The Viney Agency


Mark Cooper began writing about music when he reviewed The Sex Pistols’ last ever show at San Francisco’s Winterland for Record Mirror in January 1978.

While studying for a PhD in literature at UC Santa Barbara he then chronicled the new wave of British bands launching on the West Coast while writing features on Fleetwood Mac and The Jacksons. After returning to London in 1980 he wrote about the new pop, reggae and Tight Fit, first for Record Mirror and then for Number 1. He then worked at Virgin and Polygram in publicity, A&R and international before taking a researcher job on Channel 4’s Wired music series in 1988. Meanwhile Mark continued to contribute regularly to Q, The Guardian, City Limits and Mojo, covering everything from Luther Vandross to new country, NWA to English folk.

Mark joined the BBC’s Music & Arts department in January 1990 where he worked as the music booker and reporter on The Late Show. He began Later…with Jools Holland with Jools and director Janet Fraser-Crook in October 1992 and proceeded not to miss a single show for 26 years. He booked Later… on his own and then with colleague Alison Howe until the 26th Hootenanny in 2018. Mark initiated and led the BBC’s television coverage of Glastonbury from a muddy 1997 until a locked down 2020. He also Executive Produced some 250 music documentaries for BBC ONE, TWO and FOUR including the Britannia and America music series, Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of the South and the year by year histories of Top of the Pops.

Mark’s first hand account of the journey of Later…with Jools Holland tells the inside story of BBCTWO’s flagship music performance series as it captures over a quarter of a century of brilliant music performance, providing a platform for a broad array of artists and launching a staggering number of music careers. It was Mark who explained to Jay-Z why he couldn’t just do his numbers and split, who put Seasick Steve on the Hootenanny and persuaded Johnny Cash he simply had to come to Television Centre even when he wasn’t feeling well. From grime to Bjork, from Britpop to Triphop, from Smokey Robinson to Norah Jones, this is the story of how Later…began, evolved and endured.

This is Mark Cooper’s second book, succeeding 1982’s Liverpool Explodes!: Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, which Jarvis Cocker included in his Ten Best Music Books in The Guardian.


Night Witches