Battle of the BBC banned

Jonathan Ross's three-month suspension from the BBC is having a discordant effect on the music industry, writes Nick Hasted

Jonathan Ross unwittingly said goodbye for the last time in three months two Fridays ago. The torrent of public vitriol that saw him off suggests that this couldn't have come soon enough. But the viewing figures of nearly four million for his chat show tell a different story – and for the representatives of some of the biggest names in the music business, his absence has come as a bitter blow.

Of major acts with releases out in the lucrative lead-up to Christmas, including The Cure, Craig David and Stereophonics, only Razorlight got on to Friday Night with Jonathan Ross before the axe fell. The Killers and the Disney star Miley Cyrus lost booked appearances.

Meanwhile, newer bands such as Fleet Foxes have broken through to the cognoscenti this year. Ross could have introduced them to the wider public that is currently baying for his blood. The closing four minutes of his show, in which bands play, may look like a riotous afterthought, but the major labels plan promotion campaigns around the show's seasons. It is all that's needed to get an artist's CDs racked in stores the following Monday, and huge bumps in sales often result. Jonathan Ross can make a band's career.

"Performance-wise, it's very important for artist promotion," says Stuart Bell of the Outside Organisation, PR for David Bowie and Paul McCartney. "It's key – the Holy Grail for that kind of audience. If you do something like Later... with Jools Holland, you get the coolness and the credibility, but not always the viewing figures. There's no Parkinson now, either, and no alternative at this time of year. And November is so important. There's the morning shows, GMTV, which is fine for Leona Lewis. But if you're The Killers or Razorlight, you want Jonathan Ross."

There is no Top of the Pops now, or Saturday morning chart show on ITV. Even Later..., the only UK television show dedicated to live music almost since its inception, is now deliberately scheduled straight after Ross, from whom it picks up much of its audience. Several million others, though, have switched off. Ross is not only the grail, but the last game in town.

The options for PRs scrabbling to show off their acts to the mainstream public quietly damn the general state of British television, away from Ross's sometimes shoddy, previously untamed world. Scraping the average rock band out of bed for a stilted conversation with Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield on This Morning is a thankless task. But daytime shows such as this, and the relatively raunchy Loose Women, are the awful, Ross-less reality if a band wants to reach the wider world.

Daytime TV's over-lit, glazed grins have hardly changed since the days when greats such as Ray Davies were reduced to strumming songs on Pebble Mill at One, and The Sex Pistols were invited to "say something outrageous" on Bill Grundy's teatime Today. On Ross's show, the host is outrageous before the bands even come on. But at least Ross, however vaguely, knows who they are. Which puts him, alongside Jools Holland, in a select group of two.

The fallout in the music industry from that nasty indiscretion on Andrew Sachs's answerphone is now creeping through the schedules. The Killers had to make do with Later... and several million fewer viewers knowing that their new album Day & Age is out. Stereophonics' Kelly Jones has even popped up on Strictly Come Dancing. Craig David will not now be able to laugh off those Bo' Selecta! impressions with Ross in time for his Christmas Greatest Hits.

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross may return in January with a more cautious, repentant host. Minus his lazier excesses, he may even be better. But the many music PRs who didn't dare comment on the record for this article say everything about Ross's immediate future.

The British public seemed ready to string him up last week, but the British music industry needs him alive and kicking. Jonathan Ross has been shamed, but he remains, shamefully alone, as rock's most important taste-maker on television.

Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot