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 ‘Mambo De La Luna’ and ‘In These Shoes?’. Both songs would eventually be released on ‘Tropical Brainstorm’ in March 2000.
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.
On 30th December, 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.
Again Great! I love to se Kirsty performing live and (especially in the “real live” performances) she had such a fantastic presence. Thank you very much!
You are welcome, Anders. I never saw Kirsty performing live, but the live videos I have seen are fantastic.
There’s also the fantastic ‘Boxed Set’ live performances at the BBC from March 2000
Yes, it’s a brilliant performance. It was filmed on 14th March 2000, but was only originally broadcast in Scotland on 3rd October that year. It wasn’t shown on the BBC until 18th December 2001, the first anniversary of her passing.
The Boxed Set show was actually on Scottish Television, I was fortunate enough to be at the filming. They forgot to connect the drum mic so had to do half the set twice.
Thank you for putting so much work into keeping the memory of Kirsty alive. Her music is always with me and it is good to know that this place here still celebrates her artistry.
You are welcome, Thomas. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the pieces.