Another name for the London underground.

"Come on and watch The Tube,
you groovy fuckers"

Jools Holland, January 1987


With production and content designed to shake up the outdated format of contemporary music programmes such as "The Old Grey Whistle Test", the British TV programme "The Tube" heralded a new era in music-based, "yoof entertainment".

First aired by Channel 4 on October 28th, 1982, The Tube was broadcast weekly, live from the Tyne Tees TV studio in Newcastle.

"The Tube" - Presenters

The show's main presenters, Holland and Yates, were a successful, if unlikely, pairing. He was the ex-keyboard player for Squeeze - a wry, funny and intelligent musician whose interest in piano began before the age of eight. She, on the other hand, came across, (or, more to the point, chose to come across), as a light, fluffy hanger-on: Famous for being famous, or, more accurately, faintly notorious for somewhat outrageous public behaviour and a penchant for snogging minor pop celebrities. While Jools Holland always looked slightly uncomfortable in front of camera, Paula Yates lapped up the exposure and the attention.

The show itself looked, (intentionally), slightly chaotic with it's edgy, handheld camera shots and ad-libbing presenters, but was actually well-produced and well-delivered. It was a stylish blend of music, chat and comedy. Sometimes things got a little out of hand, though: The occasional profanity from an exuberant pop star was sometimes broadcast, (either they'd forgotten the show went out live, or they knew full well it did). Paula Yates herself was once disciplined for saying "fuck" - well, it was the 80's.

Musical acts featured during the show's run are too numerous to mention here but cover a range from punk bands on their way out, (e.g. Siouxsie and the Banshees), up-and-coming new acts, (e.g. Fine Young Cannibals, Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and those that have managed to bridge the gap, (e.g. U2, "Mad Donna", Sting, David Bowie). In short, the list of artists featured on The Tube is stupendous - a veritable Who's Who? of 80's pop acts. My personal favourites were The Smiths and Propaganda, who played a short set including "Dr. Mabuse".

In addition to the music, The Tube featured interview segments with the bands on the show. Jools Holland took this opportunity to explore the performers' influences and artistic direction, whilst Paula Yates flirted outrageously with male performers. Indeed, Yates met future lover Michael Hutchence when INXS appeared on The Tube.

In between the music and interviews, various comedy acts appeared including 'pop poet' Mark Miwurdz, ('Mark my words', geddit?!), Rik Mayall and Vic Reeves, (in his first TV appearance).

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Jools Holland's infamous "groovy fuckers" remark, made during a tea-time live promotional link, was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as the IBA was concerned. The show's producers, already under pressure to re-vamp the show's format, resigned and the last broadcast of The Tube was in April 1987.

"The Tube"
1982 - 1987
Often replicated, never bettered.

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