TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

Home Intro Articles Credits Timeline Links 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s


8th October 1992 - date

A spin-off series featuring the type of musical guests who would appear on the weekday arts / media series The Late Show. Five years after the demise of Whistle Test it was time to try again, but this time a new approach. Hosted by Associate Producer Jools Holland the idea was to mix and match artists from various forms of rock, folk, soul, reggae and other popular music forms from around the world and get them to perform in the same studio (first at BBC’s White City compound, then at the Maidstone studios, Kent from 2013 onwards).

After the opening credits, featuring Jools Holland arriving suitably late for the show, he would kick off by playing a piano riff which would then, encourage each act to join in turn, or as an ensemble. The series soon attracted the calibre of artist coveted by the Q buying public. Each series lasted no more than six shows, but has proved to be the most successful British music TV series since Top Of The Pops. Featuring the world’s most bored looking audience it's hardly influential. It's become the Last Of The Summer Wine of pop telly.

Virtually everyone of any worth, with the usual exception of Bob Dylan, has appeared on the show. Holland leads each show (and he's never missed one of them) with distinct authority like an orchestral conductor.

The annual Hootnanny show has become the one show that pubs up and down the country show every New Year's Eve.

In October 2017 the show celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with a special two hour long show.