The Hit List: Marvin and Rochelle on getting competitive

Marvin and Rochelle HumesImage copyright Getty Images

In sport, it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part. Unless you’re Marvin Humes.

“I’m already in training for my little girl’s sports day,” he tells BBC News. “They do a Dads’ race.”

“It’s actually embarrassing,” jokes his co-presenter and wife Rochelle. “Annoyingly he won it [last year], and he’s still going on about it.”

But Marvin (who adds he’s “got to retain his title this year”) was disappointed to find out that, at his daughter’s school, the competitive element had been taken out of the children’s races.

“With the Dads’ race there was a first, second and third prize,” he explains.

“But then for the kids, there’s no first prize. For the kids it’s just a pat on the back for taking part. When I was at school, it was all about winning. I mean, in life you gotta want to succeed, you know?”

“Marv gets really angry about this,” sighs Rochelle, adding: “We have very different views!”

The pair’s friendly-but-slightly-competitive chemistry is one reason they’ve become popular with viewers as a presenting duo.

More than a decade on from finding success as pop stars (Marvin as a member of JLS, Rochelle with The Saturdays) – both have now gone into presenting careers across radio and television.

(Side note: Heart DJ Rochelle is now one of three Saturdays with a radio gig – along with Mollie King on Radio 1 and Una Healy on Country Hits Radio.)

Marvin and Rochelle’s new show, The Hit List, which begins on Saturday, is a music geek’s dream.

Pairs of contestants compete for who can most quickly identify song titles and artists from short audio clips, with themed rounds and general knowledge questions thrown in.

As hosts, Marvin and Rochelle are following in the footsteps of Richard and Judy or Eamonn and Ruth; husband-and-wife duos the British public love to watch on screen – partly because of the little digs they can make to one another.

“There is a bit of that, he has a few pops at me about how many number ones [JLS] had and how many the Saturdays had,” Rochelle explains of the new series.

“We’re a married couple, it’s going to happen.”

Marvin agrees: “Yeah, there was a round about number ones and I said, ‘yeah there’s probably not that many Saturdays songs in there!'”

[The Saturdays had one single that reached the top of the charts, whereas JLS had five.]

Image caption The Hit List sees pairs of contestants compete to identify song titles and artists

Although it’s a quiz show, The Hit List will be one of the few music-based programmes on British TV.

In previous eras, Top of the Pops and MTV were hugely influential television brands, but gradually viewers have started to see less music on TV.

Later… with Jools Holland is still around, while the BBC have made attempts to reintroduce pop music shows in the shape of Sounds Like Friday Night.

But that show has yet to be recommissioned, and for booking agents, there are few options for major TV exposure beyond getting your artist on the music slot of Graham Norton or Jonathan Ross.

As a format, Rochelle says: “Music on telly was a winner, and it always was, and then it sort of died.

“For me, it’s really lacking, there used to be CD:UK, that’s my kind of telly, so we’re hoping to drop a bit of that back in to Saturday nights.

“Music is a big part of life for most people. And putting that on telly is just a perfect marriage. I never understand why it’s taken so long to have more music shows today.”

Marvin and Rochelle have previously hosted This Morning together, and Rochelle also filled in for Holly Willoughby recently while Holly was off filming I’m a Celebrity.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Marvin and Rochelle attended the Bafta TV Awards earlier this month

“You’re interviewing Theresa May one minute, and then discussing if women should have hairy armpits the next,” Rochelle says of the show.

(She isn’t kidding, she literally found herself interviewing the prime minister along with Philip Schofield in December.)

“That’s what I love about that show, that’s what makes it This Morning.”

But otherwise, the pair haven’t often teamed up to present together apart from occasional specials like Children In Need.

Working with your partner could be many people’s idea of a nightmare but Rochelle points out it has plenty of perks.

“When you’re starting something new, it can be chaos, and as well as do the gig, you’ve got to sort of get to know the other person and how they work.

“So I think one good thing about [working together] is that we don’t have to get to know each other.”

It has other benefits too, she says, especially if she spots a sentence she might stumble over in her script.

“If I don’t like something, I’ll go into the autocue and go ‘Marvin can say that,'” she laughs.

The Hit List begins on BBC One at 19:30 BST on Saturday 25 May.

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