When the history of the media comes to be written, the 1980s will
be seen as the time of America Calling. US TV giants such as MTV, CNN
and NBC worked towards a dream of one world, one people, one TV
As the decade drew to a close, however, it became clear that the people
preferred a regional view.
Recently MTV and CNN have moved to more localised outputs. Thus the
mighty MTV Europe became three MTVs: Northern, Central and Southern. Now
added to that is MTV UK, launched on 1 July by Christine Boar, head of
programming and production for the channel.
In the 1980s, Boar pursued her dream of working for Radio 1. Once she
achieved that, she had to find a new ambition.
’When I was a kid, my dad and I would race to the breakfast table
because the one who got there first got to choose the station we
He chose Radio 4 - which I thought was the dullest thing in the world -
and I chose Radio 1. Sitting in the tiny village I grew up in, I decided
I had to work for that station.’
She bombarded the BBC with letters throughout her O and A-level years
and finally got a job as a secretary. She worked her way up to
researcher level before meeting the glass ceiling. ’There were no female
BBC producers so, after being turned down for a trainee post twice, I
had to go and work outside the BBC as a producer for a few years until
the climate changed and I was able to come back in as a trainee at the
beginning of the 1990s,’ she explains.
Having been there and done that at the BBC she moved to MTV looking for
a new challenge. The new UK channel is offering an afternoon programme
called Up For It - a cut and paste job of interviews, videos, live
performances and archive clips put together to counter the zapping
tendency so strong in cable and satellite viewers. There’s also So 90s,
presented by rising comics Armstrong and Miller, featuring videos cut
with comedy. Boar says it’s the first time MTV has used comedy in this
way and it’s the new programme that excites her the most.
Others include Banned At Bedtime - a late night showing of the saucier
pop videos - and Collection where the channel plays out all the video
from an album cut with footage of the band. Boar also hopes to develop a
breakfast show, an Audience With programme with bands and a sort of
Saturday Night At The Palladium mix of live music and comedy.
She hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater, however. The channel
keeps most of the chart programmes, Singled Out, the Grind, MTV
Unplugged and fashion show Stylissimo which all work well with UK
audiences. Stylissimo will have regional opt outs, so that UK designers
with no continental sales can still get covered.
’It’s really exciting,’ Boar says. ’But then it needs to be to keep me
interested. I’m a bit of a workaholic, I’m always looking for something
new to do and, as a result, I have no life.’
Trainee producer, Radio 1
Producer, Radio 1
Head of talent and artist relations, MTV
Head of programming and production, MTV UK