Popworld, Channel 4

by | Apr 22, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

We’re disappointed. While we appreciate it’s a good idea to reinvent a show once the main presenters have left, it’s still a little sad the best pop show on TV has become just an ‘alright’ pop show.

What was good about it?

• New presenters Alex Zane and Alexa Chung are very good looking and both look stylish dressed in indie chic.

• Footage of the video shoot for The Futureheads’ Skip To The End featured the usual sarcastic narration. They claimed that The Futureheads’ video shoots were constantly hindered by animal rights protesters “ever since the release of their pro-hunting anthem Hounds Of Love” and got annoyed with the band for talking about thermal underwear and tin foil instead of the video. They also made observations such as “the director licking himself”.

• Skip To The End is a great song, and we love the video itself, featuring spirals, ghosts and long-armed brides.

• The Big Ones with Anthony and Flea from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Flea claimed his ‘health routine’ involves hitting his head with a cactus and getting into a bathtub with a bowling ball, three sticks of dynamite and three pounds of cream cheese, while Anthony talked of trimming his back hair to look like angel wings.

• Newcomer Alexa shows promise as a presenter. She did very well with the RHCP interview – especially when she showed a tattoo of an anchor on her shoulder before drawing a matching one with marker pen on Anthony’s arm. We like her plummy voice, as well.

• Alex interviewing Dirty Pretty Things while trying on some weird outfits. He eventually settled for orange corduroy trousers and a pink and yellow ski jacket.

• We really like Dirty Pretty Things’ new single Bang Bang You’re Dead. It’s certainly much better than anything Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles have come up with.

• The New Releases reviewed by David Tennant in a Superman T-Shirt, Hayley from Beauty & The Geek and the red man from the pelican crossing.

• The Tetris-style shiny silver block set is much better than the previous one.

• One element that definitely is better than the previous incarnation of Popworld is the live performaces are actually now live performances. We just had the bands playing their songs on a stage with none of the superfluous post-production gloss that was added before.

• Alexa introducing Snow Patrol. “After extensive research over a matter of years we can conclusively say this is a band of five members, they are consistently releasing songs and have never appeared on an episode of Hollyoaks”. They closed the show with their new single You’re All I Have, which is growing on us.

What was bad about it?

• The best parts of this revamped show were the elements kept from the old show.

• Comparisons with the previous presenters Simon Amstell and Miquita Oliver were inevitable, especially as Alex and Alexa appear to be imitating their style and not doing it as well. Their attempts at pretending to talk over each other and announcing the wrong band names looked staged and artificial rather than spontaneous.

• A lot has been made of the similarity between Alex and Alexa. They share similar names and have similar body language, but one thing they don’t have is chemistry. Simon and Miquita had very different personalities but great chemistry. They were also much more lively. For the most part Alex and Alexa were incredibly bland.

• Lady Sovereign really must be desperate at a last shot of fame. Cashing in on The Ordinary Boys recent success (or more accurately, Preston’s raised profile from going on Celebrity Big Brother), she’s had them sing over her best song 9 To 5, reducing her involvement in it to that of a backing singer. At the risk of sounding like a struck record, we reckon Simon and Miquita would have commented on this.

• They didn’t mention that Alexa Chung has appeared in quite a few pop videos herself, such as The Streets’ Could Well Be In and Holly Valance’s Down Boy.

• Orson’s tedious video for their even more tedious song Bright Idea. They just perform in an abandoned house while a model comes along and waves a blue torch around.

• The Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s terrible attempts at doing English accents.

• The dreary interview with Tom Jones (he has a dance record out soon apparently). It seemed to go on for ages and revealed nothing of interest, apart from that there is a Church Of Tom Jones somewhere in the USA.

• The rubbish new title sequence. A paint splat/potato print/bathroom tile effect that looks more suited to a children’s art programme like SMArt than a pop music show.

• The sharp quick-fire editing style has gone, and now the show looks almost like it is ‘recorded as live’. As a result the pace is much slower which may account for how much duller it seems now.

• Shayne Ward. Against some fairly stiff competition he was the most boring part of the whole show. Unsurprisingly his was the only pre-recorded performance, and his song sounded like a Lemar cast-off.

• What set Popworld out from the crowd was how different it was from most TV pop shows. Now it’s just like every other Channel 4 music show. While it’s not terrible, going from excellent to average is still a comedown.

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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