All Saints have claimed that the BBC asked them to take their tops off for a performance on Top of the Pops.
Their comments came as they discussed the sexism they faced when they started their careers, saying that whilst Britpop groups being ‘very arrogant’ and ‘very stroppy’ wasn’t perceived as a negative thing, them not smiling was.
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Melanie Blatt told the BBC: “We weren’t half as bad - but if we didn’t want to smile one day, or we weren’t really interested in doing an interview, we’d be labelled as stroppy cows.”
Sharing one particular experience, the band were said to have ‘shuddered’ as they recalled a time on Top of the Pops, thought to be from 1997, where producers allegedly wanted to shoot the band from the shoulders up to give the illusion that they performed naked.
Shaznay Lewis claimed: “They were filming images of us to use as a backdrop, and they wanted us to take our tops off.”
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Natalie Appleton explained: “The vision was that we looked naked and we didn’t want that vision,” with Melanie adding: “But because it was such a huge show, we were told ‘if you don’t do it, you don’t get to go on the show’.”
Natalie continued on to say that the girl working with them was ‘in tears’ as she tried to ‘fight their corner’, with the band eventually compromising with producers.
She said “We dropped our tops to here [indicating her armpits] so it would look like we were topless.”
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Nicole Appleton concluded: “We did it but we were stroppy about it. Again, we got labelled as being difficult.”
A BBC spokesman said: “We’re not able to comment on something that is alleged to have happened nearly 20 years ago, but today we seek to ensure that everyone working at the BBC does so in an environment in which they are comfortable.”