Monday, July 29, 2002

OLD WARHORSE TO FILL ANOTHER GAP IN SCHEDULES: As if to demonstrate quite how much the Saturday Show isn't an attempt to clone SM:TV, the BBC are now going to add a Saturday edition of Top of the Pops to the mix, to be nothing at all like CD:UK at all, oh no. Now, while the slightly fogy-ish TOTP2 on BBC2 has been something of a success, other attempts to spin the brand lie scattered across the floor like so many of Madonna's old dresses. TOTP: The New Chart, TOTP at Play, that one on BBC Choice, TOTP+ and TOTP on Radio One (twice) have both tried and failed to push boundaries of viewer interest; perhaps because the specialness of TOTP doesn't really sink in until you're a few years older than the age at which you watch the show.
In related news, two people you and I have never heard of - Fearne Cotton and Simon Grant - will replace the current hosts of The Saturday Show, Joe Mace, Danii Behr and her Sexual Peccadilloes.
Meanwhile, over on Liquid News, Chris Price's much-missed shoes will be filled by Claudia Winkleman and Colin Paterson, going for a Nicholas Witchell/Moira Stewart two handed style of anchoring. If you'd asked us a few weeks back, we'd have rolled on the floor muttering about how that just sums up everything we've ever thought about british TV, but having caught Ms Winkleman doing some fill-in slots, we have to eat our words with a spinach side salad. Preciously, we've never been quite sure what she was for, what one would do with a Winkleman. On Liquid News, she's found a role and presents in an assured, stylish fashion that manages to remember it is just a celeb goss slot, but without drowning the whole thing in campy irony (Iain Lee) or treating the news, the show and the stories as somehow not worth the effort (Sean Hughes, who was a Good Man in a Bad Place).
Also meanwhile, Channel 5's 'commitment to music' is further demonstrated by the burying of the Lauren Laverne fronted Pop at five o'clock in the afternoon. If that's a prime-time slot, then Countdown must be the jewel in British TV's crown.
Get up, the kids [Ananova] - doesn't anyone want to bring back the Chart Show?

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