It was forty-five years ago today

This Town stars, musicians and fans mark 2 Tone anniversary at special BBC event.

Actors from the Steven Knight drama This Town joined members of pioneering British bands The Specials, The Selecter, and The Beat in marking the 45th anniversary of 2 Tone music at a special BBC event.

Freya Parks and Ben Rose, who play Fiona and Bardon in the prime-time drama, were amongst the audience for BBC WM Celebrates 2 Tone in Birmingham held at the historic O2 Institute live music venue in Digbeth, Birmingham on Thursday 2nd May.

The evening featured on-stage conversations between host Adrian Goldberg and Mark Almond, part of the costume design team on This Town; Horace Panter (The Specials), Pauline Black (The Selecter) and Ranking Jnr (The Beat), as well as live performances from BBC Introducing act Lobster, and The Beat featuring Ranking Jnr.

Tributes to 2 Tone icons including Ranking Roger and Terry Hall, as well as recognition of the global impact of the genre and culture, were welcomed by fans who had travelled from across the UK, along with members of the Midlands ska community and music industry guests.

An hour-long package of highlights from the evening will be broadcast on BBC Radio WM on Monday 6th May at 6 pm and will be available to stream via BBC Sounds.

Pauline Black OBEsaid, “The 45th anniversary is a testament to how good the music and the bands were. My father was Nigerian, my mother was English – I am 2 Tone personified. We were actually talking about a movement; a movement that had a way of looking at the world.”

Saturday 4th May will mark 45 years since the release of Gangsters on the 2 Tone label, widely acknowledged as the starting point for a phenomenon which originated in Coventry and Birmingham and went on to sweep the world.

Ranking Jnr (pictured) said, “We’re very grateful for the love and support on what was an amazing marking 45 years of 2 Tone – and The Beat. My father was an inspiration to the music business in Birmingham, and also worldwide. He did a lot for 2 Tone. The atmosphere and the vibe from the audience was unbelievable; a very special night.”