Cruel TV Shows Humiliating Pop Wannabes, Says Beatles Producer; Music Industry Legend Is Appalled at the Way Pop Idol Performers Are Treated
Byline: Dave Roberts
THE legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin yesterday hit out at 'cruel' TV talent shows which set out to humiliate the contestants.
He despaired at the current trend for television programmes such as Pop Idol, which poke fun at young singers making their desperate bids for stardom.
Sir George, who has produced around 700 records and masterminded 30 number one hits, said there was as much ambition and talent today as when he started out in the music industry 50 years ago.
But he was appalled at the way performers seeking fame and fortune were being treated in televised competitions watched by millions.
Sir George, who is regarded as probably the most influential and prolific producer in music history, said, 'Television is unequalled for exploiting talent but it is awful to see people being pulled apart like that.
'Those programmes like Pop Idol are all about humiliation. We seem to like to see people being humiliated on television.
'Gareth Gates and Will Young seem to have done all right but you can bet that the people who are benefiting are not the ones in front of the camera; it is the people dishing out the criticism who are making all the money.
'I don't like to see such cruelty on television.'
He said Big Brother was another programme guilty of using the kind of humiliation to win ratings.
But Sir George, 77, conceded that the TV talent show was nothing new.
'Years ago it was Opportunity Knocks, so it has always been there,' he said.
It is not the first time that Sir George has criticised the entertainment industry.
Previously he had condemned the drugs culture and called on show business to clean up its act.
He said recently, 'Perhaps the record companies could of their own volition declare that they would not sign a new artist if they were known to be habitual users of drugs.
'What's more important? Is it the future of the country, the future of youth, or the bottom line?'
He said The Beatles knew he disapproved of their drug- taking and that the relationship was a bit like a teacher's with his class. The veteran music maker, described as 'the fifth Beatle', said the band Coldplay and its lead singer Chris Martin were examples of 'great talent' although success was still being gauged by whether an artist made it big in America.
'Look at Robbie Williams - he is very successful here but he still hasn't made it in America,' said Sir George. …