CBBC Memories – The UK Top 40.

The UK Top 40 (CBBC, 2002-2005)

I have always been interested in the singles chart. I remember listening to the Top 40 being announced on Radio 1 throughout the 1990s and 2000s, I also regularly watched Top Of The Pops, and I used to enjoy reading The Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles, so when the CBBC Channel launched in 2002, there was one of their shows that I was particularly interested in watching, and it’s a surprise to think that this was nearly 15 years ago now.

The UK Top 40 was an hour-long live show that was shown on Sunday evenings and would be CBBC’s final show of the weekend. It was hosted by Konnie Huq (of Blue Peter fame) and Adrian Dickson, and they would announce all of the latest hits at the same time as Radio 1 did, which meant that the number one single could revealed on the show right away, this was something that TOTP didn’t do until its final year on air. vlcsnap-00565

When it was time for the number one single to be announced, they actually went over to Radio 1, and we saw the Top 40 presenter in vision (it was still Mark Goodier at this time) who told us all that we needed to know from what seemed to be a webcam in their studio. The UK Top 40 also showed various videos of the latest songs making the chart, along with clips of a few live performances taken from such shows as TOTP and The Saturday Show, and sometimes acts even performed live in the studio. vlcsnap-00564

One good thing about the show was that sometimes acts would be interviewed in the studio too and discover where their song had charted. One guest that I particularly enjoyed was a young singer called Rhianna (she was from Leeds, and not to be confused with the much more successful Rihanna) because I really liked her song “Oh Baby”. However, it turned out to be her only Top 40 single and she was barely ever heard of again, which was really disappointing but it just goes to show how unpredictable the British music industry can be, but really, she should’ve been huge. vlcsnap-00570

One negative aspect of the show was because The UK Top 40 was shown on a children’s channel it meant that about half the singles on the chart were considered to be unplayable because of those potty-mouthed rappers and the like, but these videos could be seen on other channels such as MTV or TMF and we make to make the best of what we had in the pre-YouTube days, but overall this show was a good gauge of what was happening in pop music in the final years of my teens. vlcsnap-00567

Shortly before The UK Top 40 ended, both Konnie and Adrian left, to be replaced by a single presenter, Andrew Hayden-Smith. It was also around this time that download sales were added to the overall chart. The show ended in 2005, but there is a similar show that now runs on the CBBC Channel on Fridays. Looking back it really is remarkable to think how much the way we purchase and listen to music has changed since this show launched.


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