Kick Out the Jams: The Story of XFM
Titled after the first-ever song to play on their airwaves, Kick Out the Jams follows the development of XFM from its rebellious pirate radio roots in the early 90’s, through to its official FM radio launch in 1997 as a major platform for launching alternative talent into the mainstream. The doc deep-dives into the struggles and influence of the station which gave rise to the likes of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, whose global hits The Office and The Ricky Gervais Show were originally developed while working at the radio station. XFM also unlocks its rich musical vault, including rare footage and unseen photos of Oasis and Blur, allowing an intimate look into the station at the centre of the Britpop craze of the 90s. Kick Out the Jams is directed by Ray Burdis (The Wee Man) and produced by Brian Anderson (Britain’s Gangland) and Ian Jefferies (Faces of the Underworld).
What the critics say….
“This account of the rise and fall of radio station XFM….will bring rheumy tears of nostalgic wistfulness to the eyes of Gen-Xers and older millennials who were living in London in the 1990s…a classic story of cool kids who get to live the dream then either sell out to the man or be betrayed by the guys who sold out, but still end up doing all right in the end. The film makes a big fuss out of saying that there was virtually no other station at that time devoted to the alternative music scene and the Britpop darlings who were emerging then”… - Leslie Felperin, The Guardian
“London in the early 90s was a place where the indie music scene hadn’t yet gained a foothold on mainstream radio. The gap in the market was there, but the only way to capitalise on it was through pirate radio stations…the documentary is directed by Ray Burdis and features the likes of former XFM employees Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, alongside various other DJs and industry insiders involved with the station. Kick Out the Jams prides itself in romanticising XFM’s position in music history…tailor-made for those with fond memories of listening to XFM in 1997” - Andrew Murray, The Upcoming
“The early part of the documentary, detailing the rise of XFM through the pirate radio station network, is fascinating and hilarious. The job interview process sounds like something out of a spy novel with applicants accepting they must travel to their audition wearing a blindfold due to the illegal nature of the operation….The success of (Ricky) Gervais and (Stephen) Merchant to an extent takes over the documentary with a digression on the origins of The Office and recollections of Gervais writing skits and interrupting other broadcasters while they were on-air. Kick Out the Jams: The Story of XFM is an affectionate tribute to a radio station whose influence continues to the present day and not only in the field of music” - Dave Cunningham, The Hub