Post-pub TV is back – or it would be if pubs didn’t now kick out after midnight. As it is, That Music Show is playing to those not going out on a Friday night: chiefly, those thirty or fortysomethings who remember the 90s and are feeling nostalgic. That’s why we open with Primal Scream – who are trying to cover up the last 20 years by getting ever-bigger sunglasses and hair.
“We’ve got one of the most incredible teams ever assembled,” says team captain Shaun Keaveny. No, that’s the Avengers. The lineup you’ve got to represent 1995 in this supposedly young-v-old pop quiz is actually Alex James and some parents. Nevertheless, I warmed to the Justice League of Britpop – they’ve all got an endearingly sensible way of holding a pint that suggests they’re appreciating a night away from the kids. I’d just prefer it if Nick Grimshaw was asking them what boxsets they were enjoying at the moment, rather than put them through a bad pub quiz.
Grimshaw will be a sticking point, especially in a show playing to the thirtysomethings he put off the Radio 1 breakfast show. Some people like his laid-back, matey style, others find him insipid and creeping. Regardless of the show’s other merits, he’s going to be the thing on which most decide whether to watch or flick over to the Sherlock repeats on the other side.
They couldn’t have got Zoe Ball: that would have meant admitting the whole thing was an exercise in nostalgia and not – as any 41-year-old account exec who wants this needs to believe – a sign it’s all still too-cool, hip and trendy.
The 2005 team is hilariously arbitrary: Sharleen Spiteri (because I know we all think mid-noughties when we think of Texas), Theo from Hurts (which was formed in 2009) and some comedian who’s as quiet as he is irrelevant. To be fair, they’ve also got Maggot out of Goldie Looking Chain, but Team 2005 still looks a lot more like Team 1997.
The show’s loose and rough in a way that would have been defended as ‘anarchic’ back in the day, but which we now recognise as ‘shit’. The sub-Shooting Stars surrealism isn’t funny – and I’m not sure it ever was. Someone read One Day and thought Dexter’s music show was a serious proposition.
The format’s hardly tight: “GoldenEye came out in 1995, so we’re doing film soundtracks [none of which came out in 1995]”. Alex James and Sharleen Spiteri look increasingly uncomfortable as the show’s potential drops with the beer level. There’s precious little wit on display: instead, there’s wooping, big faces and insults. It looks a bit like humour, but it isn’t.
The advantage of not going out on a Friday night is you don’t have to put up with this sort of crap. If you are the kind of person who thinks drunk Facebook photos are the funniest thing ever, then That Music Show might appeal. I hope it brings you comfort in your humourless existence.