called ‘Discotheque', Granada Television began screening this series
on 2nd November 1968, hosted by Billy J. Kramer and Diane Greaves. It
was shown on Friday evenings between 5.20 – 5.50pm in the Granada, Anglia,
Harlech and Thames regions after pre-recording at the Manchester Granada
From the start of its second season on 24th January 1969 it became fully
networked. The show was moved to a Wednesday evening slot from 4.55
to 5.20pm and was hosted by Graham Bonney and Diane Greaves. On 19th
March 1969 Ayshea Brough became co-host with Bonney and that season
finished its run on 23rd April 1969. The series returned on 5th November
1969 under the new name ‘Lift Off’, still hosted by Bonney and Ayshea,
featured a resident group 'The Pattern', dance troupe 'The Feet' and
ran until 29th January 1970.
The next series began on 7th October 1970 when Graham Bonney and Ayshea
were joined at various times by Ollie Beak and Fred Barker. This series
ran until 30th December 1970. The 10th August 1971 series saw Ayshea
joined by Wally Whyton as co-host (and minus The Pattern) in a run that
ended on 12th January 1972. When it returned on 12th April 1972 it was
re-titled ‘Lift off with Ayshea’ and ran until 5th July 1972. The next
series began on 11th October 1972 and ran until 3rd January 1973. Subsequent
series ran from 27th April 1973 (with resident singer Guy Lutman and
backing singers Lynn Garner and Chris Marlow) and 17th October 1973
to 9th January 1974. The final series ran from 1st July 1974 until 17th
Like many TV shows of the time, most of the episodes no longer exist
although there are two episodes from the final season in the Granada
archives. They are episode 136 from 15th October 1974 which featured
The Bay City Rollers performing ‘Raining In Your Heart’, ‘Freedom Road’,
‘Shang-A-Lang’ and 'All Of Me Loves All of You’, Barry Blue with ‘Touch
of Your Loving Hands’, Ayshea Brough with ‘Horace Brown’ and Eli Culbertson
with ‘Mountain Boy'. Episode 144 from 17th December 1974 features Beano
with ‘Candy Baby’, Crane with ‘American Dream’, Stephanie de Sykes with
‘Only Love’, Vincent Edwards with ‘Wonderland’ and Showaddywaddy with
‘Hey Mr Christmas'. Interestingly, among the performances which were
wiped were David Bowie’s ‘Starman’, Mark Bolan’s ‘Truck On Tyke’ and
a Black Sabbath appearance.
The series was directed by Dave Warwick and Baz Taylor and produced
by Muriel Young. Musical arrangements were by Gerry Allison with musical
direction supplied by Derek Hilton.
Whyton was a former member of The Vipers skiffle group who were
resident at the 2I’s
coffee bar. He created Ollie Beak and Fred Barker and appeared
in numerous other children’s shows, including ‘Small Time’, ‘Lucky
Dip’, ‘Tuesday Rendezvous’, ‘Five O'Clock Club’, ‘Ollie and Fred’s
Five O'Clock Club’ and 'Five O'Clock Funfair’, several of them
produced by, and also featuring, Muriel Young.
The Scouse owl Ollie Beak and dogged dog Fred Barker were two
glove puppets that had originally featured in a series called
‘The Five O’Clock Club’ with Wally, who passed away on 22nd January
1997. Graham Bonney was a London-born recording artist whose singles
included ‘Super Girl'.
Muriel Young was a broadcaster who became famous for being the
first announcer on commercial television when it began in 1955.
She appeared as presenter, host and producer of numerous shows
over the years and is probably best remembered for being the host
of ‘The Five O'Clock Club’. This
children's entertainment show ran every Tuesday and Friday between
1963 and 1966, in which Muriel shared the show with the puppets
Ollie Beak and Fred Barker.