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Saturday: Girl Groups Night (BBC2, from 7.40pm)

Saturday night has become music night on BBC2, with the schedules usually turned over to a particular artist – last week, it was the turn of Madonna, and before that Johnny Cash.

Tonight though, the Beeb is celebrating an array of singers as it turns its attention to girl groups. And as the line-up proves, that covers a wide musical range.

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The night begins with TOTP2: Girl Groups (7.40pm), which rounds up performances from the much-loved pop show, ranging from the 1960s to the turn of the millennium, so expect to see everyone from The Supremes to TLC, with some B*Witched and the Pointer Sisters thrown in.


Next up is Bananarama at the BBC (8.40pm), which brings us a selection of the group’s performances from the archives – and there should be plenty to choose from, as they made the book of world records for the highest number of chart entries by an all-female group.

They were founded in 1980 by friends Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, and Keren Woodward, and made their top 40 debut with the Fun Boy Three collaboration It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It) two years later.

They struck out on their own with Shy Boy and even the departure of Fahey, who went on to form Shakespears Sister, couldn’t slow them down. Jacquie O’Sullivan joined as a replacement, and since her departure, Dallin and Woodward continued as a duo (although Fahey did rejoin for a reunion tour in 2017).

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Following that helping of nostalgia, it’s time for a very 21st-century girl group, Girls Aloud. Cheryl Tweedy (as she was then) Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh were brought together by the ITV talent show Popstar: The Rivals in 2002, with the idea being that they’d go head-to-head in the charts with the rival boyband, One True Voice.

In the end though, it wasn’t much of a competition. Their debut single, Sound of the Underground, trounced the lads’ effort to reach number one in the charts. The concert Girls Aloud: Tangled Up Live from the O2 (BBC2, 9.40pm) is a chance to remember just how many great hits they racked up, and a tribute to Harding, who sadly died in 2021 at the age of just 39.

Then the night takes a turn for the funky with Labelle in Concert (11.15pm). Probably most famous for their hit Lady Marmalade, it makes a case for Patti Labelle as one of the greatest voices to ever grace a girl group.

However, when many people think of girl groups, they think of one band – the Spice Girls. There’s a chance to see Sporty, Posh, Ginger, Scary and Baby through the years in The Spice Girls at the BBC (11.45pm).

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Finally, the documentary I’m in a Girl Group! (12.45am) explores the history of all-female bands with contributions from some of the acts already featured tonight, as well as the Bangles, Sister Sledge, the Ronettes.

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