1 9 8 7 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
43 x 30 episodes
9 June 1987 saw the launch of Independent Television’s first prime-time networked chart show, and the first real challenger to the BBCs Top of the Pops, which had been running for 23 years.
The show from Tyne Tees Television had been on the drawing board for nearly three years and was something of a flop at first. But within nine weeks, viewing figures hit seven million.
The setting – a 1940s-style dance hall – caught the imagination of the pop world. It was constructed in Studio 5 at Tyne Tees. The authentic, old-theatre look was created with an entrance foyer, a ticket office, special balconies and a stage with a proscenium arch. But the set was brought bang up to date for the 1980s with glaring neons and state-of-the-art lighting.
Canadian-born David Jensen (having now dropped the “Kid” nickname he earned when he was a DJ at Radio Luxembourg) welcomed ITV viewers to The Roxy. His co-presenters were radio DJ Pat Sharp and 25-year-old Kevin Sharkey, who was a new face on television. Only a year before The Roxy, Kevin was working as a cleaner in London. He was spotted by producer Alastair Pirrie when he was presenting a successful pop show on Irish TV called Megamix.
Guests over the 43 episodes included Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Style Council, The Stranglers, Squeeze, The Sisters of Mercy, INXS, Alison Moyet, Kim Wilde, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Marillion, Bros, UB40, The Christians, Eighth Wonder, Climie Fisher, The Primitives, Status Quo, Def Leppard, Cliff Richard and Terence Trent D’Arby.
There were exclusive interviews too. Actor Bruce Willis gave The Roxy his first-ever British TV interview and there was a chat to A-ha live from Japan.