The Tube: Jools Holland praises career launcher and 'inventor of chaos'

  • Highlights from The Tube. Credit: Tyne Tees Television

It "invented a new style of television...which was chaos" and launched the career of one of the UK's most treasured TV presenters.

The Tube was the must-see TV music programme of the 1980s.

It threw Jools Holland and Paula Yates into the spotlight as presenters and even helped to launch Channel 4 during its first week of broadcast on November 5, 1982.

Transmitted live from Tyne Tees Television’s Studio 5 on City Road, in Newcastle, over the next five years, superstars of music including the likes of Elton John, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, U2, Culture Club, ZZ Top and The Jam were welcomed onto Tyneside to perform live to the nation.

Fast forward more than 40 years and a plaque in honour of the music show now marks the spot where the studio once stood.

Holland, still with connections in the city, was joined by several people to officially unveil the plaque on Thursday 30 November.

Jools Holland unveiled a plaque at the location of the former studios where The Tube was filmed. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

He told a crowd of invited guests: "Every single person working on it [The Tube], was completely committed to it. It's not like any television programme maybe I've ever seen since, in the spirit, and that was the spirit which I realised was the spirit of this place.

"And so I don't believe it could have been that incredible programme unless it had been made here in Newcastle."

He added that it was also due to its location that it "invented a new style of television...which was chaos".

The multi-award-winning show had a reputation for giving unsigned acts their first taste of stardom and launched the careers of bands such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Terrence Trent D’Arby, The Proclaimers and Fine Young Cannibals.

It also gave a platform to rising comedy acts such as French and Saunders, Vic Reeves, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson.

Following the ceremony on Thursday, an event was held at The Cluny 2 where local artists performed.

The plaque unveiling was organised by Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council, and former Mayor of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Karen Robinson.

Cllr Kemp said: “The Tube was a truly unique show that changed pop television forever.

“The 1980s was such an exciting and innovative time for the music industry and the programme was at the heart of that, bringing some of music’s biggest names to our doorstep.

“So many of us still have fond memories of the show so it’s fantastic Jools Holland is celebrating the great times it brought to our city.”

The Tube was created by Malcolm Gerrie and Andrea Wonfor and it was directed by Gavin Taylor and Geoff Wonfor.

The first episode was broadcast live on Channel 4 on November 5, 1982.

The show quickly became a must-watch for viewers and more than 100 episodes were aired across five series between 1982 and 1987.

Speaking beforehand, Malcolm Gerrie, said: “This is a real honour and a testament to the brilliant team who worked on the show, both in front and behind the cameras.

“They said we'd never get the big names to travel to Newcastle every week and perform in a regional TV station like Tyne Tees and we proved them wrong!"

He continued: “For us, and the record industry, between 1982 and 1987, The Tube was the centre of the universe and music on TV would never be the same again.

“Years later, The Tube proved it could still attract the biggest names in music when artists including Prince, Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney fired up Studio 5 again for the one-off Millennium Tube.

“Having our very own blue plaque on the site where dreams became reality is the best tribute the City could have ever given us. Thank you!”

A separate blue plaque is set to be installed at the Riverside to honour its role in Newcastle’s music scene.

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