Jools gets into groove for 30th anniversary

Musician Jools Holland chalks up a landmark for his hit TV show tonight
Jools gets into groove for 30th anniversary

Jools Holland celebrates 30 years of his iconic music show tonight on BBC2

ON October 8, 1992, BBC2 brought us the first edition of a new music show, Later With Jools Holland.

Fronted by the pianist and ex-Squeeze member, who had made a first foray into presenting on Channel 4’s influential The Tube, it featured performances by the Neville Brothers, the Christians, Nu Colours and D’Influence.

Originally conceived as a spin-off from arts show The Late Show (which explain the name), the idea was to get a diverse group of musicians, from living legends to up-and-coming artists, in a room and let them play live.

It was a simple format, but it proved to be very enduring as it’s now been on air for 30 years.

That’s no mean feat when so many other music shows, from the much-loved, one-time schedule mainstay Top of the Pops to the more recent, short-lived Sounds Like Friday Night, have fallen by the wayside in the years since.

The anniversary will be marked with a special programme, Jools’ 30th Birthday Bash, on BBC2 today at 9pm. Joining the host to celebrate are Robert Plant, First Aid Kit, Michael Kiwanuka, Richard Hawley, Seasick Steve, Benjamin Clementine, Martin and Eliza Carthy, Gogol Bordello, Poppy Ajudha, Imelda May, The Joy and Celeste, who take to the stage.

Jools is definitely in the mood for a party. He says: “It’s unbelievable that this year sees my show reach its 30th birthday.

“It’s a testament to the great power of music that we are still going strong, and are now the longest-running international music show on earth.

“I’m delighted and honoured that we’re going to celebrate this monumental milestone with a special one-off event in the fabulous Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, the scene of so many legendary musical moments.”

In keeping with the Later spirit, the 30th bash features an eclectic mix of artists who have at least one thing in common - they’ve all appeared on the show over the years.

They’ll all be taking to the stage for special live performances, and of course Jools himself will be there to take charge.

He’ll be conducting a few interviews but perhaps he can also be prevailed upon to join his guests on the piano.

There have been a few changes to the format over the years. In 2008, the show introduced Later Live, a 30-minute edition broadcast live, while in 2019, it was decided that Jools needed a weekly guest host, and the following year, the pandemic forced a bigger change on the show.

Unable to gather musicians in a studio, let alone have a live audience, Jools instead began introducing guests by video link and inviting them to pick their favourite moments from the show’s impressive archives.

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