Pop songwriter Mike Stock has launched an online music TV show to give some of the biggest stars of the 1980s financial help during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 68-year-old, who penned many of the decade’s enduring hits as one third of Stock Aitken Waterman, said he hoped the series would help artists who had been “largely ignored” in recent years.

That Was Then… This Is Now! will feature live performances and interviews from touring artists who have lost their livelihoods due to current restrictions on performance and travel.

(That Was Then… This Is Now/PA)

The five-part series was shot in 5k resolution at a studio in Worthing, West Sussex, and will air online weekly.

The first series will feature artists including Paul Young, Kim and Marty Wilde, Toyah, Steve Harley, Chesney Hawkes, The Fizz and more.

Veteran broadcaster Mike Read, best known for his BBC Radio 1 shows and for hosting Top Of The Pops, will be joined on presenting duties by Sky TV’s Hayley Palmer.

It will broadcast live at 7pm on Thursday evenings in a nod to the Top Of The Pops timeslot.

Stock, who produced the series independently, told the PA news agency: “I was looking at the artists I worked with back in the ’80s.

The Fizz (That Was Then… This Is Now/PA)

“Names that you will know have not had a great run latterly with the media and with television and radio interest – they’ve been largely ignored.

“I don’t blame that. Music moves on. But what they took to doing, and it seems ever popular, this ’80s style of revival weekend, rewind festivals.

“That really only started to happen really only 10 or so years ago in such a big way.

“But all of the ’80s artists that I work with and all of the others seem to be still popular enough to go and do these festivals, and earn a living at it.

“To make this story a bit shorter, because of Covid they’ve done nothing this year, and it’s really their only means of support.

Johnny Hates Jazz (That Was Then… This Is Now/PA)

“Most of them do all the festivals in the summer, maybe get in a pantomime or something like that in the winter, but there’s not much else for them.

“And whilst they are struggling to earn a living – they have no means of support – the BBC, for example, still play the reruns of Tops Of The Pops on BBC Four every Friday for the ’80s – a show which everybody watches, but the artists get nothing for it.

“So the BBC still milk those times but these artists can’t, so I just thought I’m in a position, I can do this, I can invest the time and money.”

Stock Aitken Waterman penned songs for Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Bananarama, Dead Or Alive and Donna Summer, among others.

Stock added: “I don’t know what else to do because the Government can’t help them.

“These guys are itinerants, they go from one gig to the next, they can’t get furlough, they can’t get 80% of their salary paid to them because they don’t have it.

“They have an idea of what they are going to earn year on year and I feel for them because that’s how I’ve been all my life.

“I’ve never earned a salary, no one’s ever paid me anything like that. I’ve only ever earned a royalty once something has been successful.”

Kim Wilde added: “Stepping onto the set of This Is Now with Mike Stock and Mike Read felt simultaneously like taking a step back in time, and taking the first exciting step forward to the next chapter in pop.

“The pop-loving public have been waiting for a show like this for a very long time. I’m so proud to be a part of its inception!”