Come Back 'Popworld', TV Needs You

Pop music TV is in a bit of a state right now. The Voice promised a different take on the standard sob story-soaked talent show, but swiftly went straight back into its X Factor-based comfort zone. Other than that all we’ve got left are uncomfortable interviews with musicians.

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You know, the ones where the musician drivels on about what kind of lighting they’ve gone with on their tour and the interviewer sycophantically nods along like a well-trained Stormtrooper. It makes you yearn for the days of Popworld, the show that broke up this predictable monotony with host Simon Amstell's biting wit, precision-engineered to slice through the doggerel nonsense spouted by surly musicians.

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Popworld, first appearing on TV in 2001 and ending in 2007, took all the clichés, the PR-vetted questions and the rulebook of how to make it as a TV presenter, and mischievously threw it at the likes of the Sugababes. It knew that we didn’t want to watch any more unblemished, well-rehearsed Q&As. We wanted the whole spotty truth. Like a sharp-witted child who seizes his opportunity to ask in the middle of a supermarket where babies come from, Amstell asked the cringe-inducing questions no-one else would dare to.

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Highlights? Making ‘The Kookie Kooks’ PR team tremble after playing ‘Si-chatrist’ to Luke Pritchard and his not to be mentioned break-up with Katie Melua. Causing Pete Doherty to look even more stunned, on the set of a Babyshambles video, after asking the former Libertine if he understood that they were on a "fast paced popshow" (with Pete later whispering to the band, “Shall I hit him?”). Repeatedly reminding Mutya’s replacement, Amelle, from The Sugababes that she wasn’t Mutya.
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These were only a few instances of the kind of TV gold that we joyously awoke to on a Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the dream format has yet to be repeated; meaning that somewhere in the world an adolescent is yet to witness Amstell asking Britney Spears if she’d "gone a bit nuts". A world where Skrillex hasn’t been exposed to intense hair-related grillings.

Let’s bring back the show that made a mockery of the conventional interview, and assumed that we had some intelligence. We're living in the Jessie J era, where artists and presenters take themselves unbelievably seriously, and there's no-one around to puncture the pomposity. For all these reasons and more, the pop world needs Popworld.

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