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TV Quickfire: Kim Appleby on Smashing Hits! The 80s Pop Map Of Britain & Ireland

The 80s didn't just introduce leg warmers, shoulder pads and permed hair, it also brought us top pop. We quiz Kim Appleby (56), of Mel and Kim fame, who's heading off on a TV road trip with Midge Ure (64), to discover why the decade produced so many hits

Kim Appleby with Neville Staple of The Specials in Smashing Hits! The 80s Pop Map of Britain & Ireland

TELL US WHAT THE SHOW – SMASHING HITS! THE 80S POP MAP OF BRITAIN & IRELAND – IS ALL ABOUT.

It's about how diverse music was in the 80s and what came out of different areas. It's about how we flew the flag for Britain. [Our music] was very prominent in the charts in America to the point that Billboard called it the British Invasion. It's about how great we used to be!

WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO THIS SHOW?

It's about the decade I'm very familiar with, a decade I feel I have a very soft spot for. I think we were producing great pop songs, very diverse as well, so I'm very proud to be a part of this project. It's not just another 80s show, it goes a lot deeper... if you watch it you'll see it's fascinating stuff, it's very educational.

YOU OBVIOUSLY ALSO LEARNT A LOT DOING THE SHOW – WHAT STOOD OUT?

The punk period, not that I was too young, it just wasn't my sound. I do remember the Sex Pistols and I remember that whole rebel phase, but it wasn't really music or a movement that I was into, so I learnt a lot about punk. Also, what I found interesting was about the Thatcher era. There wasn't a lot to be happy about, but I don't remember it that way. I remember it was a very exciting time for music, for fashion, for art. The 80s was just brilliant.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON THE ROAD FOR THIS SERIES?

Fantastic. Midge told me fascinating stories and it was great. I couldn't have asked for a better partner, to be honest with you. It worked, it shouldn't [have worked] on paper, but it worked.

DID MAKING A TV SHOW FEEL EASY?

I've done theatre and obviously I've done TV to promote whatever I was doing with my sister [Mel Appleby, who died from cancer in 1990] or as a solo artist, but this was a whole new ball game. I really enjoyed it. I'd like to do more of it – it's great being with a crew.

DO YOU MISS MAKING MUSIC?

I'm always writing [music], I'm always involved in music. I've chaired the Ivor Novello contemporary panel, as well as sitting on the committee, so I never left music in that sense. Do I miss being a pop star? No, not really. The music never goes, it's always there, it's just where you want to take it.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED?

[The internet] has changed it hugely, for the good and the bad. The good is you no longer need a record label, you can self-release, you can also pick up and create a fan base very quickly. But also I think that it has created this snacking generation that just snack on music, and get very bored of it quickly. Everything is being diluted because there is no longevity apart from acts like Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Adele, Sade – they still have that market that enjoys the physical – they want to know who produced it, they want to know who played on it, they want that physical thing.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT?

I tend to listen to music from word of mouth, via friends. I couldn't tell you what's going on in the charts at all, I just know what I like. I like electro, so I like a lot of stuff that comes out of France.

:: Smashing Hits! The 80s Pop Map of Britain & Ireland starts on BBC Four on Friday July 6.

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