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The Roxy is a British music television programme broadcast on the ITV network from June 1987 to April 1988. It was produced by Tyne Tees Television, shortly after its more successful Channel 4 music show, The Tube, was decommissioned.
The show was initially presented by David Jensen and Kevin Sharkey, and its first edition on Tuesday 9 June 1987 began with Erasure performing “Victim of Love”. Subtitled as The Network Chart Show, The Roxy was based on the weekly chart compiled for Independent Local Radio and broadcast on Sunday afternoons across ILR stations.
Whereas The Tube featured rock and punk bands and emerging musicians, The Roxy concentrated on the mainstream UK singles chart – and although The Tube won a loyal fanbase and respect from artists, mainstream acts were reluctant to travel to Tyne Tees’ Newcastle studios for a three-minute performance when they could appear on the long-established BBC counterpart, Top of the Pops, produced from London.
The programme also suffered from not having a fixed network timeslot and for a short time, an industrial dispute which affected live studio performances. After just ten months on air, The Roxy aired its final edition on Tuesday 5 April 1988. By this point, some regional stations aired the programme around midnight like TVS and Thames while Anglia, Grampian, Scottish, Yorkshire and UTV opted out entirely.
The demise of The Roxy also signalled the end of major live music TV production at Tyne Tees, which asides The Tube, had also spanned series such as Alright Now, Razzmatazz and Check it Out. The company also produced coverage of Queen’s concerts at Wembley and the Milton Keynes Bowl and co-produced U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky.
From Club Sandwich N°47/48, Spring 1988:
After the sterling efforts of Mike Ross and Geoff Dunbar [on the official promo video for “Once Upon A Long Ago”], it seemed odd that Tyne Tees TV’s Roxy programme should want to film another video for ‘Once Upon A Long Ago’. However, Gavin Taylor directed Paul and band at Tyne Tees’ Newcastle studios on 17th November and the results make for an interesting comparison with Mike and Geoff’s efforts.
There’s also an echo of Paul’s ‘No More Lonely Nights’ video in the gloomy caretaker, sweeping up when the theatre has closed. And could the legend Christmas Spectacular 1979 posted outside refer to the final tour of a certain Winged group?
Anyway, Paul and co.’s Christmas 1987 Spectacular opens with Linda at the upright piano and Paul in long coat with flecked black scarf. Warming up, Paul throws the coat to an audience of curious children, who grin back. Now in black jumper, racy black-and-white shirt and grey bags, he seems about to be overrun as the children pour on stage.
They raid the props basket, one boy donning a topper as our gloomy friend drinks tea, oblivious. A girl runs a stick along railings to the line “Counting the bars of an iron cage”. Children surround Linda at the piano and a judge appears to illustrate the reference to the House of Lords. (An idea already tried: see That Long Ago Video.) Still surrounded, Linda dons a bowler hat.
Then all goes briefly black-and-white at the start of the acapella section. The children join Paul in a spot of arm-waving, football crowd style. One lucky boy gets to touch Paul’s guitar strings after his first solo, whereupon the maestro mugs in best Al Jolson manner during Nigel Kennedy’s violin spot.
When the final guitar flourish has died away, the caretaker emerges to find the judge’s wig, a Paddington Bear (or close relation) and other signs of recent merriment. Looking at the idyllic backdrop of green, rolling hills, the poor old chap can only scratch his head. The viewer, in on the secret, can afford a contented sigh.
Tyne Tees Newcastle Studios
This was the 1st and only concert played at Tyne Tees Newcastle Studios.
Setlist for the concert