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The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music

The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music

Mon May 27, 10-11pm, ITV

By Phil Harrison
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It’s probably one of 2013’s lesser-noted anniversaries. But the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ franchise turns 30 this year. And, almost by stealth, it’s become one of the most successful business ventures in musical history. This amiable documentary gathers together various ‘Now…’ enthusiasts including Dom Joly, The Saturdays, Dermot O’Leary and Pete Waterman to sing its praises and ponder its significance.

As a piece of analysis, there’s not much to this film, but as a fun, funny wander down memory lane, it does the job. The film begins by claiming that the series ‘got us listening to all kinds of people we’d never have heard of’. Given that these were generally, by definition, hit records, that seems a bit of a stretch. But it does function as a reminder of pop’s qualities as Proustian memory trigger – this most apparently ephemeral of art forms often feels strangely timeless too and that paradox is brilliantly captured on these albums.
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