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Work Work Work.

It’s been a busy year to be fair. I’m really happy about it. Who would have thought I’d still be around?!

Basically my life when you distill it down isn’t that complicated to be honest. Monday to Friday I make Coronation Street. The weekends I do my radio show on a Saturday and generally a gig somewhere. Sunday I lie on my couch with my remote control in my hand and order my children around and on Monday morning I get up and do it all again.

I love what I do. I don’t have any more unfulfilled ambitions. I’ve been dead lucky with my career that I have had some really iconic roles. Red Dwarf, Robot Wars, Takeshi’s Castle, Coronation Street. There definitely has been no plan to my career!

The Ways of the Dwarf.

I took a few months off to make the new Red Dwarf which has gone really well. We are dead proud of it. We think it’s funny, we wanted to make it back into a sitcom. We really did take a lot of time and effort into making it as good as we possibly could, making it character based, not leaving the ship too much. We got that hot sweaty enclosed, claustrophobic vibe back which is where Red Dwarf works best. The scripts by Doug Naylor were just exceptional. Danny, Chris and Robert are absolutely on fire and it’s just great to be one of their mates.

You have to realise that I have been doing Red Dwarf most of my adult life. I’m 48 now and I started Red Dwarf when I was 23 and between the cast we have running gags that have been going for 25 years and we still laugh at them! We tell the same stories over and over again and still laugh. We genuinely enjoy each others company. I’m still in awe of their talents. Chris Barrie is the funniest man, I have learnt so much off him, I rob jokes of him all the time. I pick his comedy pockets.

Funk and Soul Brothers.

This album “The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club”, we are releasing is the first of three, with another next year and one the year after. Whittling the album down to 19 tracks was hard man. We tried to replicate what a night at the club would sound like. We have a lot of residencies that we do. We try and show what’s happening around the world musically. There are only about 4-5 old songs on the album the rest are by bands who are working and doing it now. I didn’t want the album to be a history lesson. I wanted it to be an exercise in living culture. This is happening now, some of it might sound like it was recorded in the 60’s but it wasn’t, it was recorded yesterday.

Radio Days and Saturday Nights.

I’ve always said I’m no expert with music I’m more of an enthusiast. The good thing about 6 Music is that you have a load of experts and a load of enthusiasts and that’s the way I think you make good radio. You need to have people who know about music and people who love it. The longer I have been in the game the more knowledge I have soaked up. I’m in the really great position that I get to do a funk and soul show on 6 Music and have been doing it for over 10 years now. I do love the music and learn more about it everyday. I’d never call myself an expert because there are so many people who know so much more than me.

The vibe we get from the radio show is amazing. We get so many emails from people dancing round their kitchen, making pasta or whatever, teaching their kids to dance. It’s a real party show, but it’s a real family show too. It’s cross generational, we get emails from real youngsters and real oldsters who are into it. It’s a great scene setter for getting ready on a Saturday night. It’s a great alternative to the X factor.

If your Saturday nights are all about the X factor them I’m very sorry for you. The radio show gives you a real alternative with decent music, real drums, real bass. There are never any real musicians on the X factor. It’s just people singing to backing tapes. Its wrong on so many levels, it’s a music show which doesn’t seem to like real musicians.

A Musical Education.

I was dead lucky growing up. My dad came over from the West Indies in the late 50’s/ early 60’s, he had a couple of shillings on his pocket and a bag full of records. I grew up listening to Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and the Rev Al Jackson and stuff like that, it was just beautiful music.

When the punk started to happen and everyone was pogoing around I was listening to Parliament and Funkadelic and stuff like that. I had a completely different musical journey to what would be a mainstream one because my dad was into Black American music and he had a really nice record collection. When everyone was listening to The Beatles I was listening to Hootchie Coochie Man by Fats Waller and records by B.B King and Muddy Waters. My Dad gave me a Black musical education.

Led Zeppelin 4 was one of my first albums… I think I swapped it for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath to be honest. I used to swap albums with mates all the time. I used to love Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principal album, I played it to death, that’s a brilliant album. I loved Electronica when I was growing up too. Kraftwerk, Devo, Gary Numan Tubeway Army.

Disposable Histories.

The one good thing about music is the history of it, which never goes away. Some records will never die. People pass on but the music stays and that’s what’s so beautiful about music.

Music is so disposable nowadays. You used to emotionally invest in music. You went and bought it, took it home in a bag. It was an event to open it up and stick it on the record player, hoping it wouldn’t jump. Sticking a 2p piece on top of the needle just to make sure it didn’t jump. Reading the sleeve notes, ingesting the lyrics. It was an experience. Kids now have ear buds and you aren’t sure if they are listening to music or not. They are in their own private world, it used to be the case if someone had a record on the whole house heard it!

Because I work in T.V I tend to know a lot of people on the T.V so I don’t find it a good way of relaxing. So I come home and put a record on to unwind and let the music take me somewhere else.



Saturday 24th November:
ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY: Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club – Band On The Wall // Manchester

Friday 14th December:
Craig Charles Xmas Funk & Soul Show – 51 Degrees // Preston

Saturday 15th December:
LONDON ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY – Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes – London

Saturday 15th December: Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show – Concorde 2 // Brighton
Craig Charles + The Impellers

Saturday 22nd December:
Soundcrash Funk & Soul Boat Party – The Dixie Queen // London
Craig Charles + Riot Jazz + Jon Kennedy + Plus special guests

Sunday 23rd December:
Craig Charles Funk & Soul Christmas Special – Chic Bar // Hitchin
Craig Charles + DJ Roch

Sunday 30th December:
Craig Charles Xmas Funk & Soul Show – The Duchess // York

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.