Do you like good music? Watch Abbey Road Debuts


Here’s some exciting news for music fans. Abbey Road Debuts, a new show stepping into the barren land of British music television, starts tonight. Readers, I think our sadness over the death of Top of the Pops is about to be assuaged. And those reruns of TOTP from 1976 that were announced last week do not constitute a “return” of the programme.

It will be similar to TOTP in that it includes new music, an audience and a high profile presenter (Tom Ravenscroft, the diverse BBC6 music DJ and son of the late John Peel).

Also, it will be a place from which new artists are talked about and filter into the wider cultural consciousness.

However, it’s a music show very much for the 21st Century instead of the heady days of recording the top 40 countdown every Sunday night on cassette.

For a start, it’s filmed at Abbey Road, the world’s most famous recording studio, in front of an audience who feel like they’ve snuck into a recording session rather than a staged, mimed performance

. That’s right: the artists will actually be performing live.

OK, so there won’t be the excitement of Kurt Cobain’s mockery, Hoddle and Waddle or dogs on stage but as British music is exceptional at the moment cheap, glitzy distractions are no longer necessary.

Each episode will look at one up-and-coming artist who wouldn’t normally feature on a terrestrial TV channel. For people who don’t trawl through music blogs, digital radio or social networks, the only way to discover what’s new and worth seeking out is by watching Later with Jools Holland. The format of ARD offers more of an insight into how the music is made, by bands who are even more cutting edge.

I went to the final shoot last week for SBTRKT (pronounced subtract), a post-dubstep artist who is exploding on the digital and blogs scene at the moment. It was utterly mesmerising watching him play live electronic instruments and the drums, accompanied by Sampha’s gorgeous vocals. I have it on good authority that his album, released in June, will be a cracker.

Tune in tonight at 00.15 on Channel 4 for the first episode featuring the excellent Mount Kimbie. You won’t be disappointed.

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