ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Cameras! Lights! Action!

Theres a new TV pop series starting in the autumn. Its called Rebellious Jukebox and it combines “comedy, fun and live entertainment” and a lot of rather well-known people. Ian Cranna saw the first two days filming. Andrew Catlin took the snaps.

Youve heard of Miles Copeland, wheeler-dealer brother of Stewart Copeland and manager of The Police. Well, these days he can afford to make TV shows and thats why were down here in the classy plate glass and tubular steel Limehouse Studios in Londons dockland.

His TV pop series, Rebellious Jukebox, Is set in an “anything goes” club with a cast of regulars like Meat Loaf (the owner), Jools Holland (the manager), Marl Wilson (hat-check girl) etc, who do the linking comedy sketches, plus of course loads of bands. The directors are infamous video makers Godley & Creme.

Its all semi-organised chaos, with cameramen running about under a battery of lights, highly-dressed extras posing and bossy floor managers shouting things like “Absolute quiet, gang!”

The linking sketches are particularly chaotic, especially those involving the bands, and since the heavily Americanized script is commonly agreed to be terrible, everyones ad-libbing madly.

Reactions to being involved vary among the bands. General Publics Dave Wakeling is hiding by the make-up room ready to develop laryngitis at a moments notice, Frankie arent sure whats going on and call for a conference, but UB40 throw themselves in with gusto, creating problems for the censors with dubious jokes.

Feargal Sharkey, whos simply been told to turn up by his manager, finds himself involved in an exploding hippy sketch. “I was given the pleasure and distinction of being seated at a table with a rather large female American presenter and somebody chucked a blood-covered plastic arm into my lap.”

How does Jools find this show compared with The Tube?

“Here Ive been particularly successful because, in acting, one doesnt look at the camera. All Im saying is his—and you can print this—Gielgud, Richardson, Elephant Man—look out!” And with that he saunters off to claim a glass of vino—“better than a poke up the bottom with a sharp stick”.

Finally its up to Godley and Creme to knit it all together. As Miles Copeland explains, “Godley and Creme are the only directors who came out of the rock ‘n roll world. And the whole idea is that the show is made by rock ‘n roll people. And if the people in the show love it, youve done the impossible.”

  1. General Public arrive. Dave: “Rogers a swine. He wont stop growing. Ill have to have a box to stand on soon.”
  2. Spandau sign in at the reception desk; they later play “Only When You Leave” and “Highly Strung”…
  3. …then do a bit more signing.
  4. Meat Loaf on “the bar set” (note video jukebox behind): “Ive been acting for a long time. I did Roderigo in Othello in 1973, I did Amiens in As You Like It in 1974, The Rocky Horror Show and Ive done six movies.”
  5. UB40 (with Lol Creme centre} doing the dressing-room sketch involving someone playing drummer Jimmy Browns mother (and rather a lot of rude words that have to be cut out).
  6. Ultravoxs Chris Cross goes virtually unrecognised all day as he helps out unknown band Raise The Dragon (theyre signed to the Miles Copeland Empire of course).
  7. Robert from the new Hot Gossip does his Michael Jackson lookalike routine.
  8. Jools in the “club entrance set” after trying (unsuccessfully) to sell Frankie Goes To Hollywood his Jaguar car.
  9. Comic Strip veterans The Oblivion Boys doing the “exploding hippy sketch”. One of them actually gets taken to hospital for cuts afterwards.
  10. Hide yourself! Holly, complete with his new quiff, sets about shooting people with a hairdrier.
  11. Frankie performing “War” for the cameras.
  12. Paul Rutherford, Holly, Mark OToole and Pedro waiting to see if their take of “War” gets the technical thumbs-aloft.
  13. Frankie re-doing “War”, once more with feeling.
  14. Somebody in this photo—not saying who—was up ‘til 4 a.m. in a Munich disco last night and thus feels “a bit knackered”.