposing the show, created by Love Productions, which they felt was unfair and had the potential to split the community.

Despite constant pressure, the creators refused to axe the show but decided on a single-episode documentary rather than a series.

Olly Lewin - In It To Win It

Despite an amazing run of 19 right answers on the National Lottery’s In It To Win It, Olly Lewin left with just a consolation hug from host Dale Winton. His winning streak came to an end when he incorrectly guessed the birth year of John Lennon, Bruce Lee, and Richard Pryor.

In an interview with the Daily Echo, Olly revealed that his wife Vicki had initially nominated him. Surpassing numerous contenders to secure a spot on the game show, the couple saw it as a golden opportunity to fund their kitchen renovation.

“I never once thought I would get up to £100,000. I thought maybe I would win around £20,000 if I was lucky,” he told the Echo at the time.

Daily Echo: MOMENT OF TRUTH: The moment Olly Lewin of Bitterne found out he had got the final answer wrong and not won £100,000 on the BBC’s In It to Win It with Dale Winton.

“I don’t know what happened. I was sat there alone for half an hour before the final question and found myself mentally starting to spend the money.

“There was so much pressure at the end and I think I just panicked.”

After choosing 1945 as his answer from a choice of 1935 and 1940, Olly said he quickly realised he had made a mistake before the correct answer – 1940 – was revealed.

Daily Echo: Olly Lewin, missed out on £100,000 by one question after answering 19 correct.

Olly, who worked for Hampshire-based computer games retail giant Game at the time, was watched by a studio audience of around 200 people including Vicki and his mum Maggie who were sat on a balcony behind him.

The General

A show known as The General aired on BBC, featuring hosts Yvette Fielding, Chris Serle, and Heather Mills. Set at Southampton General Hospital, the series followed the journeys of various patients, both inpatients and outpatients, as they navigated their healthcare experiences.

Airing on BBC One during the daytime, the show was a live broadcast that captivated viewers every weekday. In total, there were 61 episodes produced, with 58 airing in 1998 between April and June, and the remaining three in 2002. Dave Heather served as the original director of the series.

Daily Echo: The General TV show.

In addition to the team monitoring patients and staff within the hospital, the broadcast showcased Heather Mills showcasing her prosthetic limb capabilities by rappelling down the hospital's exterior. The program also included surprise visits by renowned personalities such as endurance specialist Mike Stroud.

Following its renaming to City Hospital, the program retained its original structure while transitioning to new hosts, Nick Knowles and Gaby Roslin.

The Operation: Surgery Live

The General wasn’t the only show to have been broadcast from the hospital.

In 2009 a very different type of medical drama was filmed - the first programme of its kind - when a complex brain surgery at the hospital’s Wessex Neurological Centre was broadcast live on television.

Daily Echo: Brain surgery set to be broadcast live on TV from Hampshire hospital

Viewers even had the opportunity to speak with consultant surgeon Paul Grundy as he removed a brain tumour on an awake patient who received small doses of anaesthetic to keep relaxed.

It was hoped that The Operation: Surgery Live would help reassure future patients.

Kai Widdrington and Natalia Jeved - Britain’s Got Talent

Kai Widdrington and dance partner Natalia Jeved made it through to the live semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012.

In a series of thrilling displays, Kai Widdrington and Natalia Jeved captured the hearts of a vast audience, as well as the judges, when they progressed from stage to stage. 

Daily Echo: Kai and dance partner Natalia showing off their Latin American dance.

Hailing from Bassett, the ballroom and Latin dancers outshone 250 other acts to clinch a coveted spot in the live semi-finals.

Kai and Natalia, the latter suffering from a calf injury, did the city proud in the final but got into difficulty halfway through a lift sequence during their routine to Run Away Baby by Bruno Mars.

Daily Echo: VIDEO: Hampshire dancer bids for Britain's Got Talent glory

The public vote went in the way of the opposition and the talented pair lost out on their chance to perform for the Queen.

Kai was back in 2014 as part of the dance troupe Kings and Queens.

But heartbreak awaited Kai once more as the group lost out during the semi-final stage.

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Undeterred, Kai made a return to the screen as a professional dancer on the Irish version of Dancing With The Stars between 2017 and 2020. 

He made the move to become a professional dancer on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2021.

George Day - Love Island

Southampton Estate agent George Day joined Love Island in 2020, hoping to find love on the smash hit show.

He was one of 12 contestants hoping to charm himself to victory on the reality show.

Daily Echo: George Day on Love Island.

He said at the time: "My personality is my best feature, when people get to know me they do quickly like me. I like to be a gent too."

Winners that year were Paige Turley and Finn Tapp.

These examples are just a small taste of the many connections between Southampton and television, more of which will be explored in future Daily Echo articles.