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JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Yes, as they say, they originally pitched CDUK as a Sunday teatime show that would coincide with the announcement of the new chart, but Nigel Pickard commissioned it for Saturday mornings, and asked them to do a Saturday morning show before it.


Interesting, as The Chart Show would presumably have continued in that situation. I always personally preferred that to CD:UK.
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
It's doubtful that The Chart Show would have continued had they commissioned another chart show.
SW
Steve Williams
It's doubtful that The Chart Show would have continued had they commissioned another chart show.


Yeah, in their book they say that when they pitched it to Nigel Pickard, he said he was already looking for a replacement for The Chart Show, which presumably was declining, so as you say, they wouldn't have had two shows across the weekend doing the same kind of thing.

At the start, CDUK seemed a bit of a step down from The Chart Show because CDUK wasn't established yet so you went from guaranteed big hits to records at about number 36 in the charts as they couldn't entice on any big names, but that changed soon enough and at its peak it was absolutely thrashing Top of the Pops, if not in terms of the absolute numbers (as Pops was in primetime and this wasn't), but certainly in terms of credibility and who they could attract and its popularity with the young audience. Actually I do remember during the Rugby World Cup in 1999 they showed CDUK at 5.20 one week and I wondered if that was an experiment to see if it could work there full time, but no, presumably it was too valuable (to the industry, certainly) to move from the before-the-shops slot.

The first few episodes of CDUK weren't very good, they had a few extraneous features including a live link to a record shop, initially with Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd, to see what the public were buying. Initially too Phil Swern was in the studio, styled as "Dr Pop", who would say things like "there are ten new entries in the chart this week!" But it turned out nobody gave a toss about any of that.
JC
JCB
Then there was one where they said it was “the end of PJ and Duncan” and had all these tribute features as if they were retiring from television, only to explain afterwards that they simply meant that they were retiring the PJ and Duncan names and would permanently be known as Ant and Dec from now on - a change that also happened in their musical career about the same time.


Unfortunately they fell foul of a big change at C4 in 1997, when Michael Grade and most of the commissioners departed as well, so everyone who hired them had left and the new people weren't particularly interested in them, so that was the end of it. Everyone forgets they were really down the toilet when SMTV started, it was a last throw of the dice for them, as they hadn't any TV work and their music career had come to an end as well. Shout is a bloody great record, BTW.


IIRC they mentioned in their first book they were offered the Big Breakfast in 97 after a successful guest presenting stint but turned it down because they didn't feel they were the right fit.
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
Here's part of an interview I did with Dean Wilkinson for Brekkie.com back in the day:

Quote:
How did you get into comedy writing?
I produced comics at school which only a few friends found funny because they were so bizarre. Later, when I was a Housing benefit Clerk for Middlesbrough Council I started writing scripts for adult and kids' comics before turning pro. Then I got bits of TV work before teaming up with Ant and Dec in the early nineties.

How did this get you writing on The Big Breakfast?
Ant and Dec insisted I scripted it when they were asked to present it for 2 weeks (in 1997). It was the first time proper writers had been used on the breakfast and the producers were wary of me to begin with. But it worked and they wanted me to stay on after that. I had other obligations so they went on to employ a team of writers.

Which presenters did you write for on The Big Breakfast?
Firstly Ant and Dec, then a six week run with Denise and Richard on The Bigger Breakfast, then finally Ant and Dec again when they did it for a week with Mel Sykes.

Was it a good place to work?
Yes, the people at Planet 24 were largely great. The six week run I did on my own was pretty stressful but great experience.

What's your favourite memory of the BB which you were involved with?
I did a joke for Ant, Dec and Denise, which was: "Have you heard that one of X-Files star Gillian Anderson's teeth is growing bigger than the others. It's huge now. Massive. How big is it? I tell you, the tooth is out there." Then they turned the camera on me to embarrass me for such a terrible gag, which was a nice present as it was my 30th birthday that day.


So it seems the success of Ant & Dec's stint led to the hiring of professional comedy writers on The Big Breakfast for the first time, which in turn led to the more comedy-driven Johnny & Denise era.
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
Interesting - Ant and Dec's 1997 stint was pretty much a different show to The Big Breakfast of the day and probably paved the way for The Bigger Breakfast.


At the start, CDUK seemed a bit of a step down from The Chart Show because CDUK wasn't established yet so you went from guaranteed big hits to records at about number 36 in the charts as they couldn't entice on any big names, but that changed soon enough and at its peak it was absolutely thrashing Top of the Pops, if not in terms of the absolute numbers (as Pops was in primetime and this wasn't), but certainly in terms of credibility and who they could attract and its popularity with the young audience.

CD:UK also had the advantage of introducing the Saturday Chart so appearing to be very current basically giving you tomorrow chart the morning after TOTP gave you last weeks chart. Plus they had performances for future releases too, who then wouldn't appear on TOTP until a few weeks later when the song charted.
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
CD:UK also had the advantage of introducing the Saturday Chart so appearing to be very current basically giving you tomorrow chart the morning after TOTP gave you last weeks chart..


That wasn't new to CD:UK, The Chart Show had been doing the same thing!

Wasn't really true about songs that hadn't charted not appearing on TOTP by 1998 either, by the time CD:UK was running, "Exclusives" and pre-releases were quite common on TOTP.
SW
Steve Williams
JCB posted:
IIRC they mentioned in their first book they were offered the Big Breakfast in 97 after a successful guest presenting stint but turned it down because they didn't feel they were the right fit.


They also said they turned it down because they didn't want to get up early every day.

Wasn't really true about songs that hadn't charted not appearing on TOTP by 1998 either, by the time CD:UK was running, "Exclusives" and pre-releases were quite common on TOTP.


But not at the time CDUK was in its pomp, though, under Chris Cowey from 1997-2003 they'd stopped doing exclusives on a regular basis and about 95% of the time it was records that were already in the charts. Which just made it look even more out of date because in this era bands would do weeks of promo before the records were released, and after the first week they'd go down the chart, so they'd have performed it on every other show weeks before they did it on Pops. It's perhaps amazing how Pops still managed to lure on so many big names in this period as it was pretty useless as a promotional tool, the singles were already on their way down.

It is true The Chart Show also featured the new chart, although for much of its life Pops was on Thursdays, rather than less than 24 hours before it, and it was a bigger deal to have an act in the studio than it was to show the video. It certainly made CDUK look dead important when they had an act on and they could announce they were number one before it was officially confirmed.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Though CD:UK did have plenty of occasions where they announced a song as number 1, then it ended up not being so on the final charts the next day. I have the 20th December 2003 edition where Cat rather excitedly announces The Darkness as Christmas Number 1, then it ended up being Gary Jules instead. I seem to remember Ricky Martin was never Number 1 on the CD:UK Chart with Livin La Vida Loca either, even though he was there for 3 weeks on the official chart.
paul_hadley and Revolution gave kudos
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
One thing about CD:UK though is the company that licences the archive has put LOADS of clips on YouTube of various interviews from during the shows life, so I guess at least we can say they aren't keeping the show's archive hidden.

Though one search on YouTube for CD:UK I did had a clip they'd uploaded of an interview with Ian Watkins (the lostprophets one, not H from Steps) near the top of the search results, clearly they've not got the MO about him.
Last edited by james-2001 on 18 September 2020 10:33pm - 2 times in total
RE
Revolution London London
Though CD:UK did have plenty of occasions where they announced a song as number 1, then it ended up not being so on the final charts the next day. I have the 20th December 2003 edition where Cat rather excitedly announces The Darkness as Christmas Number 1, then it ended up being Gary Jules instead. I seem to remember Ricky Martin was never Number 1 on the CD:UK Chart with Livin La Vida Loca either, even though he was there for 3 weeks on the official chart.

The most infamous of course was Victoria Beckham/True Steppers/Dane Bowers' 'Out of Your Mind', which led early Saturday morning but was pipped to #1 by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Spiller's 'Groovejet'.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
And Victoria Beckham remains the only Spice Girl to have no solo number 1. If I'm not mistaken, her floundering record career and the amount of money pumped into it were responsible for bankrupting her record company.

CD:UK definitely had the better format than TOTP at the time. TOTP had too much of a reliance on performances which meant too much wasn't shown that really should have been because the acts couldn't or wouldn't appear in the studio and Chris Cowie all but refusedto show videos, and other stuff got shown repeatedly (quite often the same performances, not even new ones) when the could have shown something else instead (including former number 1s on the way down). One example I can think of is in early 1999 the same Whitney Houston performance being shown FIVE times, each at a lower chart position than the previous time it was shown (down to number 19 the last time it was shown). I know it was only the second time she'd appeared in the studio, and the first time for 12 years, but it really seems excessive to have shown it 5 times when there's something else they could have shown, even if it was a video, especially when it was down to number 19.

One of the major issues with the Cowie era really, the over the top rejection of videos and the repeated showings of the same songs and performances by the artists they could get into the studio in their place, even if they'd been shown several times before and were on the way down. I can understand prioritising performances over videos, but Cowey TOTP just took it to an extreme. It really seems strange to choose to show a 2 month old performance for the fifth time of a song that's about to fall out of the top 20 when there must have been several videos of higher placed and more recently charted songs they could have shown.

Plus CD:UK being an hour long gave them time for features, which always ate too much into TOTP's running time when they tried it. Plus TOTP always seemed to do those features really badly regardless when they tried it too- look at the last few months of Chris Cowey's run for example and the way they'd run dreadfully executed behind the scenes videos actually over the middle of performances.
Last edited by james-2001 on 19 September 2020 12:18am - 10 times in total

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