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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

A comedy showcase featuring talent from both sides of the Atlantic who were new to TV. It was a kind of follow up to the shows that Des O'Connor and Bob Monkhouse hosted in the eighties introducing comic talent new to the general public. Live from Jungleurs, Saturday Live, Friday Night Live and a few other late night comedy showcases had done OK for ITV and Channel Four and this was the BBC's response.

Based in a fictional theatre, the first series was hosted by Arthur Smith who played the theatre's manager. Described in the Radio Times as "Jean-Paul Belmondo of British comedy" he would have assistance from Nick Revell and Curtis & Ishmael, who took over hosting duties for the second series. Dennis Leary, Emo Phillips, Jon Stewart, Bill Hicks, Charlie Fleischer, Janeane Garofalo, Richard Belzer came across from the USA while from the UK we saw Jeremy Hardy, Helen Lederer, Steve Coogan, Jack Dee, Linda Smith, Jo Brand, Mark Steel, Caroline Ahern, Julian Clary, Felix Dexter, Paul Whitehouse, Frank Skinner and many others. Simon Day's old timey music hall star Tommy Cockles would be resident in the second series, a few years before his re-appearance in The Fast Show.

Curiously, even though the show was there to promote new comic talent, when it came to choosing its music acts they went to the top, with the first few weeks The Christians, Oleta Adams, Bonnie Raitt, Jesus Jones, Hothouse Flowers, Soul II Soul, Lenny Kravitz and The B52's all turning up. The final show of the second series on 3rd August 1991 they played host to David Bowie's Tin Machine, promoting their second album (which desperately needed promotion).

Lasting just the two series it was it seemed an incredible glimpse into the future of UK comedy in the nineties, in particular the talent that would go on to create The Fast Show.



31st March 1990 - 3rd August 1991