The YouTube Files – Rewind.

Rewind (Channel 4, 1986)

This is yet another rather curious moment in British TV. I always enjoyed watching The Chart Show over the years, as this was where music videos were shown, and lots of groups were given their brief moment of exposure. But its success almost didn’t happen, because about two months after the launch, this was rather abruptly taken off the screen by Channel 4.

In June 1986, the British Phonographic Industry’s agreement with broadcasters on the payment of music in videos had come to an end. The Musician’s Union also got involved, and this ended up affecting things rather badly, as essentially they were unable to show many videos. Their pioneering idea had been scuppered by record industry politics.

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Channel 4 had little choice but to pull The Chart Show until this was resolved, which resulted in the awkward situation of a hole in the Friday evening schedule. The short-notice replacement was Rewind, a new show that was made by the same production team, which instead of music videos, featured live studio performances from groups that were taken from shows in the Channel 4 archive, including Ear Say and Switch.

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As usual, there was no host, and everything was linked by computer-generated graphics. There were a lot performances shown, and they were all assigned numbers (such as E7 or N1), as if they were being selected on a jukebox. This meant that there was a lot of rewinding and fast-forwarding through the choices. There would be no HUD offering extra information though, and there were no references to what was happening on the current Top 40 chart either.

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The captions were still a sludge-green colour, but in a more legible font than usual. Another notable thing was that the production team’s names in the credits appeared as anagrams. Rewind ended up filling the gap for about seven or eight weeks, when in August 1986 an agreement with the BPI had finally been made. The Chart Show then returned to the screen, and ended up running for another 12 years.

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