A staple of the BBC’s live music coverage since 1992, Later…With Jools Holland is a national institution. The show’s winning formula of contemporary acts, evergreen legends and rising stars - allied to the spotlight it shines on lesser-known talent - has stood the test of time, finding favour around the globe.
Originally broadcast from the BBC Television Centre, it has aired from The Maidstone Studios since 2013. Occasional special editions of the show have focused on major artists such as Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, The Verve and R.E.M.
Holland is in no doubt as to the reason for its longevity – the respect with which it treats its subject matter. “It’s the music, that’s the key,” he proclaims. “And also, trying to be the servant of the music and not the other way around.
On some TV shows they try and get the music to serve the purposes of the show. We are not trying to do that, that’s an important difference.
“There’s not another show like it in the world anymore and that’s why it’s sold all over the place - because it has this reputation for collecting the music of today, yesterday and tomorrow.”
Its commitment to helping break new acts remains as resolute as ever. “What I love is when you see a brand new young artist and an ancient legend who’s maybe from a different world,” says Holland.
“That’s a great mix and a great thing to see and hear. I would be upset if there were genres of music that we weren’t covering.”
New Year’s Eve tradition Jools’ Annual Hootenanny has been another long-running triumph, much to the surprise of the man himself. “I can’t believe that it has stayed on so long, but I’m delighted it has,” he grins. “My orchestra come to life on it because there are all these different artists that they can work with.”
He adds: “A strange but true story is that I was on tour in Arbroath when the idea for the Hootenanny was first mooted. We’d just heard on the news about [Arbroath-based Scottish singer and entertainer] Andy Stewart, who had been the face of New Year’s Eve in Britain throughout the ‘60s. It was his memorial and on the news they were saying to avoid Arbroath because there were traffic jams,
“[Later... producer] Mark Cooper called me and said, Do you want to do a New Year’s Eve show? I was touring at the time and said to Steve, my tour manager, Go straight into Arbroath, I don’t care about the traffic, we’re having a cup of tea and we’re paying our respects. It was like the baton being passed on so yeah, spooky story.”