The Independent Archive 27 September 1989: `A simple idea, but very revealing at its best'

`Juke Box Jury' has returned to the screen in its Sixties format. Jim White takes a first peek

WEARING A trademark hip-friendly micro-dress, Sinitta waits in the wings, concentrating as Julian Clary pronounces on her new single. It isn't his cup of tea. "After hearing Kate Bush, listening to this was like reading Dickens after flicking through The Sun," says the camp comedian.

"Or the other way round," offers Jools Holland, the compere. "You're right, Jools, yes, the other way round."

Unbeknown to Clary, throughout this exchange the camera was locked on Sinitta, following her struggle to replace a narrow-eyed scowl with a devil-may-care curling of the sides of her mouth. The rest of the panel votes it a hit, "which is just as well", says Holland, "as waiting in our mystery hovel is our first mystery guest . . . . Sinitta."

On she comes, and points at Clary. "This man has no taste." As she says it the camera fixes on Clary. His heavily decorated eyelids drop, and, underneath the make-up, he may well be blushing.

All of which means that the Sixties hit Juke Box Jury is back, complete with the ritual confrontation of mystery guest and rude panel list. Back, too, come the "hit" bell and the "miss" klaxon and, as if they ever went away, the ludicrous fashions.

Juke Box Jury looks much as we remember it. The boy with the quiff and the black polo neck who always seemed to sit in the front row, tapping his Chelsea boots in time to the new Dave Clark Five disc, is back - except that he now has tram lines shaved into his scalp, a Naf-Naf T-shirt, and a new pair of Reeboks to keep the beat.

Though we get a glimpse of the videos, the camera spends most of its time seeking reactions on the faces of panellists and audience. There is nothing profound about it; a middle-aged woman singing cheerfully along tells you much more about a new record than watching the singer miming to it in the middle of a copse.

Jools Holland reckons the reason the programme enjoyed an eight-and-a- half-year run in its original incarnation was that it gave the fans the opportunity not so much to hear the new releases but to get to know their heroes by assessing their reaction to contemporaries' work. "When I watched it as a child," he says, "I used to use it to confirm my own judgement: `I like him and he agrees with me.' Like Desert Island Discs, it may be a simple idea, but it can be very revealing at its best. The difference now is that, as we have grown more sophisticated, we expect panellists not just to be frank, like they were in the original, but to know how to be funny about things."

Not, Julian Clary aside, that there was much frankness on display in the first programme. The panellists veered from the trite (Simon Climie: "This is a pop record, right") to the sycophantic Jermaine Jackson's "I am a close personal friend of Mr Cooper" and "I happen to know Milli Vanilli very well" drew an arched eyebrow from Holland: "Is there anyone you don't know?"

If the Eighties audience has different tastes, it is evident in choice of presenter. The urbane David Jacobs, in his blazer and Garrick Club tie, was the same age, as Holland, in his south London spiv's pin-stripes, when he first presided over the panel.

"A lovely bloke," reckons Holland of his predecessor. "But, as a child, I could never imagine him actually liking any of the records. He came across as very much the fatherly figure, the schoolmaster." Indeed, when Jacobs presented his most memorable edition from the Beatles Fan Club Convention, with all four mop-tops as panellists (Ringo didn't like an Elvis record), his presence avoided a near riot.

"We were doing the show live, and the noise beforehand was unbelievable," he recalls. "So I simply addressed the audience before the boys came on, and said: `Look, we'd all much rather hear what the Beatles have to say rather than a lot of screaming.' And you know what? They were perfectly behaved."

Holland says: "I asked Jacobs for his one piece of advice. He thought about it, then said: `Are you recording two shows at once? Well, make sure you move the audience around so those at the front go to the back for the second show and vice versa.'

"I thought: `Thanks a lot, I was expecting something profound.' But then he said, `Just enjoy yourself', which is, I suppose the best advice . . . It's nothing clever. It's a piece of fun, really."

From the Media page of `The Independent', Wednesday 27 September 1989

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all