The YouTube Files – The Delicious World Of Shampoo.

Here’s yet another 90s pop group that I remember. Shampoo were a female pop duo who consisted of Jacqueline Blake (born in November 1974 in Woolwich) and Caroline Askew (born in May 1977 in Plumstead) who met at school in London and described themselves as “inseparable”. There was a lot of debate about them at the time. Were they two moody teenagers with attitude, or just a pair of airhead blondes? Well one thing’s for sure, they weren’t one-hit wonders and they had girl power for real. They didn’t have any Top Ten hits in the UK but they definitely made an impact on pop music around the world in the mid-90s, although their fame came and went rather quickly. This piece will take a look back at their music videos and TV appearances from 1993-1996 on YouTube. shampoo

After getting their big break by appearing in the video for “Little Baby Nothing” by Manic Street Preachers, Jacqui and Carrie released two singles in 1993 that weren’t hits. The first was “Blisters And Bruises”, and the second was “Bouffant Headbutt” for which a video was made. This was the song that brought them to the attention of the music magazines, winning various “single of the week” awards and tipping them to be huge, and they were often compared to Fuzzbox. vlcsnap-00327.jpg

In July 1994 they made the breakthrough when “Trouble” was released to become their first hit single, reaching no. 11, their highest chart position and also their most memorable song. One of the things that I like about this song is that there is a rhyme that is so obvious they don’t even say it: “we’d get the night bus but the night bus never came/we’re eight miles from home and it started to… (thunderclap sound effect)“. They also performed this song in the first and second of their four Top Of The Pops appearances, one of them being on that bizarre edition that experimented with a filmised look that was hosted by Malcolm McLaren. vlcsnap-00373

In October 1994 the next single “Viva La Megababes” was released which reached no. 27. Around this time they appeared on CBBC’s Live & Kicking to tell John Barrowman how much they loved Barbie dolls (they were also big fans of East 17 and Take That), they were interviewed on BBC2’s The O Zone and ITV’s late-night music show The Beat at their old school in Plumstead, and they also appeared on the cover of Melody Makershampoo1

They also performed “Viva La Megababes” on CITV’s What’s Up Doc? as the hosts including Andy Crane and Pat Sharp threw some shapes and boogied on down in the background. In November 1994 their first album “We Are Shampoo” was released, but this only reached no. 45. There was a big buzz about them around this time though, and suddenly they were appearing in all the trendy magazines including The Face, NMESmash Hits, and Select, and in December 1994 they performed at the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party shown live on BBC1 from the Docklands Arena in London. vlcsnap-00364

In February 1995 the next single “Delicious” was released which reached no. 21. They performed this on Channel 4’s late-night show The Word and they were interviewed on The O Zone again, this time at home. I remember reading an interview with Jamie Theakston where he said that Shampoo were among his least favourite interviewees from his time hosting The O Zone, describing them as “the monosyllabic queens”, and concluding “they’re not the sharpest tools in the box, let’s face it”. vlcsnap-00334

In August 1995 their biggest hit “Trouble” was re-issued, this time it reached no. 36. This was an attempt to break them in America by including the song on the soundtrack to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers film and making a new video, but it wasn’t that successful. However, it seems that for a brief period they were hugely popular in Japan to the point that they were little short of megastars in that part of the world, and they sold a lot of albums there. Indeed such was their success in Asia there was a rumour around this time that they were among the richest women in Britain. vlcsnap-00369

Also in 1995 they appeared on CBBC’s Fully Booked, and I can only imagine what Morag The Cow made of them. Meanwhile, they released two more singles in Japan only, 1995’s “Warpaint” (for which a video was made), and 1996’s “Yeh Yeh Yeh (Tell Me Baby)”. vlcsnap-00381

In July 1996 their next single “Girl Power” was released which made no. 25. Now this is an interesting coincidence because they would often talk about “girl power” and how they were trying to send out a positive message to women, and a week after this song entered the chart another female pop group came on to the scene who had “girl power” as their motto who had massive success. They also performed this song on their third and fourth Top Of The Pops appearances. However, the second album also called “Girl Power” that was released in the same month didn’t chart. vlcsnap-00344

In September 1996 their next single which was a cover of The Waitresses song “I Know What Boys Like” was released which reached no. 42, missing the Top 40. And this turned out to be their final hit single. After this setback, they were practically never heard of again, although it seems that they did make a third album called “Absolute Shampoo” and they didn’t actually split until 2000. vlcsnap-00350

It is rather weird to think that Jacqui and Carrie are now both in their 40s and their first single was released almost 25 years ago, and I honestly have no idea what they are up to now or if they are still in contact with one another. If they now have children I wonder if they have ever told them about the time they became millionaires before they turned 20 years old. It must have been rather odd for them to have found fame at such a young age, but I hope that they enjoyed the experience of being an international pop star in their teens.

Saturday Morning Memories – Fully Booked.

Fully Booked (CBBC, 1995-2000)

This show mostly aired on Sundays, but the first and last series did air on Saturdays so I’m going to include it here. When Fully Booked launched, someone clearly thought, we need a gimmick to make it stand out. Do we set it on a spaceship? Already been done. A superstore? That’s been done too. How about a hotel, yes, what a great idea!

The first series was shown on BBC1, came live from Glasgow and was hosted by Grant Stott, the bloke off Blue Peter‘s brother, and Zoe Ball. They clearly thought that like most children’s TV shows they needed an annoying puppet too, so Morag The Cow filled that slot, supposedly being the receptionist of the hotel and having awkward comedy moments with the celebrity guests. vlcsnap-00961

There was also some other guy who played various comedy characters including the oh-so amusing Alistair McAlistair, who hosted a feature called The End Of The Show Show, where everyone took part in a big comedy game. This is a highly original feature that has never been done by anyone on any other entertainment show ever. vlcsnap-00963

The format of the show changed rather a lot over the years. Although of course there were lots of cartoons and all the latest young person’s popular beat combos taking part to perform their latest hot waxing and getting their five minutes of fame throughout the whole of the run, the presenters lineup and style was often fiddled about with. vlcsnap-00962

After the first series Zoe left to join Live & Kicking, so for the second series she was replaced by Lou Carpenter’s daughter off Neighbours for some reason. The show also moved to Sunday Mornings on BBC2 and was now pre-recorded. This was how the show continued until the end of the third series. vlcsnap-00960

For the fourth series, the show was completely changed, with a new look and new presenters, and was live again. So we said goodbye to the hotel, Morag, Alastair, Grant and the rest who were replaced by Chris Jarvis, Tim Vincent off Blue Peter, and Gail Porter. This meant that the “Fully Booked” title now meant nothing but there were still a lot of fun features and the show was now live again, and this format continued into a fifth series. vlcsnap-00957

Now just because the format of the show has completely changed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t completely change it again and move it even further away from its original idea. The sixth and final series returned to BBC1, extended to a whopping three hours long, and was now called FBI which was short for Fully Booked Interactive, because by now it was the year 2000 and viewers could email the show and everything, isn’t technology incredible. There was also yet another new presenter lineup, with Kate Heavenor, Vernon Kay, and the bloke off Boyzone now in charge. vlcsnap-00959

By the end of this series someone finally released how out of hand this was all getting and the Fully Booked name was finally put to rest. Although I did enjoy watching the earlier series, it is strange, even when considering they were made five years apart, how different the first and last series were.