A while ago I looked back at the earliest days of The Chart Show on Channel 4, which is one of my favourite music TV shows. This was when they played a lot of music videos, although very few of them actually got anywhere near the chart, and the irony wasn’t lost on me. I found one of the songs featured curious enough to do a more detailed review.
A lot of people who have appeared regularly in soaps have then gone on to have successful pop music careers. But oddly, it seems that people who appeared in Australian soaps have done better on the chart in this country than the British ones. EastEnders launched in 1985, and this was soon attracting huge interest and ratings. Finally, BBC1 had a soap that could rival Coronation Street.
By 1986, a lot of the now rather famous cast decided to have a go at being pop stars, and some of them did better than others. Letitia Dean and Paul Medford made the Top 20, Anita Dobson made the Top Ten, and somehow, Nick Berry had a chart-topper. And along with them, but I’m not really sure why, also in 1986, Tom Watt released a single.
Tom became known for playing Lofty, who people seemed to always get mixed up with Curly in Coronation Street, who was a similarly glasses-wearing character who was better known by a nickname. And he decided to do a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Well of course. This was accompanied by a rather strange video, that did appear on The Chart Show.
It would seem that Tom had some rather high-profile musical friends, as the video featured appearances by some members of New Order and The Fall. It must’ve been good to have their endorsement, but the sight of people including Bernard Sumner and Brix Smith watching on baffled as Tom mumbled on about how the pump don’t work cos the vandals broke the ‘andles and then did a dance was something.
I do hope that this was played rather regularly down his local pub The Queen Victoria, but despite all of this, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was nowhere being a hit, and Tom’s pop career ended there. I hope he wasn’t jealous of Nick’s success. After leaving EastEnders, Tom has done various things, including being the host of a football show on radio station TalkSport that I used to listen to for a while.