Saturday 19 January 2019

Sounds Like Friday Night host Greg James: New shows need time to bed in

The new prime-time BBC live music show hits our screens 11 years after the end of Top Of The Pops.

Sounds Like Friday Night
Sounds Like Friday Night

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

DJ Greg James has said BBC bosses must be “bold” and have “trust” in its new prime-time live music show.

Hosted by James and Radio 1Xtra’s Dotty, Sounds Like Friday Night is being made by James Corden’s production company, best known for Carpool Karaoke.

The series makes its debut on BBC1 on Friday, in the first of a six-part run.

Radio 1 DJ James, 31, told the Press Association new shows need time to develop.

“These sort of shows need time to bed in and people need to get their heads around it,” James said.

“People don’t give anything enough of a chance. They go, ‘Well, did it rate? Did it get any viewers?’

“A show like this needs to be looked after by the BBC. They’ve invested a lot of time in it already and a lot of energy and money, so they need to stand by it and be confident and be bold and just trust it.”

He added: “You need to give things a bit of time to develop and find its own audience.”

James and Dotty share presenting duties with a different music star each week throughout the series.

US singer Jason Derulo is the first co-host, followed by Liam Payne and Demi Lovato. Performers announced so far include Liam Gallagher, Plan B and Jessie Ware, with a sketch featuring Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.

The co-hosts insist the show, a mix of topical entertainment, sketches and live performances, is not the new Top Of The Pops.

Liam Gallagher will be on an episode of Sounds Like Friday Night (BBC/Warner Music/Rankin)

The world’s longest running weekly music show was axed, after 42 years, in 2006, after its format was felt to have become dated in the wake of 24-hour music programming and digital downloads.

“I think Top Of The Pops is the easiest go-to comparison when you haven’t seen an episode yet…, Dotty said, “but if you put the live performances aside it’s a completely different offering”.

James said he hoped Sounds Like Friday Night will be a family show.

“I hate anything to do with: ‘This is a show for kids’ or ‘Here’s a show for your nan’… It’s always wound me up that people go: ‘It’s youth TV so you’ve got to wear denim or your hair’s not cool enough’,” he said.

“We want to do a show that’s not too scary for BBC1, but unlike anything that’s ever been on there before.”

Dotty, also known as A.Dot, said that she was worried how she will look on the series, to be broadcast live from BBC Television Centre.

“I just rock up in my PJs to my breakfast (radio) show so the hardest thing for me is going to be actually caring about my look, having to have a bit of hair and make-up,” she said.

“People ask me: ‘Do you get dressed in the dark?’ ‘Yes. I get up at 4am. Of course I get dressed in the dark!’ Looking presentable is going to be tough.”

The pair have had the seal of approval from chat show host Corden, now a huge success in the US, but for Dotty, there is one set of viewers she really wants to impress.

“I hope that the Siddiquis from Gogglebox like it. That’s the review that I’m waiting for,” she said.

Sounds Like Friday Night airs from Friday October 27, at 7.30pm on BBC1.

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