Music

Where’s the honesty in manufactured bands these days?

You lose a Sugababe one day. You find another Sugababe the next day. It’s very easy to replace a band member who walks out when the band’s been assembled from a kit.

The original Sugababes
As the BBC reports this morning, only a day after the chavvy Mutya Buena declared she wanted to leave the aforementioned trio, the band’s management has found a replacement. Not bad going: I guess when your indentured help starts getting uppity, you need to have a plan in place to avoid losing a second of profit once she decides to up sticks.

What gets me is the reaction of the other ‘babes. Now, I’m under no illusions that pop stars have been some fount of honesty and truth for the last 50 years. But when did they start to talk like marketing drones?

“Our management introduced us to Amelle as someone they knew with an amazing voice, who looked great and, just as important, was already a big fan of the band.

”When we all met her, we instantly knew she was the only person to share the rest of the journey with us.“

Okay, that was Heidi Range, who had already been brought in to replace another departing Babe and had been in at least one other manufactured band beforehand; maybe she’s just infinitely pliable and willing to spout whatever the band’s communications officer sticks in front of her nose and everyone else’s conscience is intact.

But in an age when bands such as Keane hired their own branding consultant before they’d even signed to a record label, I can’t help but feel that a little charm and soul has disappeared from the whole business, not just the back office, to be replaced by people who really are in it only for the money and have the business studies degree to prove it.

News

Kaiser front man offered role of Doctor Who?

David Tennant as the Doctor

Ah. More reasons to hate those twats in the Kaiser Chiefs (about whose pretentious, self-love I’ve already written). Now lead singer Ricky claims he was offered the role of Doctor Who. I suspect there’s a certain amount of tongue in cheek here.

“The BBC offered it to me but I was so busy they got a lookalike. It’s the kind of thing I’ve got down for my autumn years.”

But he goes on:

“I’m worried David [Tennant]’s too young for the part. Eddie Izzard would be perfect.”

If he’d stopped at the first quote, he’d just have been cheeky. A twat, but cheeky. But he didn’t know where to stop. He crossed the line from cheeky to rude. Can the next person who sees him give him a thumping? (It might be construed that I’ve written this article just to come up with a thin pretext for people to beat up the Kaiser Chiefs. I couldn’t possibly comment…)

Incidentally, following on from yesterday’s discussions about it being who you know, not necessarily what you can do, that gets you the job, it should, to a certain extent, be clear that Mr Tennant got his job through the exact same mechanisms that Charlie Skelton did in Space Cadets. Not to diminish his acting skills, etc, since he’s a fine actor and does one of the better mockney accents I’ve heard, but

  1. He appeared in Casanova, which was exec produced by Russell T Davies, who is the exec producer of Doctor Who. He replaced Christopher Eccleston, who appeared in Davies’ Second Coming for ITV1.
  2. Tennant says “I did a show that he’d written, called Casanova, at the end of last year, so I knew him through that. And, I guess, unbeknownst to me, that was my audition. So it just came up after that, I guess, when they knew that Chris Eccleston was moving on. They just came to me and asked me to do it.”
  3. He’s been up to his neck in Doctor Who work for years, through the Big Finish audio plays. Russell T Davies is a big fan of these, using their writers in his own show and mentioning them in his own stories and articles from time to time.

Anyway, my point isn’t that this is necessarily a bad thing, only that this is how the industry works.

PS David Tennant’s been a Doctor Who fan from way back. Despite his playing it down somewhat in this interview (search for ‘Doctor Who’), I hear from sources that he’s able to list every single Doctor Who story in order. Not too difficult for a Doctor Who fan: I’ve met many who can do this quite easily, although I never hung around long enough to hear the full 27 seasons’ worth. However, the earliest stories only had episode titles on screen, not story names. Given that ‘The Dalek Masterplan’, for example, had 12 episodes, each with its own title, you’ll immediately spot that that’s a whole lot more learning and obsession to deal with. Tennant can apparently list even these episodes in order, which I’ve never seen anyone do. I think I’d be frightened.

Shock, horror! Producer gave friend part in Space Cadets. That never happens!

Private Eye landed in my post box today. As well as giving Space Cadets a well-deserved slating in ‘Eye TV’, the Eye hits out again the naff reality show on page nine in “How Reality TV Works”. It points out that that reality shows are pretty much recruiting actors now, rather than regular members of the public.

Unfortunately for regular readers of this blog, Charlie Skelton gets a slight kicking, too.

“While Ranie Daw and Steve Hester have some short film and theatre credits to their names, Charlie Skelton is best known as a comedy writer, co-author of a book with Victoria Coren, and, perhaps most importantly, to Space Cadets producer Ben Caudell as ‘my friend Charlie Skelton’.

”…which of the three ‘actors’ was picked to accompany the stooges? Unsurprisingly, Charlie Skelton – despite his complete lack of any acting skills having already led to several of the contestants announcing they thought he was a plant.“

This seems a tad unfair: anyone even vaguely conversant with the TV industry (and most media industries) knows it’s always been who you know, not what you do, that gets you the job in 75% of cases. Certainly, Charlie’s popularity with those few viewers Space Cadets actually had indicates he wasn’t such a bad choice, anyway.

And if we’re throwing stones, didn’t Ian Hislop get a job at the Eye essentially by hanging around Richard Ingrams until Ingrams relented and gave him the time of day?

Still, it was at least an interesting story.