Saturday, 29 July 2017
747 The Chart Show
First viewed : 11 April 1986
Easter went by, the dissertation was finished, and it was clear that I had to go back to living in Leeds for the final term. On top of my imminent Finals, I had also made life harder for myself by becoming Communications Officer for the Student Union, a non-sabbatical post on the Executive. The Labour Club hadn't got a full slate of candidates together on the day nominations closed and I actually had a choice of two posts I could take unopposed. It was quite insane for a Final year student to take a position that ran from March to February in the next academic year but I couldn't resist the chance to get on the top table for however brief a term although I was now forming a plan to do an MA and then go for one of the five sabbatical posts ,thus postponing my encounter with the job market for another two years. In the event it did subsequently give me something to put in the "Previous Employment" section on application forms and use the President as a reference; whether or not these factors proved as useful as a First would have been, is a moot point.
The most immediate practical point was that being on the Executive meant that every tenth night, I had to be present and nominally in charge of the Union building until it shut around 11.30pm. There could be no sneaking off for that last train back to Littleborough.
I had not been able to get the legal assurance I needed to cancel the last cheque for Thomas St and I would not even consider going back there and so I went to the University Accommodation office and got a place in Lupton Flats ( sadly notable as the scene of the last Yorkshire Ripper murder in 1980 ) for the final term. It was of course ruinously expensive to rent two properties at once. It was a self-catering property but I never gave the kitchen a thought and used nearby takeaways or the Union to eat which didn't help my bank blance either. The facilities were shared with five other students;I had a nodding acquaintance with the guy next door who seemed a good bloke but never got to know the others at all. I don't suppose they minded one less person in the kitchen.
There was a TV room shared between the whole complex of flats but I used it sparingly, only going in for programmes that I knew would command a majority preference. Most egregiously this meant that I missed the first Wainwright series on BBC2 , the only one made while he was still a reasonably active man.
The Chart Show started on Channel 4 when The Tube went for its summer break. It was a cross between MTV and the early seventies programme Zocco with no presenter introducing the videos. Instead, information on the record was conveyed by a computer graphical overlay. For its main chart, the programme used the alternative Pepsi chart rather than the official Gallup version. As well as that , the show featured a dance chart, metal chart and indie chart on tri-weekly rotation. I was particularly keen on the latter as it enabled me to see and hear the "shambling" acts Record Mirror was covering at the time.
It quickly became one of my favourite shows and it was very frustrating when it was taken off air for a few weeks in the summer due to predictable opposition from the Musician's Union. It returned in August for a few weeks before giving way to what turned out to be the final season of The Tube. When it returned in April 1987 it became a permanent fixture.
At the beginning of 1989, it was promoted to ITV on Saturday mornings which meant I missed quite a few episodes through going to away fixtures. When we got a VCR machine at the end of that year , it became probably my most taped programme ( with the obvious advantage of being able to speed through the crap stuff ).
The show survived into my married life and I remember watching a few episodes in my new house but the increased take-up of satellite and cable TV was making it obsolete and it was axed in August 1998 in favour of Ant and Dec vehicle CD-UK. A brief revival on Channel 4 in 2003 passed me by.