wed 13/12/2017

Adele at the BBC, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Adele at the BBC, BBC One

Adele at the BBC, BBC One

Reclusive singer announces new album '25' with BBC special on Friday

She's back! Graham Norton hosts TV Adelathon

As you all know by now, Friday is D-Day for Adele's new album 25, and part of the all-media Adelathon is Friday night's show on BBC One, Adele at the BBC. It's a mix of live performances and taped sequences linked together by chunks of interview with Graham Norton, and makes the perfect relaunch package for the reclusive superstar. It opens, aptly enough, with her performing "Rolling in the Deep".

It probably won't surprise you to learn that a visibly excited Norton is not at his most critical. There aren't any questions about Adele's ill-starred songwriting collaborations with Damon Albarn and Phil Collins, for instance, with the host preferring to accentuate the positive. "Skyfall" is introduced as "surely the very best Bond theme of all time", and he can hardly contain himself as he reminds us of the wonderfulness of Adele's previous album, 2011's 21, which sold over 30 million copies. ("That was nuts! It's phenomenal!")

Luckily, Adele herself brings welcome doses of no-nonsense robustness as she roves across such topics as visiting a specialist in Boston to have an operation on her throat, how pregnancy caused her voice to drop into her boots, which is why "Skyfall" is pitched so low, and how her management implemented a stern vetting policy over her Twitter account to curb the singer's previous fondness for tweeting while under the influence. Apparently it is not true, though, that for her 24th birthday Rihanna sent her a topless photo of herself and a cake shaped like a pair of pink boobs. "I've never 'eard that one! I wish!" declares the star, delivering one of her astonishingly filthy cackles.

Musically, she sounds powerful and fighting fit, blasting through the likes of "Rumour Has It" and "Hometown Glory", and unleashing a tear-jerking take of the monster hit single "Hello" (though I keep expecting her to sing "Is it me you're looking for?"). Other new songs include the haunting "Million Years Ago" (a little bit reminiscent of "Windmills of Your Mind", in a good way) and the second single "When We Were Young". She sings "Skyfall" backed by a chorus, strings and brass, sounding like the finest Shirley Bassey since the original one.

Perhaps the nicest surprise is a filmed comic sketch involving a bunch of Adele impersonators, but we're not allowed to talk about it. You'll just have to tune in.

Apparently it's not true that for her 24th birthday Rihanna sent her a cake shaped like a pair of pink boobs

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters