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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Very much a precursor of the type of youth-targeted programming that Janet Street-Porter would implement at the BBC in the late eighties, 20th Century Box was fundamentally a TV version of the weekly magazine Time Out, not just featuring music but the lives of young Londoners. Following on from The London Weekend Show which ran from 1975 to 1978 and saw Street-Porter and her team report on various aspects of the current London music scene like the pub rock and punk.

The show was produced by the newly created London Minorities Unit of London Weekend Television which would also go on to produce Britain's first gay current affairs show, Gay Life. According to the Daily Mirror the show was 'specially made in black and white, about and for young people in London' although the black and white shows would stop after a few weeks. Ex-Ultravox member John Foxx composed the theme music for the show.

20th Century Box saw NME journalist Danny Baker report on various music scenes flourishing in post-punk London and the surrounding area. There were reports on the newly emergent New Romantic scene, post-punk, jazz, rockabilly, lovers rock, British funk, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, independent record labels, the work of record producers and how the industry had changed since punk.

The show would be remembered most for coverage of a gig at the Scala cinema, introduced by Robert Elms as "the dance of perfection, the Spandau Ballet", while the final show saw the filming of a video for another New Romantic legend, Steve Strange's Visage.


London Weekend

29th June 1980 - 30th August 1981