Comedian Rhod Gilbert to front BBC Four series UK’s Best Part-time Band with Midge Ure, Peter Hook and Jazzie B

So far, the search for the UK’s Part-time Band has been a dream road trip for me. The range of music and bands we have come across has really surprised me, and the standard has been amazing, all the more so because this isn’t what these people do for a living.Rhod Gilbert
Date: 08.01.2016     Last updated: 11.01.2016 at 14.40
Category: BBC Four
In this new prime-time BBC Four series from Wall To Wall (a Warner Bros. Television Production UK Ltd Company), comedian Rhod Gilbert (pictured) is confirmed to host the programme in which he embarks on a road trip across the country, on a mission to find the UK’s Best Part-time Band.

To help Rhod on his sonic journey, he has recruited Ultravox front man, Midge Ure, who heads home to Glasgow before taking in a tour of Northern Ireland and Wales. Championing the north of England is former New Order and Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, and in the south of the country, Rhod is accompanied by legendary Soul II Soul producer Jazzie B. Along the way, they discuss the joy of service stations, rock ‘n’ roll tour antics, riders, band dynamics, musical influences and some of the untold stories behind these music legends’ greatest hits.

Rhod Gilbert says: “So far, the search for the UK’s Part-time Band has been a dream road trip for me. The range of music and bands we have come across has really surprised me, and the standard has been amazing, all the more so because this isn’t what these people do for a living. To be joined by such legends as Midge Ure, Peter Hook and Jazzie B on this incredible journey makes it all the more exciting.”

From across the UK, more than 1,200 bands have applied, playing rock to reggae, ska to skiffle, bhangra to blues and everything in between. Leading double lives, by day they might be doctors, window cleaners or waiters, but at night they shed their work clothes, pick up a Les Paul guitar and channel their inner rock god. What binds them all? An incredible passion for music and an escape from the nine to five grind.

Midge Ure says: “Traveling round the country hearing musicians doing what they love has been an absolute pleasure. Our musical future doesn't lie with karaoke singers and talent shows. It is in the hands of live musicians who will play anywhere, anytime just for the sheer joy of doing it.”

Peter Hook says: "I was excited about the opportunity to see new groups and I am a fan of Rhod's anyway... Joy Division were a part-time band, we all had jobs as we needed them to subsidise the band. I was interested to see how other people handled it... what their hopes and dreams were. There are some great bands and I was really pleased. It also made me appreciate how lucky I have been to realise my dreams."

Jazzie B says: “I’ve been surprised by the whole thing. There’s been variety, there’s been depth, it’s been real rock 'n’ roll. I’ve gotta say I’ve been inspired. I really love my job, I really love what I do and this epitomises everything I’ve been about.”

This is no run of the mill talent show – this is a rock ‘n’ roll documentary, over three episodes on BBC Four, about a music competition. In each regional episode, Rhod and one of the British music legends head off in a tour van to visit bands playing in rehearsal spaces, pubs, barns and bedrooms.

At the end of each road trip, five acts are selected for a regional battle of the bands, where they compete for a place in the Grand Final, to be broadcast on BBC Two, with one act finally being crowned ‘The UK’s Best Part-time Band’, and the chance to perform at a BBC Music event in 2016.

Cassian Harrison, Editor of BBC Four, says: “BBC Four is the home of music on television and I’m delighted to have Rhod Gilbert and three of the most respected musicians in the industry on board for this series, bringing with them their wealth of experience of band-life and invaluable insight into what sets certain bands apart. Celebrating the passion of amateur music makers of all cultural backgrounds and genres up and down the country, this series is exactly the kind of music programming I want to see on the channel and I’m thrilled that these music legends are coming on the road with us.”

Commissioned by Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, Music, the series will also feature the day-to-day lives of the band members. Viewers will discover what inspires them - what has kept them playing all these years, decades even… and where their love of music comes from.

Jan Younghusband says: “The UK’s Best Part-time Band is a real celebration of music making. This series shows that it’s not just the major pop stars that entertain fans, but ‘part-time’ musicians who perform to thousands of people weekly all across the United Kingdom, enjoying music in our pubs and clubs. We are very excited to be able to bring these bands to the nation in The UK’s Best Part-time Band. But above all of this for me, the most exciting aspect is the unique access we get in seeing how these bands work together.”

Produced by Wall To Wall Media, The executive producer is Mark Saben, series producer is Tom Willis, and series director is Stuart Pender. Leanne Klein is Chief Executive of Wall to Wall Media.

Notes to Editors

Heat Gig Information

On Thursday 7 January 2016, Rhod Gilbert headed north to The Leadmill in Sheffield, with judge Joy Division and New Order legend Peter Hook.

On Wednesday 13 January 2016, Rhod Gilbert heads south to Scala in London with Soul II Soul legend Jazzie B.

On Friday 15 January 2016, the show will head to the Limelight Venue in Belfast with Ultravox legend Midge Ure.

To join the audience for the regional heats apply here: sroaudiences.com

BBC Four is the home of music programming, with 2016 bringing People’s History of Pop – the stories from four decades of popular music through the eyes of the UK's music fans, with additional programming on Radio 2. The documentary series appeals to fans around the UK for their most precious, most personal and rarest music memorabilia. More details here: bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/peoples-history-of-pop

Starting in January is Music Moguls, a new three-part series exploring the untold history of the pop and rock worlds, told by the ‘Music Moguls’ - Producers, Managers and PR giants. Due to transmit from 15 January, the programme will take viewers on an exclusive tour of the music industry in the company of a small group of hugely influential insiders and their artists. Between them, they have shaped the face and sound of popular music loved by audiences around the world. More details at: bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/bbc-four-new-music-tv-commissions

A one-off documentary for BBC Four, Nicola And Wynton: Birth of a Violin Concerto (working title), explores a unique musical collaboration between American jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. The film follows the two musicians as they embark on a journey that culminates in the creation and performance of a violin concerto written by Marsalis especially for Benedetti.

BBC Worldwide recently announced the independent documentary film Daft Punk Unchained will premiere in the UK on BBC Four in early 2016, and has been sold internationally. Directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre and co-written by Marina Rozenman, Daft Punk Unchained explores the exceptional pop culture phenomenon of the last 20 years that is Daft Punk. Shot in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and Paris, the film includes rare footage of Daft Punk and exclusive interviews with their friends and closest collaborators Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Michel Gondry, Peter Lindbergh, Leiji Matsumoto, Paul Williams, Joseph Trapanese and Pedro Winter.

Music television highlights on BBC Four in December included Gypsy: Live From The Savoy Theatre, Roy Orbison: Only The Lonely, and I’m Not In Love: The Story Of 10cc.

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