Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Roxy (Tyne Tees/ ITV) 1987-88

The Fall perform 'Hit the North' on The Roxy (10 November 1987)

 Tyne Tees' short-lived The Roxy (1987-88) is only remembered as a footnote in the history of British pop TV, invariably described as "The ITV Top of the Pops". The reasons for its failure are pretty apparant in retrospect - a reluctance of the ITV network as a whole to get behind the project, its use of the second-best Network Chart (shared with Independent Local Radio and the NME), presenters who weren't household names, the difficulty of competing with an established TV brand of proven value in Top Of The Pops (especially when a Roxy appearance required recording in Newcastle and not London) meaning that a lot of minor barely-hits got performed on the show at times.

 However, watching many clips from the show online 30 years on, I'm struck by how well made the programme often was and what a good job it did of making a range of songs seem exciting. The Roxy came to be largely because Tyne Tees' pioneering live Channel 4 music show The Tube (1982-87) had finished, and a desire to make good use of the company's five years accumulated experience of making music television combined with the need to bring fresh youth audiences to ITV (always a problem for the channel). When watched in comparison with Top of the Pops performances of the same song, the Roxy versions often come off better to my mind - especially in terms of direction, sound and use of and engagement with the studio audience (particularly in the earlier editions recorded in a converted cinema with proscenium arch theatrical staging).

 From a distance of three decades The Roxy looks like a very good television show and a useful gazetteer of a lively pop time. Here is a complete list of studio performances, and links to YouTube videos of the majority:


With Los Lobos (La Bamba), Siouxsie & The Banshees (Song From The Edge Of The World), Freddie McGregor (I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely), Marillion (Sugar Mice), Shakin' Stevens (A Little Boogie Woogie), New Order (True Faith)


With Wet Wet Wet (Sweet Little Mystery), Errol Brown (Personal Touch), Hue & Cry (Labour Of Love), Samantha Fox (I Surrender), Def Leppard (Animal)


With Westworld (Where The Action Is), Spagna (Call Me), Freddie McGregor (I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely), Echo & The Bunnymen (Lips Like Sugar), Kim Wilde (Say You Really Want Me), Los Lobos (La Bamba)


With Then Jericho (The Motive), Sinitta (Toy Boy), Pseudo Echo (Funky Town), Def Leppard (Animal), New Order (True Faith)


With T'Pau (Heart And Soul), The Jesus & Mary Chain (Happy When It Rains), Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up), Wet Wet Wet (Sweet Little Mystery), Yello & Shirley Bassey (The Rhythm Divine)


With Johnny Hates Jazz (I Don't Want To Be A Hero), Black (Wonderful Life), Sinitta (Toy Boy), Then Jericho (The Motive), Squeeze (Hour Glass), Rick Astley (Never Going To Give You Up)


With ABC (The Night You Murdered Love), Chris Rea (Loving You Again), Levert (Casanova), The Housemartins (Me And The Farmer), Cliff Richard (Some People)


With Depeche Mode (Never Let Me Down Again), Jonathan Butler (Lies), T'Pau (Heart And Soul), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Black (Wonderful Life), Level 42 (It's Over)


With Curiosity Killed The Cat (Free), Johnny Hates Jazz (I Don't Want To Be A Hero), Cliff Richard (Some People), The Communards (Tomorrow), Def Leppard (Pour Some Sugar On Me)


With Hue & Cry (Strength To Strength), Karel Fialka (Hey Matthew), Housemaster Boyz (Housenation), Shakin' Stevens (Come See About Me), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume)


With The Christians (When Fingers Point), Steve Winwood (Valerie), Level 42 (It's Over), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (My Bag), Erasure (The Circus)


With Living In A Box (So The Story Goes), Jelly Bean (The Real Thing), Sisters Of Mercy (This Corrosion), The Cross (Cowboys And Indians), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Gary Numan (Cars (E Reg Model))


With Terence Trent D'Arby (Dance Little Sister), Ray Parker Jnr (I Don't Think That Man Should Sleep Alone), UB40 (Maybe Tomorrow), Was (Not Was) (Walk The Dinosaur), Bryan Ferry (The Right Stuff)


With The Alarm (Rain In The Summertime), Scarlet Fantastic (No Memory), Erasure (The Circus), Blue Mercedes (I Want To Be Your Property), Bryan Adams (Victim Of Love)


With Then Jericho (Muscle Deep), Was (Not Was) (Walk The Dinosaur), Black (I'm Not Afraid), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), The Style Council (Wanted), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody)


With The Communards (Never Can Say Goodbye), Maxi Priest (Some Guys Have All The Luck), Heartbeat (Tears From Heaven), Marillion (Warm Wet Circles)


With Mirage (Jack Mix IV), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), The Fall (Hit The North), Joe Cocker (Unchain My Heart), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody)


With The Proclaimers (Letter From America), The Housemartins (Build), The Communards (Never Can Say Goodbye), Glen Goldsmith (I Won't Cry), Johnny Hates Jazz (Turn Back The Clock)


With Blue Mercedes (I Want To Be Your Property), Paul McCartney (Once Upon A Long Ago), Mirage (Jack Mix IV), Maxi Priest (Some Guys Have All The Luck)


With Labi Siffre (Nothin's Gonna Change), The Proclaimers (Letter From America), ABC (King Without A Crown), T'Pau (China In Your Hand)


With The Alarm (Rescue Me), Johnny Hates Jazz (Turn Back The Clock), T'Pau (China In Your Hand)

15.12.1987 (VIDEOS ONLY)

With Wet Wet Wet (Angel Eyes), New Order (Touched By The Hand Of God), Simply Red (Every Time We Say Goodbye), Belinda Carlisle (Heaven Is A Place On Earth), The Pogues & Kirsty McColl (Fairytale Of New York), Level 42 (Children Say), Rick Astley (When I Fall In Love)

22.12.1987 (HITS OF 1987)

With Pet Shop Boys (It's A Sin), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), Los Lobos (La Bamba)


With Wet Wet Wet (Angel Eyes), Krush (House Arrest), Sinitta (GTO), The Christians (Ideal World), Climie Fisher (Rise To The Occasion)


With Terence Trent D'Arby (Sign Your Name), Morris Minor & The Majors (Stutter Rap), The Stranglers (All Day And All Of The Night), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (Jennifer She Said), Depeche Mode (Behind The Wheel)


With Bros (When Will I Be Famous), Tiffany (I Think We're Alone Now), Joyce Sims (Come Into My Life), Dollar (Oh L'Amour), Krush (House Arrest)


With Jermaine Stewart (Say It Again), Two Men, A Drum Machine & A Trumpet (Tired Of Getting Pushed Around), The Christians (Ideal World), Tiffany (IThink We're Alone Now), Terence Trent D'Arby (Sign Your Name)


With Jack 'n' Chill (The Jack That House Built), T'Pau (Valentine), Sharpe & Numan (No More Lies), Sinéad O'Connor (Mandinka), Bros (When Will I Be Famous)


With Taylor Dayne (Tell It To My Heart), The Mission (Tower Of Strength), Billy Ocean (Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car), Robert Plant (Heaven Knows), The Screaming Blue Messiahs (I Wanna Be A Flintstone)


With Was (Not Was) (Spy In The House Of Love), T'Pau (Valentine), Eddy Grant (Gimme Hope Jo'anna), Bourgeois Tagg (I Don't Mind At All), Jermaine Stewart (Say It Again), The Communards (For A Friend)


With Coldcut & Yazz (Doctorin' The House), Vanessa Paradis (Joe Le Taxi), Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle (Never Knew Love Like This), Bryan Ferry (Kiss And Tell), Bomb The Bass (Beat Dis)


With Belinda Carlisle (I Get Weak), The Primitives (Crash), Sisters Of Mercy (Dominion), Johnny Hates Jazz (Heart Of Gold), Derek B (Goodgroove)


With Bomb The Bass (Beat Dis), Erasure (Ship Of Fools), Taja Sevelle (Love Is Contagious), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Aztec Camera (How Men Are)


With Bros (Drop The Boy), Eighth Wonder (I'm Not Scared), Belinda Carlisle (I Get Weak), Glen Goldsmith (Dreaming), INXS (Devil Inside), The Communards (For A Friend)


With Wet Wet Wet (Temptation), Simon Harris (Bass), Sinitta (Cross My Broken Heart), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Climie Fisher (Love Changes Everything)


With Status Quo (Ain't Complaining), Taylor Dayne (Prove Your Love), Glen Goldsmith (Dreaming), Eighth Wonder (I'm Not Scared), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Brenda Russell (Piano In The Dark)


With Jermaine Stewart (Gonna Get Lucky), T'Pau (Sex Talk), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (From The Hip), Pat & Mick (Let's All Chant), Bananarama (I Want You Back)