CV - Chris Cowey Producer, `Top of the Pops'

I come from a village to the south of Sunderland, where what you usually did was work down a coal-mine or off-shore on an oil rig. But at school in the late Seventies, I developed an interest in drama, and was quite keen on the idea of teaching too. Television wasn't something I'd ever considered, but then Malcolm Gerrie, who was my English and drama teacher, got a job as a researcher with Tyne Tees TV. So, suddenly, there was this link with the world of TV - and Malcolm would often drag me into the studio and show me off as one of his star pupils.

At that time, Tyne Tees was making a music show called All Right Now, and they came down to film at the local Mecca ballroom one day. I met the head of the Tyne Tees children's department, Andrea Wonfor, and she said she'd like me to audition as a TV presenter. Much to my amazement, I got the job, and so dropped any thoughts of acting, teaching or going to university.

There was no formal training: I basically just watched what everyone did and learned from it. Although I enjoyed presenting, I soon realised that the real power was on the other side of the camera. And, when The Tube started in 1982, I became a trainee researcher on it.

Sometimes, I would go off and work on current affairs programmes, too, and I would still be presenting when The Tube was off the air. I also started to become skilled at big events, working on outside broadcast specials from bands like Queen and Dire Straits.

I decided to carry on specialising in music programming, and doors just kept opening. And, in 1987, just before The Tube finished, I went freelance, becoming an associate producer, and very quickly, a producer. Andrea Wonfor had by then left Tyne Tees and started a production company called Zenith North, and then Malcolm Gerrie left to form Initial Film and Television, so I got involved making programmes for both of them. I also started directing, doing stuff like The White Room for Channel 4.

Then, in 1992, Jonathan Ross asked me to produce and direct an interview with Madonna he was doing for Channel 4.

In 1994 and 1995, I produced Channel 4's coverage of Glastonbury, and then spent a lot of time working with Malcolm Gerrie again, doing the Brit Awards last year. After that, I started developing The Pepsi Chart show that's just started on Channel 5 with Initial, and while doing that I was asked if I wanted to do Top of the Pops. It took me maybe 10 seconds to say yes: Top of the Pops is the Holy Grail of music television, and I'd loved it since I was a kid.

It was a huge challenge - it needed a lot of things doing with it - but I never thought I would be able to derive so much sheer joy from a job. It's like being paid for a hobby - my job is to get the best bands and artists that are available, put them on TV, and make them look and sound good. The programme's got a big grin on its face right now, and I feel we're heading in the right direction.

If I get Top of the Pops exactly the way I want it, and I'm thinking "What next?", the only logical thing for me to do would be to go and make a Tube/White Room/TOTP-style programme in America. There's nothing quite like that over there. But I don't really have a plan. I just want to carry on doing what I enjoy doing, which is making programmes.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week