We went to watch BBC's new pop show, Sounds Like Friday Night, and this is what happened

We went to watch BBC's new pop show, Sounds Like Friday Night, and this is what happened
From BBC - October 27, 2017

"I cannot stress it enough: This is a gig."

Warm-up man Stuart Holdham is laying the ground rules for the studio audience at Sounds Like Friday Night, a brand new pop show on BBC One.

"Do not clap along to the music because you should be dancing," he continues.

"And if I see any dad dancing, you will be removed from the studio, driven to Manchester and forced to watch six hours of Jeremy Kyle."

For all of his humour, there's no mistaking it: This is a big deal for the BBC.

Since Top of the Pops and CD:UK died in 2006, there has not been a dedicated pop programme on mainstream TV. It has becomeindustry consensus that audiences do not want to see live music in their living room.

That's why, X Factor aside, pop bands have had to fight for slots at the end of The One Show or the end of Graham Norton. Always at the end. Always as the credits roll.

So Sounds Like Friday Night is something of a gamble. (A gamble which bizarrely, and perhaps unintentionally, borrows its title from a short-lived Leo Sayer show in 1978.)

"It's a truly remarkable thing," says host Greg James, a couple of days before the programme launches.

"The BBC have gone, 'Do you know what? Let's do a live music show and put it on BBC One!'"

He says he's "obviously very nervous" at launching a new programme, but "I do not feel it's something I ca not do".

"It's not rocket science. It's a half-hour show with some great music and some fun bits that people can hopefully sit down at the end of the week and enjoy."

Ah yes, the "fun bits". This is what stops #SLFN (as it's known on social media) being a mere reboot of Top of the Pops.

The chart countdown has been consigned to the dustbin, and the show is peppered with sketches and interviews, which are instantly available to share on YouTube and social media.

"It's a lot more than music performances," says James's co-host Dotty.

"We are hoping we can create moments that live outside of the show."

The template is Adele's successful "At The BBC" show, which mixed chat and performances with a sketch in which the star auditioned as an Adele impersonator. That clip has been watched more than 82 million times on YouTube.

Record labels will be watching sales and streaming figures on Saturday to see whether SLFN's first guests - Jason Derulo, Charlie Puth and Jessie Ware - receive a similar boost from their appearance on the programme.

But whatever happens, music fans are eager for a new pop show. The studio audience for the first episode came not just from the UK but from Sweden, Germany, and even the US.

"I watched Top of the Pops growing up," said Dan Law, who travelled from Devon to be first in the queue.

"It was a shame when it ended, but this seems like a class show. I think it's a modern way of looking at music."

Reaction to the first show:


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