Jools Holland keeps us entertained again

Friday: Later – with Jools Holland; (BBC Two, 10pm)

Jools Holland is keeping viewers entertained
Jools Holland is keeping viewers entertained

Although there finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, and live music will hopefully be returning to venues during the summer, the challenging times will be with us for a while yet.

Thankfully, Jools Holland is keeping viewers entertained with the latest run of his show filmed at his unique South London recording studio.

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Later… is by far the longest-running live music series on British television, and the previous run (the 56th if you’re still counting) was one of its most successful yet, achieving the show’s highest average audience figures in over 10 years.

Since 1992, the boogie-woogie piano playing host has been meeting and performing with both rising stars and established greats on his show.

Already in 2021, we have seen Arlo Parks, Kings of Leon, Sleaford Mods, Moses Boyd, Rag’n’Bone Man, Peggy Seeger, Tom Jones, Wolf Alice, Pa Salieu and Mahalia performing with Jools or otherwise. And this range and breadth of guests continues to make its host proud.

“The whole point of music is that it’s an international language – we have African, American, French, German, Spanish artists,” he said in an interview with the London Evening Standard in 2018. “It feels like the United Nations. It’s not my job to express a view but we put people on who have views and let them express themselves – it’s a voice for grime artists who are concerned about issues. If you want to understand a country, you’re much better off studying the artists than the politicians. We get people who may go on to be big, as well as music that doesn’t have a home elsewhere on TV, like African or folk music. And we put on old music.”

This week’s show features another typically eclectic selection of musicians, beginning with Laura Mvula, who will be choosing and discussing her favourite performances from the Later… archive. The award-winning Birmingham songstress, known for her inventive, atmospheric mix of R&B, jazz, classical and pop, will share news on what she has been up to since she was last on the show in 2016.

She will also update viewers on her third album, the recent release of a livestream concert titled Under A Pink Moon, and her love of the keytar. Performing on the show this week and making their TV debut, is south London post-punk four-piece Dry Cleaning, aka vocalist Florence Shaw, guitarist Tom Dowse, bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton.

Filmed at east London’s Moth Club, they’ll play their recent BBC 6 Music play-listed track, Scratchcard Lanyard, from their upcoming debut album, New Long Leg. The band have worked with producer John Parish, best known for his work with PJ Harvey, on this forthcoming record.

Finally, Jools also welcomes back prolific singer-songwriter Paul Weller. The legendary Modfather invites viewers into his Black Barn studios in Surrey, for a special performance of a track from his new LP, Fat Pop (Volume 1), the follow-up to last year’s acclaimed On Sunset.

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