Kirsty At The BBC (Part 2)

Hello everybody, here’s the second part of my ‘Kirsty at the BBC’ piece.

As mentioned in part 1, Kirsty first appeared on ‘French and Saunders’ in 1988. It wasn’t until the third 1990 series that the duo asked Kirsty to appear in every episode. In the ‘Life And Songs Of Kirsty MacColl’ documentary, Jennifer Saunders said, “In those days, you had to have a song in your show. It also meant we didn’t have to write so much! You could mess around with her because she was so up for it.”
The first episode of the series was broadcast on 15th March. Kirsty performed the ‘Kite’ classic, ‘Fifteen Minutes’. On 22nd March, she sang a cover of ‘Somethin’ Stupid’ with Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron. Kirsty sang ‘And I Ride’ a re-working of ‘Am I Right?’ on 29th March. Kirsty appeared in the Ralph McTell guitar sketch on the 4th episode. She performed ‘Don’t Come the Cowboy with Me, Sonny Jim!’ on 5th April. She then sang ‘Still Life’ on the series’ last episode on 12th April.

In 1994, Kirsty spoke about her experience on ‘French and Saunders’ for a Q&A by James Bennett. “I was really surprised because they invited me to go and do a number each week in that series. That was before I’d overcome my nerves about performing and I think I was just terribly, terribly nervous about it instead of enjoying it so much as I could have done. I was very nervous. But it was a great opportunity.”

On 23rd March, Kirsty made her second appearance on the Radio 1 show, ‘Singled Out’. She reviewed the week’s single releases. Mike Read was the presenter this time.

Andy Kershaw spoke to musicians, including Kirsty and Billy Bragg on the Radio 1 show, ‘The Politics of Pop’. The transmission date was on 9th May.

She later appeared in the BBC2 show ‘New West Special’, performing ‘Don’t Come the Cowboy with Me, Sonny Jim!’ live. 14th December was the transmission date.

Her next BBC appearance was on ‘Wogan’. Kirsty performed ‘Walking Down Madison’. Joanna Lumley presented the show on 3rd June 1991.

The next day, ‘Byline – Don’t Go Near the Water’, a documentary she presented about water pollution was shown. It was directed by Chris Hunt and produced by Peter Symes.

Two days later, Kirsty made her last ‘Top of the Pops’ studio appearance as a solo artist to perform ‘Walking Down Madison’.

Kirsty did a Radio 1 session for Nicky Campbell on 26th June. She performed ‘Chip Shop’ and ‘Walk Right Back’ solo before Billy Bragg joined her to sing ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’ and ‘A New England’.

According to Terry Hurley, she did 3 shows for Greater London Radio from 27th-29th August. Unfortunately, there’s no record of content.

‘Fairytale Of New York’ was re-released in December that year. Shane and Kirsty performed the song live on ‘Top of the Pops’. The programme was recorded on 1st January 1992 but shown the following evening.

On 16th January, The Wonder Stuff performed ‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ live with Kirsty. It was her final ‘Top Of The Pops’ studio appearance.

On 21st June, Tracy McLeod interviewed Kirsty for Greater London Radio to discuss her favourite songwriters. A transcription of the interview is featured in ‘Sun on the Water’.

Kirsty did her Pyramid Stage Glastonbury set on 26th June. Radio 2 transmitted the performance 2 days later.

Three months later, she performed ‘Soho Square’ and ‘Angel’ on ‘Later with Jools Holland’.

 

On ‘Kaleidoscope: Read My Song’, Pauline Black spoke to lyricists including Kirsty and Matt Johnson about their lyric writing. Radio 4 broadcasted the programme on 20th March 1993.

A year later, Kirsty performed ‘My Affair’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Can’t Stop Killing You’ live on Simon Mayo’s Radio 1 show.

From 3rd – 24th April 1994, Kirsty presented a 4-part weekly Radio 1 series called ‘Sign of the Times’. Each episode was an hour tracing the voices of protest in popular music. Kevin Howlett produced the series. Radio 1 repeated it in 1996.

On ‘Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 1994/1995’, she performed ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ with the Pipes and Drums of the Irish Guards. Kirsty also sang ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ with Jools, Ruby Turner, Shane MacGowan, Eddi Reader and Steve Winwood.

On 20th February 1995, Kirsty did a Radio 1 live session for Kevin Greening. She performed acoustic versions of ‘A New England’, ‘Caroline’, ‘Free World’ and ‘He’s on the Beach’.
On 5th August, Johnnie Walker broadcasted her Fleadh performance that year.

On 29th November 1997, Kirsty co-hosted a programme with late radio DJ, Charlie Gillett on Greater London Radio.

Hux Records released the live compilation, ‘What Do Pretty Girls Do?’ in 1998. It featured the 4 Radio 1 sessions Kirsty did between 1989 and 1995. Stuart Bailey wrote the liner notes and Kirsty provided an introduction in the booklet.

In January 1999, Gerry Lyseight interviewed her for his Greater London Radio show, ‘Planet Mambo’. Fans in the London area got to hear early versions of some songs that would be included on ‘Tropical Brainstorm’.
Kirsty appeared in Greater London Radio on 12th October 1999. Sean Hughes was the host.
Pauline McLynn also interviewed her during this time. You can listen to the audio clips below.

In November 1999, during the week, ‘Mambo De La Luna’ was released, she appeared on Lynn Parsons’ Radio 2 show for an interview. On 27th November, Kirsty was on ‘The Saturday Music Show’ hosted by Billy Bragg on Radio 2.

Three days later, she sang ‘Harvest for the World’ at The Union Chapel in London for the Radio 2 show, ‘A Gospel Celebration’.

On 11th March 2000, Kirsty appeared on Janice Long’s Saturday Music Show. A month later, she performed with her band on the 100th episode of ‘Later with Jools Holland’. Kirsty sang ‘In These Shoes?’ before Jools interviewed her by the piano. She performed ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ afterwards.

 

‘A Question of Pop’ was the musical equivalent of ‘A Question of Sport’. Jamie Theakston was the host and Noddy Holder and Suggs were the team captains. Kirsty was in Noddy’s team, along with Lindsay Armaou from B*Witched. Kelle Bryan from Eternal and Roger Taylor were in Suggs’ team. 31st March 2000 was the recording date. However, May 6th was the transmitted date.

On 29th May 2000, BBC TV and Radio joined forces for a 5-day marathon culminating in 24 hours of non-stop music.  As part of this, Kirsty and ‘All You Can Eat’ performed ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ at 1am on BBC2. Phill Jupitus introduced the performance. She also performed the song along with ‘Celestine’ at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Kirsty performed acoustic versions of ‘Nao Esperando’, ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ and ‘My Affair’ live on HMS Belfast in the River Thames. Pete Glenister and James Knight accompanied her. The Radio 2 show ‘Johnnie Walker’s Drive-Time’ broadcasted the performance.

Kirsty had a brief appearance on the BBC Choice programme, ‘Hotlinks’. It was filmed at Fleadh festival where she was asked what essential item was required to survive the festivals. “Toilet paper!” Kirsty replied. 12th July 2000 was the transmission date.

Kirsty made an appearance on the BBC2 show ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’. Mark Lamarr hosted the programme. The team captains were Phill Jupitus and Sean Hughes. Kirsty and Joe Washbourn were in Sean’s team. In Phill’s team were Bob Mortimer and Jamelia.

Janice Long interviewed Kirsty for her Radio 2 show on 24th October 2000. During this time, Kirsty also contributed to the Radio 2 series, ‘Rebel Yell’. Tom Robinson presented the show, where he examined protest songs and music with a political edge.

Kirsty spoke to Jools Holland about her favourite records on his Radio 2 show. 13th November 2000 was the broadcast date. In the same month, Kirsty recorded a Radio 2 series for Cuba and its music. The series was originally due to be transmitted on 20th December but following her tragic death on 18th, it was postponed to January as a mark of respect. If any of you haven’t listened to the series, I highly recommend it.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my pieces and watching the BBC videos. I will see you in another post.

Ruby

 

Kirsty At The BBC (Part 1)

Hello everyone, I hope your week has been off to a very good start. As most of you know, 2022 is the centenary year of the BBC. To mark the occasion, I will be looking at Kirsty’s time there in this first part of my 2-part piece. 

Kirsty made her first BBC appearance on a TV show called ‘The Problem with Gifted Children’, along with her mother, Jean in 1966. In the programme, Jean articulated that her reading and arithmetic skills were very advanced for her age. Despite this, Kirsty hardly had any schooling due to her chronic asthma. “What about your other school, I’m told you didn’t like that very much?” The presenter asked Kirsty. A shy and softly spoken Kirsty replied, “No”. “Why not?” asked the presenter. “They were rather strict and just horrible.” she answered. The footage appears in ‘The Life and Songs of Kirsty MacColl’ and the ‘Who Killed Kirsty MacColl?’ documentaries, although the latter shows slightly longer footage. 

Although it’s not an appearance, it does warrant a mention here. According to ‘Sun on the Water’, Kirsty told Jean she had a surprise for her and tuned in to ‘Night Ride’, a Radio 1 show. The presenter read a letter which began “I am Kirsty MacColl and I live at….giving out her full home address, and continuing, “I have a dog and a cat and I live with my Mum, Jean MacColl, and my brother Hamish and I listen to your programme regularly and would like you to play something for my Mother”. In hindsight, Jean couldn’t remember what song it was nor whether Kirsty picked it or not. This happened on New Year’s Eve when Kirsty was 8 years old. 

Over a decade later, Kirsty made one of her first appearances as a performer including ‘Top Of The Pops’. She first appeared there on 8th May 1980 wearing a yellow dress, backing Jona Lewie on ‘You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties’. 

 

She made her first appearance on the show as a solo artist on 25th June 1981, performing ‘Chip Shop’. Two weeks later, she made her second appearance for their 900th episode. 

 

In that same year, Kirsty performed ‘The Clock Goes Round’ and ‘Chip Shop’ on ‘Six Fifty-Five Special’.  The late Scottish presenter, Donny MacLeod also interviewed her.

 

On 23rd October, she performed ‘I Don’t Wanna Play House’, ‘You Can Have My Husband’ and ‘Queen Of The High Teas’ on the BBC2 show, ‘Something Else’. Her full performance of ‘I Don’t Wanna Play House’ is on YouTube. In ‘The Story Of Fairytale Of New York’ documentary, an extract of ‘You Can Have My Husband’ is featured.

 

Kirsty was invited back on ‘Top Of The Pops’ to perform ‘Chip Shop’ on Christmas Day. This was unusual as it wasn’t a Number 1, a seasonal song nor a Top Ten hit. In the Karen O’ Brien biography, ‘The One And Only’, Phil Rambow explained that the way their Christmas shows worked was that the DJs simply picked their favourite songs of that year. 

‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Trivia Quiz’ was a 30-minute Radio 1 show which featured 2 teams. Kirsty made 3 appearances on the programme. The first was on 13th November 1983, with David Jensen as the quiz master. In her team was Junior and Pete Shelley from The Buzzcocks, playing against Pauline Black, Lesley Beech from Amazulu and Frank Maudsley for A Flock Of Seagulls. Her second appearance was on 29th January 1984. Kirsty’s team this time featured Tom Bailey and Mike Percy. Steve Lillywhite, Marilyn and Adrian John were in the opposing team.  

In February 1985, ‘A New England’ became her biggest solo hit. Top Of The Pops didn’t allow her to appear in the studio as she was heavily pregnant with her oldest son, Jamie. The programme instead played the promo video on 7th.

Three days later, she made her third and final appearance on ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Trivia Quiz’ with Mark Page as the quiz master this time. In Kirsty’s team were Sal Solo and Ashley Ingham from Imagination. The other team featured Martin Fry from ABC, Tommy Vance and Brian Hibbard from Flying Pickets.

In the feature which Kirsty and Steve did for ‘No 1’ magazine, it stated “This afternoon, Kirsty is rehearsing for a spot on the Wogan show singing ‘He’s On The Beach’. Even for such a short slot it takes three rehearsals getting the camera angles right. Still, as the show has upwards of seven million viewers It’s an audience not to be missed.” The performance aired on 24th June 1985 and still exists in the BBC archives! Kirsty fan Matthew Westwood recalled watching the video when he was working at the BBC in 2006 and remembers her wearing a red outfit. 

On 25th July 1986, she appeared in the Radio 1 show ‘Singled Out’ reviewing the latest single releases, along with Peter Powell. Janice Long, her close friend hosted the programme.

Kirsty made her first ‘Top Of The Pops’ studio appearance since 1981, to perform ‘Fairytale Of New York’ with The Pogues. 15th December 1987 was the filming date, but the show was transmitted two days later. Like most of the ‘Top Of The Pops’ performances at the time, it was mimed except when Kirsty sang ‘ass’ instead of ‘arse’ live. She also lightly slapped her part of the body to show what she meant! 

 

‘French and Saunders’ was a comedy show that starred Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, which began in 1987. Kirsty made her first appearance on 18th March 1988, singing ‘Trains and Boats and Planes’. Roland Rivron and Simon Brint also featured in the piece. Kirsty featured in the third series, but there will be more details in part 2.      

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-children-in-need-single-106395804.html

In this photo, Junior, Kirsty, Climie Fisher, P.P. Arnold, Sinitta and Kevin O’Dowd (Boy George’s brother) gathered together at a studio in London on 17th November 1988 to rehearse a single called ‘What About The Children?’ to raise money for Children In Need. They never released the single. 

On 30th June 1989, she made her second appearance on ‘Wogan’ singing ‘Days’.

Kirsty made two studio appearances on ‘Top Of The Pops’ that year. The first was on 27th July where she performed her version of The Kinks’ classic, ‘Days’. The second was her backing and dancing with The Happy Mondays on ‘Hallelujah’, which helped kickstart The Madchester scene. 

 

There are rare photos of her rehearsing and performing on ‘Top Of The Pops’ in 1989 on the BBC Photo Archive and a few more here.

On 8th November, she did her debut session for Nicky Campbell on Radio 1 performing ‘Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim!’, ‘What Do Pretty Girls Do?’, ‘Don’t Run Away From Me Now’ and ‘Still Life’. 

My second part of ‘Kirsty at The BBC’ piece will focus on her appearances from 1990-2000.  

The 100 Greatest BBC Music Performances Ranking

To celebrate 100 years of the BBC, The Guardian made a ranking of their 100 Greatest BBC Music Performances. Happy Mondays’ performance of ‘Hallelujah’ on TOTP which featured Kirsty, was at number 99 and 50 places higher was her performance of ‘In These Shoes?’ and ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ on ‘Later With Jools Holland’ in 2000.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/oct/06/the-100-greatest-bbc-music-performances-ranked?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1665058541

As it’s the centenary year of the BBC, I will publish a two-part piece on Kirsty’s time there, including some details of her radio and TV appearances. Part 1 will be coming tomorrow, so look out for that!

From Ruby

Kirstyfest 2022

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a lovely week so far. As most of you know, it was Kirstyfest on Sunday 9th, meeting in Soho Square at 12pm. I went with my Uncle and his girlfriend this year. My other Uncle and my Auntie came as well. I gave my first speech at the bench to everyone before we sang ‘Soho Square’ and ‘Don’t Come the Cowboy with Me Sonny Jim!’ with Paul Chinniah playing the guitar. Lee Harrison filmed the performances and uploaded them to the ‘Kirsty MacColl Fan Gang’ Facebook group.

Soho Square:

https://www.facebook.com/lee.harrison.39982/videos/506089004412393?idorvanity=191172489226

Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim!:

https://www.facebook.com/lee.harrison.39982/videos/442819314625496/?idorvanity=191172489226

Afterwards, we went to the Spice of Life pub for more singing and fun. The event had less people compared to last year due to various reasons, but we still had a splendid time. I performed ‘Dancing In Limbo’, ‘The Hardest Word’, ‘They Don’t Know’ and ‘Chip Shop’ on the guitar.

Paul Chinniah performed ‘Camel Crossing’ and his own song about Kirsty before his wife Sue joined him for ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ and ‘Head’.

Singer-songwriter, Chloe Lorentzen performed ‘England 2 Columbia 0’, ‘Caroline’, her own song about Kirsty called ‘Stolen’ and ‘Titanic Days’ (which included audience participation with the ‘ahh’ bits.)

 

A guitarist called Dave did ‘What Do Pretty Girls Do?’ and ‘Still Life’.

Chloe came back on and performed ‘Can’t Stop Killing You’, ‘They Don’t Know’ and ‘Children of the Revolution’.

Steve Jacks put up a video consisting of extracts from all of the performances at the Spice of Life on the ‘Kirstyfest’ Facebook group.

https://www.facebook.com/steve.jacks.7/videos/1532426523866170?idorvanity=552711574916196

Chris Winwood and Jess Cully created the quiz for this year. Unfortunately, neither of them could make it, so I read out the quiz to everyone. Some found it challenging, but fun. The winning team got a respectable 24 out of 40. They won the Kirstyfest cup and a signed copy of ‘My Bass And Other Animals’, a memoir by musician Guy Pratt. He played bass on ‘Days’, the single version of ‘Innocence’, ‘No Victims (Guitar Heroes Mix)’ and ‘Walking Down Madison’.

If you want your own copy, you can order the book on Amazon.

Louis was also at Kirstyfest and it was great to see him again. He said that I always make him smile and he always makes me smile as well.

I had a fabulous time and I hope to see some of you next year!

From Ruby

Squire visit Soho Square

In this video, the band Squire visit Kirsty’s bench in Soho Square. As some of you may know, Kirsty sang backing vocals on their songs, ‘My Mind Goes Round In Circles’ and ‘Does Stephanie Know?’ in 1980.

I hope to see some of you at the bench tomorrow!

From Ruby