TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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SOLID SOUL

C4 / Action Time
11th April 1986 - 23rd October 1987

Channel 4 had broadcast just one season of the legendary American show Soul Train, re-tooled for the UK market, but instead of renewing the contract a new format was decided upon instead.

The new weekly thirty-minute show would be hosted by Juliet Roberts and ex-Solar radio DJ Chris Forbes. Roberts was the singer with the band Working Week who would themselves appear later in the series.

The show introduced new UK talent, current chart favourites, soul legends touring the UK and promo videos.

Like Soul Train from the year before the singers would perform in front of about fifty dancing audience members, providing an atmosphere missing from other pop shows of the time like Top of The Pops, but like The Pops no-one appeared to be singing live. The first season signed off with three compilation shows Solid Soul's Greatest Hits.

The Soul Train production team were brought in, once again including Jonathan Ross and Alan Marke, while Gordon Elsbury was its Producer / Director.

The second and final season began May 1987, however it would be without any presenters and without the established production team.

Predictably the show would not make it to a third season, which was a shame as British soul was evolving. It was relying less on the American template, preferring to establish their own scene by looking at and representing their own Anglo / Caribbean culture. A show like Solid Soul would have been perfectly placed to introduce it to a wider audience.