The late eighties and early nineties found a music scene with no dominating sound,
no heavy rock, no disco, just splinters. The evil empire of Stock, Aitken and Waterman
was coming to an end, House music had given way to Rave culture, a regional mutation
of which would become the wonderful Madchester/baggy scene. The overall view in Britain
by this time was not to look beyond our own shores, but British rock weekly Melody
Maker had begun to write about a new scene in America's North West, especially Seattle,
As we entered 1990 Channel 4's best efforts were to continue to entertain the Q magazine generation with Whistle Test revivalist shows like Rock Steady and Friday at the Dome. The CD buying public would soon have the vinyl inspired Seattle scene to deal with.
The first cultural stirrings of the new decade would eventually come in August 1990
when The Word debuted on Channel 4. No-
In 1991 Top of the Pops got another re-
Just as the Pops was justly looking forward, someone at BBC2 thought it was an appropriate time to look back. BBC2's Sounds of the Sixties was the first serious look at the BBC's pop archives and was well received by fans and archivists alike, and inevitably would be followed by similar series devoted to the 1970s and 1980s. So popular was the format that it led to the creation in 1994 of TOTP2 featuring the best clips from that weeks’ Pops, while also playing clips from the archive.
Despite fanfares since the mid-
The BBC, in collaboration With the European Broadcasting Union, broadcasts the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in widescreen, albeit for test purposes. It would take another several years for widescreen to become the standard, while high definition would also tested later in the nineties becoming a domestic reality by the mid 2000s.
Pop acts had been guests on comedy shows from Morecambe and Wise and Arthur Haynes onwards, but the cheesy sketches they had to sometimes participate in didn't always make it essential viewing. In 1993 Baddiel and Newman from The Mary Whitehouse Experience were given their own series on BBC2 and featured The Cure's Robert Smith in one sketch, wilfully for once. Pop guests started appearing in other comedy shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The French and Saunders Show, Jack Dee among others. The term 'comedy is the new rock and roll' actually meant something, for at least a fortnight.
New British bands like Suede, Pulp and Ride had started to appear on various shows,
but no one had the notion that this was somehow the start of some new wave of British
Pop. In reality it wasn't, they probably never knew each other enough to plan such
a thing, but after journalists suggested that there were enough new bands to warrant
this as a response to the American north-
In June 1994 Channel 4 decided to devote a weekend to cover the Glastonbury Festival. Up to that point no channel had taken on such a task, but with plenty of music on offer it seemed an easy job just to pitch up and point cameras at willing participants. They returned the following year, only to have the BBC pinch it from under their noses when the festival returned in 1997.
Channel 4's commitment to music continues with The White Room which debuts in March 1995, becoming the first pop show to be broadcast in Dolby Surround in the UK. Glastonbury's presenter Mark Radcliffe was the host of the show which was pitched somewhere between Whistle Test's live sets and The Word's live ambiance.
Damon Albarn, the Guardian readers' Britpop representative hosted Britpop Now in
August 1995. Made by The Late Show production team it was a classic forty-
The nostalgia business continues with Rock Family Trees on BBC2, a take on Pete Frame's books looking at the development of bands or regions, spoiled only by a bored sounding John Peel.
Moles in the media thought they had uncovered a new sub-
On the 14th June 1996 ITV's London franchise Carlton broadcast an edition of a long-
In 1997 Top Of The Pops gets a new producer, Chris Cowey. His ex-
Channel 5's introduction in 1997 brought next to nothing to the party. The Pepsi sponsored Chart Show launched in 1998 was the nearest they would ever come, but hardly featured any clips of note.
It was about this time that TV shows started displaying a strange tag line on the end credits http://www.bbc.co.uk/etc. Many shows like Top Of The Pops would have their own web page which although not much more than basic promotion for the show would prove invaluable in promoting the show worldwide. The outside world would eventually be on to what we were doing in the UK. A clip from Britain's Got Talent, or The Graham Norton Show, or Later could be shared and seen worldwide within minutes of broadcast.
On New Year's Eve 1999 all the channels dedicated their programming to the new Millennium. Sadly, the year, the decade, the century and the millennium would be wrapped up with a poorly thought out party at the new Millennium dome in Greenwich, South London.
Top of the Pops would have a few middling to good years before being given away to BBC2 like an unwanted pet that BBC1 had grown tired of. Deciding that they didn't want it either they left it outside to die, but Christmas Day and New Year's Eve shows continue to be broadcast on BBC1.
Later with Jools Holland became the second longest running music show on TV, celebrating
By 2021 ITV and Channel Four have little or no commitment to pop music on any regular basis.
MTV and other satellite pop channels never had much, if any, impact in the UK, other than providing a few presenters who used it as an audition for terrestrial TV work.