Bring Back The One Hit Wonders, Channel 4

by | Jun 9, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Like the modern day equivalent of Sisyphus forever trying to push a boulder uphill only for it to come rolling back down, the One Hit Wonders are condemned to repeat their solitary number one at venues all over the world. But Justin Lee Collins did his best to bolster their egos.

What was good about it?

• Most of the one-hit wonders took JLC’s ambushes with good grace, and really didn’t seem to be thirsting for fame with the same unequivocal amorality as say, an ex-Hollyoaks actor.

• Renato of Rene & Renato was contented running his restaurant in a Midlands side street and seemed genuinely touched when JLC invited him to sing Save Your Love at a one-off concert in Clapham.

• Aneka, of Japanese Boy fame, admirably refused to even travel to London let alone sing at the concert.

• Dr And The Medics are still playing small venues up and down the country, bemoaning the success of Spirit in the Sky as it obliterated their original fanbase who viewed them as sell-outs. Meaning that when their brief dalliance with fame was over, they had nothing to fall back on and fell into greater obscurity than before their number one.

• JLC chasing, on foot, Carl Douglas in his car; setting up a road block in a wee Scottish village to ambush Aneka ( “I said we should have got Sabrina! I used to beat myself unmerciful to that video! We could be in Rome! Or wherever she lives!” he complained); and bellowing the word “Joe!” at every bloke over 50 he spotted in Cologne.

• JLC’S sliding scale of awfulness of some One Hit Wonders, especially his assertion that The Birdie Song by The Tweets “should be sent to prison and bummed for crimes against music!” met with our spontaneous applause.• The wonderful rejection by Aneka’s (whose fringe looked frighteningly like her wigs from the 80s) of JLC’s hyped-up request to go to London and perform at the gig, “Oh Justin, I don’t even want to go to London!”

• JLC asking a runner to get back 50p he’d given to a homeless man who’d pointed him in the direction of Brannigans.

• 300-year-old Carl Douglas still throwing Kung-Fu shapes at the Clapham Grand gig.

What was bad about it?

• These JLC crusades now have such a pre-ordained pattern about them; you get suspicious over what is real and what is fabricated for dramatic effect. For instance, as JLC hunted down Joe Dolce in Germany where he was due to appear on an 80s pop show (which in itself was a comfort that it’s not only this nation that succumbs to nauseating nostalgia), they “missed” him as the programme had been recorded the previous day. Normally, this would have been a plausible excuse, but previous experience of JLC has made us doubt this was such an innocent error. And he still found his target anyway: “After an hour freezing my spuds off, I finally spotted Joe Dolce.”

• JLC stoked up the illusory tension too much when the one-hit wonders were supposed to congregate for the concert. Joe Dolce unsurprisingly pulled out, but then JLC donned his best acting chops as he fretted over the arrivals of Carl Douglas, Dr And The Medics and Renato. And he even had the cheek to wet his pants over no crowd turning up as the place was empty “at 10.30pm”. But, lo and behold, come 11 and the place “was a near sell-out”.

• While most of the one-hit wonders were fairly sanguine about the one-hit wonder label, Joe Dolce (a cross between Timmy Mallett and Saruman from the Lord of the Rings) got all stuffy and pompous (“People who know music see the deeper layers in my songs”) Dolce demanded a fee and went on to haughtily say how his music had been compared to Handel in a recent academic thesis (but failed to mention if this thesis was written by a Mr J. Dolce), before proceeding to pretentiously perform Shaddap You Face in the shrill, keening voice of a choking cat. And then the final insult, as he demanded money up front for an interview about the only reason he is distinguishable from a million no-mark pub singers despite having just virtually disowned his only claim-to-fame.

• The tacky technique where one film camera films the other camera and JLC as they storm restaurants and TV studios just to show what an urban renegade he really is.

• Clive of Dr And The Medics’ belief that Spirit in the Sky was a cursed single because everyone who recorded it has quickly plummeted to anonymity – Norman Greenbaum, Dr And The Medics and Gareth Gates. Maybe his band’s lack of real talent was a contributory factor to their failure to reappear in the Top 30.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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