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The Tube Is Back!

The Tube, Britain's most innovative and iconic music show, returns from 3 November on Channel 4 Radio after a break of 19 years as a brand new radio show. The monthly show will be back at 6pm on Fridays at www.channel4radio.com and presented by Blur legend Alex James, newcomer Emily Rose and Blue Peter's Konnie Huq.

Alex James, Emily Rose and Konnie Huq will present The Tube in Manchester in front of a live studio audience, and will be supported by co-presenter Anthony H Wilson. The show, produced by UK 1 FM, will feature a mix of new and unsigned acts together with established big names.

Bands on the first show, which goes online on November 3, include New Order, Camera Obscura, Clinic and Eskimo, playing live in front of an audience at Blueprint Studios in Manchester. The producers, north-west-based independent UK1FM, have pulled off something of a coup in persuading Freebass, the collective name for Hooky, Mani and Andy Rourke of New Order, Primal Scream and the Smiths, respectively, to compose the show's signature tune, which, just to complete the name-dropping, has been remixed by the Utah Saints. Such is the affection for The Tube that Michael Stipe of REM also pops up in a phone interview with Hacienda and Factory Records guru Tony Wilson.

So why is 4Radio going to so much trouble and expense to revive an old TV format? Part of the answer is that there is nothing like The Tube in British media now, in a world dominated by thematic music channels from MTV and Emap. It is also that there is genuine desire at Channel 4 to create innovative fresh radio that broadens the range of commercial stations and offers an alternative to the BBC. Nathalie Schwarz, director of 4Radio, has already signed up John Peel's son Tom Ravenscroft to present a weekly new music show, and the revival of The Tube is just the next step in developing Channel 4's music portfolio.

One of the innovations in the show is a quiz hosted by Tony Wilson, called Ayepod or Naypod, where the audience is used as an interactive music panel. The idea is to play songs and ask the audience whether they would have it on their MP3 player. The tracks chosen ranged from the bizarre Screamo by Enter Shikari, which left most participants speechless, to the ghastly King Kong by Shanadoo, Japan's answer to the Spice Girls. Ayepod or Naypod is Jukebox Jury for the download generation, but with a freshness and attitude that will make it one of the highlights of the radio show.

The tube begins from November 3rd at www.channel4radio.com.

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