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24 September 2014

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Andi Peters

On the eve of its 40th anniversary, former presenter Andi Peters tookover the helm of the world's longest-running music show. Andi had previously produced T4 for Channel 4 plus a number of documentaries for TV. We caught up with him at the beginning of February 2004.

totpThe show relaunched at the end of November 2003. How do you feel about the way it's going?


AndiI'm really happy about the fact that we get to hear from the audience. I think with the old TOTP you never knew what the audience thought and it's nice that now, they can log onto the website and tell us what they think on a week to week basis. And it's not a case of the same people - we get new people on every week, discussing the show and that's really healthy. We read it and glean from it and take on board what people say.

From my point of view as the exec on the show I think the team are working really hard and the show's looking great. It different every week which for me is really exciting. Every week the stages have changed, you don't know what shape it's going to be and you don't know what the big surprise is going to be. Every week there's something else that should have a 'wow' factor. It's really important to me that every week it makes you go "'wow! That was amazing"'.

totpSo when you came here to the BBC in September, what was your main intention in changing the show? What did you want to do most to TOTP?

AndiThe thing I was desperate to do with TOTP was make it live. I think the artists perform so much better, it's their one opportunity to get it right and that for me is the success of the show. That suddenly you think 'blimey what's going to happen?' And I'm sitting there thinking 'oh gosh - what's going to happen!' It just has a real sense of event. That every Friday there's this event show that takes place in Television Centre in London and you want to tune in and be part of that event. That's the most important thing to me.

People talk about the show which is great, you know Chris Moyles talks about it on Radio 1, people talk about it on Capital, on Kiss - people are talking about our show and that's really important.

totpIt's been two months and nothing's gone majorly wrong yet. We bet there's a part of you that would love a mess up.

AndiTouch wood, no, nothing's gone majorly wrong! And that would be indiscreet of me to say [smiles]



totpA lot of people were confused as they heard it was a live show and presumed that everybody would be singing live as well but not everybody does. What's the policy on live performing?

AndiThe policy is 'there is no policy'. The Offspring for instance wanted to play live, sing live, do it all live, which of course they did. They can carry it off - that's what they do for a living. Westlife come in, they wanna sing live, Westlife love singing live. Will Young always sings live. You might have an artist who comes and says "I don't ever want to sing live - I want to lip sync." That's at their discretion. What I'm not going to do is say 'oh you can't come on unless you sing live'.

To be fair to an artist, if they can't cut it in a live situation but we all love her or him - if they're at No. 3 or 4 in the charts they have right for us to at least look at them and say "'well actually we give a great performance". As long as they give a good performance we're happy with that. There are some artists who can not sing live. What would be the point in putting them on television for four minutes where they screech their way through a song and it embarrasses them, it embarrasses me as a producer, it embarrasses you as a viewer. Ooh no!

It's not a talent contest after all. They're not trying to prove anything. Let's be honest, we all know that in a studio even a cat could sing. As long as they perform well - I think that's what you want them to do.

totpTOTP now has a few news features on it and a few people have asked 'can't we have more music instead?' What's your answer to that?

AndiWhen TOTP didn't have news features the show was performing averagely. Part of what I want to do on TOTP is make it feel like a music magazine. So you take away something from it, not just song after song after song. If we didn't have the news feature we wouldn't have had the Atomic Kitten exclusive first chat after their split was announced. If you're a music lover and a lover of pop you wanna know what's happening and you want to know first. I think that's better than having another record on. Especially at the moment when the charts aren't changing much. So I think the news section's a really worthy part of the show and I wouldn't let it go, I really like it.


Click here to find out how the acts are chosen, why there was no 40th anniversary celebration

 
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Andi Peters interview Tim Kash interview Corinna Shaffer interview


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