Featuring an array of performers from all over the world and representing an eclectic range of genres, this long-running BBC series is one of the last great music showcases on British television. Originating in 1992 as a spin-off from the earlier nineties evening arts programme The Late Show, Later... has long since outlasted its parent show and made its presenter, former Squeeze keyboard player Jools Holland, the face of British music TV (a role to which he first aspired on Channel 4's 80s series The Tube).
Initially recorded on a Tuesday and broadcast on Friday the same week, 2008 saw the introduction of Later... Live, a half-hour version of the programme broadcast live on Tuesday nights, followed up by the full-length pre-recorded edition on Friday. Aside from the substantial range of artists and styles covered in the programme's 18 years, Later is noted for several unique features:
- The "opening jam" of each episode, which introduces the night's guests a playing a short collective jam accompanied by Holland on piano.
- Jools Holland's chats with guests (usually the most famous visitors present on the particular evening).
- Special Later Presents... episodes which featuring a longer performance by one group. These are fairly rare; the only artists featured so far are Metallica, R.E.M., The Verve, Oasis, Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- The Hootenanny, a two-hour show taking place on New Year's Eve counting down to midnight, often featuring solo artists accompanied by Jools' Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
- A Spring Hootenanny took place once or twice, but it didn't really catch on.
- Artifact Title: As noted above, the title is a reference to it following The Late Show, which ceased broadcast in 1995.
- Once per Episode: Not in regards to the main show, but the Hootenanny nearly always ends with the song Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)
- Spiritual Successor: To many of the long since defunct music shows from The '80s, including The Tube (which Jools presented) and the legendary Old Grey Whistle Test.
- The Talk Show with Host Name