Later… With Jools Holland first broadcast as an extension of The Late Show, with an hour dedicated to established and emerging musical talent. Used as a filler in the late night TV schedule, not even Jools himself expected it to enjoy the longevity it has today. So how exactly did Later… go on to become cultural viewing whilst also surviving the axe of The Late Show in 1995?
Piled into a small BBC studio in 1992, The Neville Brothers, D-Influence, Nu Colours and The Christians performed a selection of tracks to an unsuspecting audience, kick-starting what would become Britain's longest-running music show –racking up 34 years so far. From The Killers to Nile Rodgers and Chic and Oasis, Later… has hosted some of the most legendary names in music both before and during the height of their success.
Bon Iver’s performance of ‘Skinny Love’ has amassed over 4.6 million views on YouTube. His compelling, raw and delicate performance is one of the most iconic musical segments to grace British television. Amy Winehouse performing her now modern classic ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ on the show has over 2 million views, whilst artists such as Neneh Cherry have gone on to appear on our screens several times due to their popularity.
Unlike Top Of The Pops which was cancelled in 2006 due to the rise of streaming services and its slight irrelevance, Later… With Jools Holland sees all guests performing live, no lip syncing, no retakes and, most enjoyably, no over-reactive teenage screaming. Real music rather than just contrived singles screaming out for radio play.
The show itself is comfortable in its abilities. No showing off, grandiose over the top hosting or nonsense guests, just music that does the talking. Some may even consider it cozy due to its plain and somewhat cramped format on the surface. However its grown-up approach to musical television has birthed some of the biggest names in music.
Adele performed Daydreamer with just an acoustic guitar – miles away from the icon she’s now become. KT Tunstall also had her breakthrough on the show in 2004 with her performance of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. She then went on to create chart topping tracks like Suddenly I See. Grime titan Stormzy also performed back in 2014 and later went on to headline Glastonbury. Artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Sam Fender and Wolf Alice have all had their crack at the Later… whip too.
Many these days believe Later… to be a cheesy and dull music show and although one can admit someone more current might work better as a presenter, no one can deny Jools’ commitment to the music industry. For those of us who are musically inclined in one way or another Later… With Jools Holland remains the only source of musical exploration on freeview television.