MTV Select (MTV, 1996-2001)
This month is the 40th anniversary of the launch of MTV in America. When MTV joined the OnDigital channels line-up in the summer of 1999, I was rather pleased. Along with UK Play, I now had a chance to see the latest music videos. I did watch these channels rather frequently and they were among my favourites, possibly even ahead of BBC Choice and ITV2 that I also enjoyed, and the archive channels Granada Plus and UK Gold.
I really did spend a lot of time watching these channels when I probably should’ve been doing something else. There were lots of shows on MTV that featured music videos, including Bytesize and Hitlist UK. Also among their main shows was MTV Select. This was usually shown live in the afternoon for an hour or two, and most of the hosts were fairly well-known, and went on to have more success.
These included Donna Air, Richard Blackwood (doing his whole “who da man” thing), Russell Brand, Kelly Brook (shortly after her departure from The Big Breakfast), Natalie Casey, Zane Lowe, and Lisa Snowdon. There was a playlist of 75 videos or thereabouts listed in a barely legible font. Most of them were the latest hits, along with a few oldies (The Phone Zone was the UK Play equivalent of this). These appeared on the screen three at a time, and a full list was available to view on the teletext page.
There were several ways that viewers could get in touch, including the phone, fax, and email. And there were often pop stars in the studio who wanted to tell us about their fancy new single. And guess what, if you phoned in to request a video, there was also a chance that you could talk to your idol, how exciting! They would sometimes guest host too. There were also competitions, and this really was a show where anything could happen. There were various versions on MTV stations across Europe.
MTV Select came to an end after about five years in 2001, which was a disappointment, as I did still enjoy watching. For some reason, the theme music by this point was “The Facts Of Life” by Black Box Recorder (a hit single in 2000), and this was the final video to be played on the show. And it was around this time that MTV began to give up on showing music videos at any time of the day.