Videotech (ITV, 1996-2000)
In the mid-1990s the ITV region for London Carlton used the 6:30 slot to show various regional programming, including their own short-lived attempt at a soap London Bridge, but the show that I liked most in that slot was the music programme Videotech which was shown on Thursdays and launched in November 1996.
The idea behind Videotech was that it was a half an hour show which would feature all the latest pop music videos and also have interviews with the biggest stars around. The original host of Videotech was Sarah Cawood and the look of the show was very distinctive. It was set in a virtual reality world, and most of the interviews took place in front of rather strange-looking backgrounds including one that seemed to consist of massive apples bouncing up and down although it could have been anything really.
Videotech also used to feature various charts including the album chart, and it would often end by playing some videos of singles that were currently in the top ten, including the number one, and these segments were often linked together with cutting-edge computer graphics in a similar style to The Chart Show. After a short while Cawood left the show and the second host was Margherita Taylor who was also a presenter on Capital FM at the time when it was still a London-only station, and nowadays she is on Classic FM.
By 1999 following the “Carltonisation” of some regions, this meant that Videotech was now also seen in the Central and Westcountry regions. Unfortunately it also coincided with the time that the show was moved to a later slot of 11:30 so fewer people saw it. Also by the end Beverley Turner joined the show as the third main host after Taylor’s departure. Cawood and Taylor clearly made use of the experience of hosting this show though when in the early-2000s they both became presenters of Top Of The Pops.
In December 2000 Videotech came to an end, with an hour-long special looking back at some of the best moments on the show. About a year later in 2001 Carlton launched a new music show called The Base which featured live studio performances as well as interviews and I think this was hosted by Turner too but this didn’t last very long and by this point regional programming had just about been phased out on ITV.
I liked to watch Videotech because as I was in my teens at the time I was into pop music, and also before the days of having MTV I took any chance that I could to get the opportunity to watch music videos, and just about every major pop act of the late-1990s appeared on the show to be interviewed, from Bis to B*Witched. I also remember that Videotech was once promoted with a full-page advert in NME.
Unfortunately because it was only shown in a few ITV regions Videotech won’t mean too much to most people, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, but for me it was a music show that I enjoyed much more than CD:UK and the like and it was a good attempt at showcasing pop music long before the days of YouTube, and well, you don’t see indie videos on ITV or Channel 4 at 6:30 any more do you.