the chart show

It feels like Later… with Jools Holland is the only music show on television. Every time I watch it I completely despair at the state of Music On Television. In Holland, we have the most sycophantic, self congratulating idiot on the box. The way he hops on the stool to boogie-woogie piano with guests makes me puke.

A mate once said to me that it wouldn’t surprise him if Jools tried to add some boogie-woogie over Kraftwerk if they were guesting. I laughed because it’s depressingly true. However, I keep tuning in because, since the death of Top of the Pops, I’ve got no music shows to yell at.

Of course, not all music shows have been terrible. The Old Grey Whistle Test in reruns appeals to my penchant for chin-stroking. The White Room was fun to watch too, despite their need to put Word-style dancing girls on podiums. However, the best of the bunch was The Chart Show which is sorely needed on our boxes right now… and the time is perfect for a comeback.

If you don’t remember, The Chart Show used to be on a Saturday morning. It ran from 1986 right up until 1998. It was unique in the world of musical broadcasting because it didn’t have any presenters… but rather, a weird, futuristic set of graphics that resembled a computer, pointing a clicking at various tabs like ‘gossip’ and the like. It was ace.

The graphics even then (‘then’ being my personal halcyon days with the show, ie around 1990) seemed a bit cruddy… but I liked it. It seemed like it had been made by a bored nerdy music nut in his bedroom in somewhere daft like Leatherhead or Bognor Regis.

What was also great about the show was that it featured mock video effects, which would see an imagined user hurrying the whole thing up by fast forwarding through videos. It appealed perfectly to my short attention span. If the track was any good, it would have got its hooks in my by that point anyway.

Of course, the best thing about it all was the fact that it was pretty much 100% dedicated to music. With no presenters and dumb interviews cluttering up proceedings, the show was super efficient at giving memy pop kicks.

And what kicks I got!

Each week, away from the Top 40, The Chart Show would focus on a different subchart… be it indie, dance or rock. What was great in these smaller, niche charts, was that loads of the tracks wouldn’t have a video, so you’d get a shot of the sleeve or, in some rarer cases, images of Pong being played or a car getting crushed. Imagine that now, with YouTube fan videos getting shown where there was no official one to go to!

It was joyfully DIY and as a result, felt like it belonged to you, as opposed to some slick, vomit inducing get-together of hip dickwads all hooting and gurgling into Becks beer bottles like you see on Jools Holland.

When Top of the Pops wimped and limped out of sight, it closed with an embarrassing shot of Jimmy Savile pulling a great big lever, dressed in what looked like the left over bits of tinfoil from the end game on The Crystal Maze. Not so with The Chart Show. It closed with messages from fans, upset at the axing of the show, with a play of ‘Addicted to Love’ by Robert Palmer… which just so happened to be the first ever video shown on The Chart Show. It was a neat way of rounding off the best music show to ever air on telly.

So, with its short attention span, its ability to break new music (videos or not) and completely strip away all that annoying fluff you get on your average music show, The Chart Show needs to return. We need it. The Kids need it too. While TV is determined to feel more like the internet, The Chart Show was already there and doing it. It was rough around the edges and playful, without even trying. If The Kids are getting disenfranchised with telly, this is the one show that could drag ’em back. Better yet, with ITV on the bones of its arse, this is a quick, cheap show to make! It’s perfect for all!

TV bosses – pull your spud heads outta your backsides and get this back on our screens. Consider this the first move in a campaign to bring back The Chart Show.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1