"We want to be a credible stop for music in the UK": Fulwell 73 on Sounds Like Friday Night

Fulwell 73’s Gabe Turner says the return of music to primetime TV represents a “huge opportunity” for the biz.

The production team behind James Corden’s Late Late Show and Carpool Karaoke is launching the six-part Sounds Like Friday Night series later this month.

“It’s a huge opportunity for music to return to mainstream primetime television,” Turner (pictured) tells Music Week.

“We had heard from a lot of people that it was so hard to put music back on primetime TV, so that’s a challenge that any producer gets excited trying to conquer.”

The show will be the first regular primetime music programme to air on the BBC since Top Of The Pops was axed in 2006.

“In the modern age you’ve got to embrace the entertainment side a little bit more,” remarks Turner. “I don’t think you could just do a pure music show in primetime.

There are already loads of opportunities to see live music in different spaces so I guess what you’re really looking for is content that will enable you to feel like you are getting to know your favourite stars.”

Rachel Ashdown is commissioning executive for BBC Entertainment, while Turner and Suzi Aplin are executive producers for Fulwell 73. Paul Wright will be the showrunner and Toby Brack is series producer.

“Shows like The Old Grey Whistle Test and Top Of The Pops were brilliant - they’re tough acts to follow,” observes Wright. “But it’s a fun, creative challenge, and that was the appeal.

"Also, the fact that it’s on the BBC means that it’s got such a great home. It should feel like a party and it should feel inclusive.

We’re on mainstream television in a primetime slot so we’re trying to be as inclusive as possible.”

Fulwell first told Music Week of its desire to once again make music shows a regular feature on mainstream UK TV last year.

Asked if he was  hopeful that Sounds Like Friday Night could repeat the incredible viral success of Carpool Karaoke, Turner says: “You can’t think too much about getting something that travels.

Carpool Karaoke has been hugely successful and that’s all credit to James [Corden], he’s magical at the centre of it.

“The genesis of the idea wasn’t necessarily to get loads of viral hits, it was just to try and make some cool content that could exist in any space. If people like it and share it then it’s a huge bonus.

“Also, you need to earn the right to be a place where people come for their music clips, be it live performances or sketches. We just want to be a credible stop for music in the UK.”

In recent years Fulwell has produced sport documentaries (The Class Of ’92, I Am Bolt), concert films (Robbie Williams: One Night At The Palladium, One Direction: Where We Are) and feature films (White Island, Piggy).

“As programme makers you’ve got to make something you’re proud of,” notes Turner. “We’ve just got to try and focus on delivering what we think is a good show. The rest is out of our hands.

“We feel lucky and honoured to be in this position. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got to make as good a show as possible and hopefully we'll do a good enough job to get another shot at it.”

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