|Presented by||Ant & Dec (1998–2001)
Cat Deeley (1998–2005)
Sandra Coxe (2005)
Dave Berry (2005)
Holly Willoughby (2005)
Myleene Klass (2005–06)
Lauren Laverne (2005–06)
Johny Pitts (2005–06)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Location(s)||The London Studios (1998–2003)
Riverside Studios (2003–06)
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||29 August 1998– 1 April 2006|
CD:UK (an abbreviation of CountDown:United Kingdom) was a British music television programme. Originally run in conjunction with SMTV Live, the programme first aired on ITV on 29 August 1998 to rival the BBC's Live & Kicking and was the replacement for The Chart Show, which had been airing on the network for nine and a half years.
In contrast to its predecessor, which only showed promo videos, CD:UK was broadcast live on Saturday mornings with a studio audience and featured live performances, as well as star interviews and competitions. It also featured the Saturday Chart, which although was unofficial, usually reflected the new chart positions a day before the official chart was announced on Radio 1. This made the BBC's long-running Top of the Pops, which aired only the night before, seem very out-of-date broadcasting the previous week's chart. CD:UK later utilised an interactive chart based on viewers' votes, called the MiTracks Countdown. From 1999 to 2004, the show was sponsored by Tizer.
In 2002, the programmes was criticised for showing "raunchy" performances in a slot aimed at children, sparked by a performance of "Dirrty" by Christina Aguilera. In response, a spin-off programme entitled CD:UK Hotshots, featuring music videos which could be considered unsuitable for daytime viewing, was launched in January 2003 and broadcast overnight.
In its first seven and a half years, CD:UK had become one of the most important music programmes on British television, but by 2006, its future looked uncertain.
As time went on, due to her popularity with viewers, Deeley was offered more and more television work and went on to present Stars in Their Eyes and Fame Academy. This meant that she was absent from the show more and more and was frequently replaced by either a celebrity guest or Holly Willoughby from SMTV's successor Ministry of Mayhem. Deeley chose to leave the programme for good in March 2005. TRL presenter Dave Berry presented the programme for several weeks before Holly Willoughby became the new regular host presenting each fortnight with guest presenters such as Kelly Osbourne, Rachel Stevens, Brittany Murphy, Girls Aloud and Jayne Middlemiss filled in for the weeks when Willoughby was absent.
In August 2005, Myleene Klass was hired as main presenter alongside XFM DJ Lauren Laverne and Trouble TV presenter Johny Pitts as part of a major revamp of the programme, which was duly unveiled on 17 September 2005 with new titles, a re-designed studio and a new chart, the MiTracks Countdown, which allowed viewers to vote for their favourite and least favourite songs on the CD:UK website.
Although, it was initially reported that the re-launch had helped double viewing figures, audiences soon dropped below 1 million.
On 28 December 2005, it was announced that CD:UK was to cease production due to budget issues within the broadcaster. The final regular edition of the show was aired on Saturday 18 March 2006, followed by two compilation programmes on 25 March and 1 April, respectively.
On 20 April 2006, it was announced that production company Blaze Television had reached a deal with Five to revive the programme. However, Five announced on 2 June that Klass, Laverne and Pitts would not return to present the show, and that Berry would instead host the show alongside a yet to be decided female presenter, later announced as Caroline Flack. It was also announced that CD:UK would air at 17:30 on Saturday afternoons, and that the show should be back on air, initially by Autumn 2006, later pushed back to some time in 2007. However, nothing on the subject had been heard in several months and it seemed uncertain as to whether the show would return at all. It was officially announced on 17 April 2007 that CD:UK would not be returning.
CD:UK Hotshots was a spin-off programme, aired on the ITV network overnight. Introduced in January 2003, the show was initially presented by Cat Deeley, but she left to make way for MTV presenter Dave Berry who left in the summer of 2005 and was replaced by a rotating presenting team of Myleene Klass, Lauren Laverne and Johny Pitts.
As opposed to the main show, Hotshots consisted of presenters' links and music videos - some of which had been considered unsuitable for broadcast on CD:UK.
Although the original UK version has ended, an American version of the programme, CD USA, began on DirecTV's The 101 on 21 January 2006. Australian broadcaster Foxtel also air a local version of the show, renamed CD Live, on the Fox8 channel every Saturday evening. In Italy, the public television channel Rai Due has aired from 2003 to 2007 an Italian version of the show, renamed CD Live, every Saturday afternoon at 15:00.
- On 2 December 2000, Cat Deeley interviewed ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. When asked what was the most ridiculous rumour he'd heard about himself, he replied "getting a blow job in a bar", and then spoke about how one of his snakes "bit the fuck out of [him]". Dec apologised for Slash's comments and a feature on Slash's Snakepit, which was due to be shown the following week, was dropped.
- There was also a complete sound failure which prevented a performance by The Charlatans.
- On 20 March 1999, the show was interrupted by a stage invasion by Alan Driscoll, lead singer with techno band The Womb, who berated Ant and Dec for the show's reluctance to support non-mainstream and unsigned artists. During singer Kele Le Roc's set he unfurled a banner bearing his band's name, tore up a picture of Glamma Kid, and kicked over a microphone stand before being overpowered by security and led away from the studio, later claiming to have been "abused by several large security men". After explaining his actions to the show's producer, Driscoll was arrested and charged with criminal damage over the microphone, but the charges were subsequently dropped.
- In early 2002, singer Shaggy and Sacha Baron Cohen in his Ali G guise, filmed a feature for the show showing behind-the-scenes of the video for their single "Me Julie". During the skit the two singers often namechecked the show, only for Cohen to say "CD:UK? That's not even a word, more like Cuduk".
- Christina Aguilera performed her single "Dirrty", introducing her raunchy image amid to complaints from parents as the show was aimed at youngsters. She appeared to be wearing hotpants and knickers saying "Dirrty" on them with a bikini top.
- Pink was once asked to change her lyrics to her song "Just Like a Pill" to avoid swearing, (the song features several uses of the word 'bitch'). As a compromise, she did change the lyrics but she removed her top on stage to reveal a t-shirt underneath with 'f**k' written on it (asterisks covered the 'u' and 'c'). She was threatened with being banned from the show for her behaviour.
- One of the sponsorships stings from Tizer, which featured the "Tizer head" talking to Cat Deeley, was acknowledged by Deeley in the actual show, which aimed controversy at the Ofcom rule of keeping sponsorships of "live" TV shows separate from the live show itself.
- Tizer previously sponsored The Chart Show, the "ancestor" of CD:UK. They stopped their sponsorship of CD:UK in june 2003 due to the launch of the "!tz a Red Thing" campaign, thus this meant the sponsorship lasted almost five years. in september 2003 ribena sponsor the show until decmeber
- There were two compilation albums released in association with the show. The first was 2000's You Know Where it's At!, followed by More Wicked Hits in 2001.
- The song "When You Wasn't Famous" by The Streets makes a reference to CD:UK, notable because the song was released just two days before the last episode of CD:UK aired.