The Chart Show
(also known as the ITV Chart Show
) is an hour-long music video
programme which ran in the UK
on Channel 4
between 1986 and 1988, then on ITV
between 1989 and 1998. The production company was Video Visuals
, and (when shown on ITV) was credited as "A Yorkshire Television
Presentation" from 1993-98 (prior to this, no ITV Franchisee's logo was shown at the end). The show has lived on through a Channel 4 revival in 2003 and the digital music channel Chart Show TV
, which currently airs the latest revival
of The Chart Show.
When it started, the show was unique in that it had no presenters; computer-generated displays took their place. The "pop-up" information snippets were represented as "windows" in a mock-up graphical user interface
called HUD. In 1987 this was replaced with the more familiar display which featured a "mouse-pointer" and "icons" generated on an Amiga
computer. Although commonplace nowadays, such interfaces were relatively cutting-edge at the time. The look of the icons was updated on the move to ITV in January 1989, and again upon the show's relaunch on December 7 1991
. However, this update only lasted one show and the previous 1989 icons returned the following week and lasted until May 1996
when the show's look and production was completely overhauled and was replaced with an animated text banner at the bottom of the screen.
Graphics mimicking those of a video recorder in operation were also used, and are one of the show's most well remembered features.
The show was very important when it was first launched, being one of the few outlets for music videos on British television, in the days before the widespread takeup of satellite and cable television, and channels such as MTV Europe. Many music videos got their UK Television premieres during The Chart Show.
Shortly after launching, The Chart Show found itself being taken off air during a dispute with the Musicians' Union over the showing of music videos on ITV & Channel 4 which lasted throughout the summer of 1986. During this time, a show called Rewind, made by the same production team, was aired. This consisted of performances from other music shows. The dispute was resolved by the end of the summer, and The Chart Show returned at the end of August.
On Channel 4, the show ran on Friday nights, mainly filling gaps between series of The Tube. After moving to ITV it ran on Saturday mornings and also had a late night repeat in some ITV regions, though the day and time of this varied over time and between regions. One such late night repeat on August 31 1997 was interrupted to report the breaking news of Diana, Princess of Wales' car accident. The show was so popular that it became a regular with five editions in July of 1987 going out as 60 minute long "Summer Specials". The last regular edition to air on Channel 4 was on September 30 1988. The final episode on Channel 4 was a Review of 1988 special on January 2, 1989; the first edition on ITV aired 5 days later. The show was renamed "The ITV Chart Show" that September after ITV launched its new corporate identity. The name reverted to The Chart Show in 1994.
Earlier Channel 4 editions were 45 minutes long, and later ones were 60 minutes, but were split into two 30 minute segments before moving to the 60 minute format in 1988. However, some later editions were shortened due to ITV buying rights to Formula 1 motor racing in 1997.
The last edition was shown on 22 August 1998, after being axed in favour of a live, performance based show, , which began the following week. The show featured various messages from viewers saying goodbye to the show and how upset they were that the show was finishing. There were also messages from artists, including Mel B and Suggs.
The first (and also the last) video to be shown was "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer. On the final show, this was broadcast with the original graphics, albeit taken from the 4th episode, rather than the first, as revealed by the date shown in the H.U.D.
In the show's later days, the programme was broadcast "live", with all the elements of the show programmed into a computer and laid back to tape, the song title graphics and info banners being added live as the show was broadcast. This fact was played up over the first few months of the show being made this way, with a "Live" graphic appearing at the beginning of each part, in addition to the interactive Battle of the Bands segment. Both of these were dropped after a minor revamp in 1997, although live phone-in competitions continued to appear occasionally until the end of the show's run.
A Different Chart
Confusion often arose from the chart used on the show, as they initially used the chart compiled by MRIB
(which was used at the time by commercial radio, and was adopted by NME
in 1988) and later on compiled their own chart, as opposed to using the "official
chart used by BBC Radio 1
, which in addition to the show's initial Friday and later Saturday airdate (therefore not taking account of the full week's sales) meant that the chart shown was different, sometimes slightly, other times more significantly, from that broadcast by Radio 1. Indeed, there were many occasions when the single shown to be Number One by The Chart Show differed from the official number one.
There were many cases throughout the show of songs featuring in the charts not having a music video to accompany them. In most cases, these were songs in the specialist charts, and the problem was got around by showing a photo of the artist over a short excerpt from the song. In the early days there were some very notable exceptions, the most notable being Ride On Time by Black Box. The music video wasn't completed for several months after the song was released. In its first week at number one on The Top Ten, a photo of the artists was shown over a short excerpt from the song. However, as the song was still number one the following week, a performance that was filmed for then Saturday morning show Ghost Train was shown, which had Catherine Quinol and an unknown organist performing on a stage. In the later years of the show they had many various computer generated sequences to accompany the audio clip. These included onscreen games of pong, close ups of turntables playing, cars being crushed, silhouettes of people dancing, lava lamps and many others.
Another notable example was Music Sounds Better With You by Stardust. This was number one on the August 15, 1998 show (though it only reached number 2 on the official singles charts) and, much like with Black Box, the music video wasn't completed until several months later. This time, a montage of past graphics from the show was put together, partially in response to viewer requests to see old graphics before the final episode. Though it would have been fitting for this to have been shown on the final episode the following week, the song had been knocked off the top spot, and only a short excerpt was shown.
In 1997, The Verve had refused to allow the Chart Show to show the video for their single Lucky Man. When the song was mentioned in the top ten and in the indie chart, a message was shown on the screen explaining that they refused to let the video appear on the show, unless the ITV Chart Show logo was changed. When the song stayed at Number 1, the message said: "Okay everybody... No change from last week. The band and their manager Jazz are still refusing to let us show their video unless we redesign the show for them. In the words of Vanilla... 'No way, no way, Ma Numma Nah.'" Accompanying this was the music that had been used to introduce the 'Worst Video' on the end of year specials.
One other example is Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins. The video for Tonight, Tonight was shown in its place, but with Zero playing.
The show had three sponsors over the span of its life. These were Pepe Jeans
during 1992, Twix
between 1993 and 1996 and Tizer
for a few months in 1997 (The latter also sponsored The Chart Show's replacement, , for several years). Notably the sponsorship was incorporated into the show's titles, which was unusual as most sponsorship messages on UK television are shown as short clips wrapped around, rather than part of, the show in question. This proved irritating to some viewers when Tizer became the new sponsor, as stings were played at random moments (i.e. towards the end of the shows titles) interrupting the show deliberately. These stings caused criticism and were soon dropped so the show could run clean.
Satellite channel The Vault
began repeating 1991-92 and 1996-97 episodes from December 2006 on Saturday mornings, similar to the shows original timeslot on ITV. The first edition that was broadcast was the 1992 special, and since then, there has been no specific order in which the episodes are played - one week may show a 1991 episode, and show a 1996 episode the following week. The Vault also aired repeats of the repeats on the following Thursday. Due to the sponsors of the show being included in the shows titles, The Vault had to re-edit the episodes and blur out the sponsors' logos, as they are no longer affliated with the show. The Video Visuals
logo was also cut from the episodes which is unusual, as Video Visuals is, in a way, is/part of CSC Media Group
, which owns and operates The Vault. The repeats also aired without the channel's "V" graphic in the corner of the screen, but on-screen competition graphics were aired and proved unpopular with viewers - such completition graphics still air to this day across the CSC Media Group
network. There were various times were an episode was aired with problems. A few episodes were cut off abruptly to unplanned commercial breaks and blank screens, and some airings were accidentally ones that had already been shown on The Vault's run of the show. One scheduled episode failed to air completely and was replaced with another programme, which led to a double bill being shown the following weekend.
The Vault has yet to air pre-1990 editions of the show or editions from 1993-1995. This is because the episodes are stored on unplayable formats, and the network does not have compatible machines equipped to play the episodes. The shows were allowed to be converted, but the conversions were apparently very expensive, and the chances of The Vault converting the episodes depended on the popularity of the repeats. Unfortunately, the popularity of the run began to drop as viewing figures were becoming lower. This led to the showings being axed in July 2007, and the incompatible editions of the show were ultimately not converted.
In March 2008, The Vault brought back repeats of the show by popular demand. Unlike the previous run, no trailers ran on the channel, and the news only broke on The Vault's website. However, only four episodes were broadcast - two reportidly from the last run of repeats and two new repeats that suffered technical problems, one of which consisted of the first part being repeated three times. The repeats were axed the following month, and it remains unknown what the reason behind the axing was.
On 19 May 2008, a post by a forum administrator on The Vault's website said "We're making a few changes to The Vault's schedule at the moment - rest assured the Chart Show repeats will be back, but we don't have a date set for them yet. We'll keep you informed on this website." This indicates that the previous run were put on hold rather than axed, and that the show will return at a later date. The admin later posted a message indicating that The Vault may look into converting unplayable episodes.
As of 13 September, 2008, there has been no news about the repeats since the announcement of the return. The forum's admin, "VickiVault" has since "left the company', leaving people clueless and without news on if the show will come back for a third time.
For two weeks in January 2003, The Chart Show returned to Channel 4 in 60 minute segments in the morning, although these followed a different format, with a voiceover and absent of the faux-VCR graphics that the show was well known for. A similarly formatted version also ran on Chart Show TV
during its first few months on air.
Chart Show TV
On August 6, 2008, a revival of The Chart Show aired on Chart Show TV. This version is somewhat closer to the original format than that of the short-lived 2002-2003 version.
The revival retains some of the original features of the show, including the faux-pas VCR graphics and the Video Vault, including the original 1996 ident. New features include an Airplay Chart, Urban Chart, Download Chart and Interactive Chart. An NME TV Video Chart features which consists of music video as voted by users of the NME TV website. The traditional specialist charts, Dance, Rock and Indie, are expected to appear under new identities, as the second episode featured a Flaunt Dance Chart. If this is correct, the Rock Chart would become the Scuzz Rock Chart. It's unknown what identity would carry with the Indie Chart as NME TV, which is based around indie music, has its own video chart. Artist interviews is now a regular feature, under the came "Chart Show Meets...". Neither The Chart News or Hot Shot feature in this run.
The show sports new titles and new, but fairly basic stings, but the graphics for song titles are that of Chart Show TVs, and The Chart Show, therefore, does not have its own song title graphics. Unlike the original series, there are no chart-transition graphics (such as the giant numbers from 1996-1998) and simply cut to the next video; neither is there a special Number 1 sting unlike the original series. Each specialist chart, such as the Flaunt Dance Chart, will share it's graphics with the appropriate channel, meaning the Dance Chart will feature Flaunt's channel graphics.
A forum admin for The Vault claimed that the show would air daily at 9am and 4pm from Wednesday the 6th. However, the day after the first episode, the show did not air. It did, however, repeat the original episode until Thursday at 12pm and 7pm. The second episode of the run finally aired on Thursday August 14, but does, however, broadcast at different times each day. Recently, it has been noted that the show does not follow a specific weekly broadcast; a new episode may air on Thursday, with next week's episode being broadcast on Friday.
The revival has followed an unnecessary trend from its original run involving the producers creating their own chart, and not airing the official chart information.
These were nearly released songs that were played at various points in the show, mainly at the beginning and before the 'Top Ten'. Various graphics were used to denote that the video was an "exclusive" showing throughout the series. Very occasionally a video was promoted as "World Exclusive". Usually, there was only one animation, with several colour schemes though between 1989-1991 there were 3 such animations (again, each with different colour schemes) and between 1996-1997 the word "Exclusive" appeared at the top of the screen, animating on in several different ways (although always in the same size & font- although, again, with different colours). The emphasis on videos being "exclusive" was kept throughout the entire run of the series.
A short lived feature introduced to the show upon its move to ITV in 1989. Each week, there was a different star sign and songs were shown by different artists who were born under that particular sign. This feature was dropped as part of a revamp in September 1989. Notably, the Star Chart still appeared on the "Next Week" caption shown at the end of every episode until the graphics were revamped in December 1991, despite the fact the feature hadn't appeared on the show for over 2 years by this point.
The Chart News
Introduced to the show in September 1989, one of the regular subdivisions of The Chart Show was 'The Chart News' where new single releases that had not yet reached the Top Ten in the singles chart would be played, including some that had not yet even been released. Originally the only categories were Chart Breaker (new entries to the top 40) and Highclimber, until September 1989 these were shown before the Top Ten. With the May 1996 relaunch, new categories were introduced- New Entry, Newsflash and Scoop. Video & Back Chat were also seen in the animations, but were very rarely used to introduce videos.
In 1996, a new feature, star interviews, were introduced during The Chart News section of the show. These consisted of interviews with various artists, talking against a backdrop of their past or current music videos. In keeping with the presenter-less format of the show, there was no interviewer seen during this section. The feature was revived for the 2008 series under the name Chart Show Meets...
Battle Of The Bands
For a while a section called 'Battle Of The Bands' was shown. It was supposed to be a competition to see which band the viewers thought was the best. At the end of the show, it revealed which band won (and played a recent song performed by that band). Usually there was some sort of theme between the two artists up for voting such as being rival bands or relating to a recent or upcoming chart battle. In 1996 and 1997 there was an F.A. Cup Final
battle of the bands, with the official songs of the teams being up for vote- Liverpool
won in 1996, Chelsea
won in 1997.
The Chart Show Competition
After a while, the Battle of The Bands was replaced by 'The Chart Show Competition' where the viewers had to answer a question associating with a pop star (in which a video by that pop star would be playing at the time) and they could prizes such as albums or clothing signed by various artists. What form these competitions took changed between shows- some weeks they would be a live phone-in with the winner announced at the end of the show, other weeks it would be a write-in competition.
A video of a song that was at least a few years old would be shown in the middle section of each episode of the show. This was nearly always a Top 10 hit, and the original title for this section of the programme was 'Vintage Video', signalling that virtually all of the featured videos were from the early days of music video production in the mid-to-late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s, predating the origins of The Chart Show. However, it was renamed 'Video Vault' with the December 1991 revamp. This segment was introduced in September 1989, prior to this other slots such as Star Chart
and Back To Back
were used to show older videos. Towards the end of the shows run, it was possible to email in to request songs to be played, and requests were sometimes shown on screen. The Video Vault was revived for the 2008 series, along with the 1996 ident.
This was a forthcoming release which was being tipped for success. Between 1996 and 1998, though it had appeared to have been renamed "Shot", the 'S' in shot was flashing used in Red Helvetica
Font, indicating that it was still called "Hot Shot".
Back to Back
In early years, another regular feature on the middle section of each programme involved the playing of three different hit singles by one musical artist in a row. This feature was known as 'Back to Back'. In some weeks, "showreel" would be shown instead- this followed virtually the same format, but was 3 videos by the same director(s).
End to End
In every episode of the original show, just one video was played in its entirety from beginning to end with no cut-off point towards the end. This feature was known as 'End to End'. Which song was rewarded with this preferential treatment was entirely at the programme makers' discretion and did not follow any clear pattern.
Back to Back was dropped upon the show's move to ITV. End to End survived the move, but very rarely appeared, it had been dropped entirely by the early-1990s.
On some shows, an early pre-release working version of a future video was shown at some point, usually in the 'Next Week' section. This feature was known as 'Rough Cut'. Rough Cuts were also occasionally seen on some of the end of year specials, during the previews for the following year.
NME TV Video Chart
Introduced in the 2008 revival, the NME TV
Video Chart is a top ten rundown of viewer-voted music videos voted on the NME TV website. It is the only chart that purposely bares no resemblance to any official chart.
The Four Charts & The Top Ten
Although there would be many charts in the 2002 'Chart Show TV', during the editions that were aired between the inception of the programme in 1986 and 1998 there were only five charts, one of which was an album chart, the other a singles chart; and three of which were charts of singles in specialised music genres, only one of the three of which was featured in the middle section of each episode, on an alternating basis. Until September 1989, the specialist chart was shown during the first part after the first song, afterwards it was shown after the first song in the second part of the show, in 1997 it moved back to its pre-September 1989 spot. During the editions that were shortened to make way for Formula 1 coverage, no specialist chart was shown.
From April-September 1986 there was a Reggae Chart which counted down the reggae singles in a specialist chart but this was dropped after September 1986.
Also in 1986 there was also a Music Video Chart which counted down the current music videos you could buy in the shops.
The 2008 revival introduced an Urban Chart, which rather than being included as a specialist chart, runs in its own section earlier on in the show.
This chart showed the top 10 indie singles of the week. Though the ident for this chart varied over the years, the background music that was played was generally 'Indie'. With the earlier formats of the show, it was referred to as 'Indie Singles'. The Indie Chart does not appear in the 2008 revival, and seems to be replaced by the NME TV Video Chart, even thought the feature sports no resemblance at all to the official Indie chart.
This chart showed the top 10 dance singles of the week. Though the ident for this chart varied over the years, the background music that was played was generally 'Dance'. This was the specialist chart to be shown on the last ever episode of 'The Chart Show' as well as on the first ITV edition in 1989. Unlike any of the other charts, not all music in this chart was Dance. In the shows later years, the chart featured hip hop and R'n'B songs, and occasionally general pop. The chart was revived in 2008 as the Flaunt Dance Chart
This chart showed the top 10 rock singles of the week. Though the ident for this chart varied over the years, the background music that was played was generally 'Rock'. This chart was originally called the 'Heavy Metal' chart before the show was moved to ITV. The chart was revived in 2008 as the Scuzz Rock Chart
The "Network Albums" chart showed the top 10 albums of the week and existed as part of the main rotation of specialist charts during The Chart Show's period on Channel 4 - the last edition was shown in December 1987. When it did appear there were videos from artists or groups selected from the top ten that week. From January 1988 the "Network Albums" (then "Album Chart") existed only in the Chart File Update section including when the programme moved to ITV, until the Chart File Update section ended in August 1989.
This was the overall singles chart that was shown near the end of every episode following the second commercial break. Initially known as "The Network Chart", being the name used for the MRIB Chart the show used, that name was dropped when the show began compiling their own chart. It began with a note saying (ironically) 'The fastest chart on television', referring to the fact that the chart was up to date at the time of broadcast, being compiled either the previous day, or the same day as opposed to Top of The Pops
whose chart was several days old by the time it was broadcast. For a brief period in 1987, the ident was accompanied with a message displaying how long it was since the chart was updated. All new entries, the Number One single, and any climbers that had not been played in the previous week tended to be played in full, while brief clips only were shown of the remaining songs. This was essentially the same system used for the specialist chart run-downs in the middle section of the show.
In each chart that was shown in an episode, there would be a few songs in that chart which would be played at a longer length. Songs under this category would be: new entries, some of the climbers and the number one singles of the chart, non-movers were also occasionally played. There were three ways in which they were presented:
Until August 1989, all the top ten songs in the charts would be shown briefly. After reaching the No.1 single, (except for The Top Ten chart, which would stop at No.2) the chart would be stopped (the graphic 'STOP' would appear) and rewound ('REWIND') to the first song that was to be played in full ('PLAY'). When that song was finished, the chart was fast-forwarded (and sometimes rewound) to the next song to be played in full.
From September 1989 - October 1997, the songs in the chart would be shown briefly. When it reached the first song that was to be played in full the 'PLAY' graphic would appear immediately. Although the 'F FWD' graphic was still used, it was only to fast forward after the pop up boxes explaining some facts about the song had disappeared, before moving onto the next song.
In the first two editions in September 1989, when the 'F-FWD' graphic appeared, the song would be fast forwarded then slowed down to another clip in the song, before moving onto the next song. However, later that month this would be dropped in favour of fast forwarding, followed immediately by the next song.
From November 1997 - August 1998, the 'PLAY' graphic was dropped and every song was fast forwarded whether played in short or full.
In the 2008 revival, every video played throughout the show would 'PLAY' and later 'F-FWD', including Exclusives and the Video Vault.
The No. 1 single of the specialist charts would not always be played for a one of these reasons:
- The single had no video
- The content in it was inappropriate
- The single was also No. 1 of The Top Ten
Chart File Update
Whilst one of the specialist charts would be featured prominently, the top ten singles of the other charts would be shown briefly in this section of the show. This section was shown throughout the shows run on Channel 4 and for the first few months on ITV. It was last shown on the August 26, 1989 edition.
At the very end of the show, after the Number One single of the week was played, was a section called 'Next Week', featuring brief previews of songs which were coming up in the next week's show, often with one of them being played almost in its entirety with the closing credits. From 1996, the ident would be presented in the same manner as one of the subsections of 'The Chart News' though was never treated as part of 'The Chart News'.
Chart Show Awards
Each year (with the exception of 1994) The Chart Show would have an end-of-year edition that would feature the best selling songs of the year both in the overall singles chart and in the three specialist charts. Also in this edition The Chart Show would also award the Best and Worst videos of the year, along with best new acts.
These are some of the winners:
Best New Act
Best Solo Artist
Best Video Of The Year
Best Foreign Video
- 1997 - Texas - Say What You Want
Worst Video of The Year
Funniest Video of the Year
Heavy Metal/Rock Chart
The Top Ten