Thank Your Lucky Stars Top Of The Pops Royal Variety Gadzooks! It's All Happening! Jack Good Lift Off! Ready Steady Go! Juke Box Jury Eurovision
Pop Go The Sixties Pop & Music Shows 1960-64 Pop & Music Shows 1965-69 Magical Mystery Tour 6.5 Special Pan's People Around The Beatles Neville Wortman The Monkees
|A show called
'The Hit Parade', produced by Francis Essex, was first transmitted by
the BBC in January 1952 from Studio 'G' at Lime Grove (that was later
to host 'Top Of The Pops') and was described in the Radio Times as '...
the most ambitious attempt yet made to present popular music on the screen
in a directly visual way'. This apparently meant using dance sequences
to dramatise the song lyrics with a forerunner of the iconic 'Pan's People'.
The show did not present the original artists but used house musicians,
featuring vocalists Petula Clark and Denis Lotis, to recreate the popular
songs of the day and pre-dating by several months the start of the UK
singles chart. The show was briefly revived in 1955.
Essex also produced another show for the BBC called 'Off The Record', in May 1955, which was hosted by bandleader Jack Payne and was not only more eclectic in terms of artists featured but also included some music news and the occasional short feature on aspects of the record industry. Artists who typically appeared on the show included Ronnie Hilton, Alma Cogan (Dreamboat), The Four Aces (Stranger in Paradise) and Max Bygraves.
This programme survived until 1958 with the latter output starting to feature more of the new rock'n'roll sounds.
|On that weekend
evening the BBC took full advantage of the new timings to experiment with
a programme aimed at older children and young adults. A short news bulletin
was broadcast at 6.00pm, lasting five minutes, following which a live
music program called '6.5 Special' first aired. 'Magazine' format programmes
such as 'Tonight' (18th February 1957) catered for a wide variety of people
getting home from work on weekdays but the weekend viewing pattern was
somewhat different. Programme planners decided that something aimed at
young adults would be more suitable to fill the gap between children's
television and the adult offerings in the evening while not driving the
older audience away to a different channel.
With this in mind, one of the suggested titles for the new programme was 'Start the Night Right'. Other possible titles included 'Take It Easy', 'Don't Look Now', 'Hi There' and 'Live It Up' but '6.5 Special' was eventually selected for its 'jazz' allusion to trains. It was the BBC's original intention to run '6.5 Special' for just six weeks as a weekend 'filler' for the 6.00pm to 7.00pm 'gap' in transmission but Jack Good's production was of such a high quality that it quickly gained popularity and a regular audience in excess of six million.
He said: "When I got the job to produce '6.5 Special' I was dedicated to making a rock 'n' roll show, although I didn't entirely succeed. I had to find British rockers because they only gave us a budget of £1,000 for the whole programme - that's the set, the costumes, everything". After the launch of '6.5 Special', Saturday early evenings seemed to become the 'prime time' slot for pop music programmes and remained so for quite a long period.
|The show itself
was the result of a 'compromise' between the BBC and Jack Good's original
concept, being a combination of 'variety' and 'magazine' type shows mixing
popular music with other types of entertainment, sprinkled with items
intended to inform and educate, whereas Good had wanted to fully project
the energy and excitement of rock'n'roll. The first show was presented
by Pete Murray and 27 year-old Josephine Douglas (who was also the show's
co-producer), providing what they considered to be a mixture of 'youth
and experience' but was not entirely acceptable to the teenage target
audience who expected younger presenters for what they considered ought
to be a 'pop' show. Although giving the appearance of being spontaneous,
the presentation of the show was actually pre-arranged and quite strict.
The musical numbers were deliberately varied and designed to provide a balance of pace and style and the original written script also clearly demonstrates the 'compromise' arrangement: Pete Murray: "Hi there, welcome aboard the '6.5 Special'. We've got almost a hundred cats jumping here, some real cool characters to give us the gas, so just get with it and have a ball". Jo Douglas: "Well I'm just a square, it seems, but for all the other squares with us, roughly translated what Peter Murray just said was, we've got some lively musicians and personalities mingling with us here, so just relax and catch the mood from us". Trevor Peacock, who was the '6.5 Special' scriptwriter for Jack Good, wrote several hit songs including Joe Brown's 'That's What Love Will Do' and Jess Conrad's 'Mystery Girl'.
|The first show
was played in and out by Kenny Baker and his jazz band. In between, Michael
Holliday performed a couple of ballad-type songs and the rock'n'roll element
was provided by Bobbie and Rudy and The King Brothers. Somewhat bizarrely,
there was also an appearance by a Ukrainian classical pianist, Leff Pouishnoff,
who contributed a selection from Beethoven and Chopin but, although the
BBC persevered with the idea of including a classical item for a few weeks,
this aspect of the show soon quietly disappeared. 'Regular' features came
and went, including film extracts, film star interviews and a section
featuring less well-known sports, introduced by boxer Freddie Mills. The
first of these was a demonstration by 'The Herculean Balancers', two Hungarian
strongmen who carried Freddie onto the set and caused him to comment "If
you're going to rock'n'roll properly, you need to have your muscles in
pretty good shape".
Dance was a common feature and it was '6.5 Special' that introduced the world to the 'Hand Jive', with a supporting set of instructions written by Good 'Hand Jive at 6.5'. The first programme also included a recorded feature on The Brady Boys' Youth Club choir performing a selection of folk songs and it was this type of feature that carried the BBC's intention to try and educate and inform. The show tended towards four main types of music: rock'n'roll, trad jazz, ballads and, of course, skiffle with Lonnie Donegan, Willie McCormick and Chas McDevitt making regular appearances.
Its later theme tune was performed by the Bud Cort Skiffle Group and it even had its own skiffle competition. However, it was for the 'new' sound of rock'n'roll that the programme was to become most famous and '6.5 Special' played a leading role in its growth in the UK, influencing record sales and providing a showcase for emerging British artists as, at that time, not many established American stars were keen on coming across the Atlantic.
|One of the new
crop of British talent was Terry Dene who, after appearing on '6.5 Special'
in April, subsequently hit the British music charts with his cover of
'A White Sports Coat' and starred in a 'pop' film called 'The Golden Disc'
that was vaguely based on his own career. Other stars in the making were
Marty Wilde and Jim Dale, who was later to compere the show but is now
possibly better remembered for his performances in the 'Carry On' films.
Although usually produced at Lime Grove (and subsequently the Riverside
studios), the show also occasionally went 'on tour' with 'specials' such
as its broadcast from Glasgow in May 1957. The most famous of these OB's
was probably its 16th November event that came from 'the 'birthplace of
British rock'n'roll', the 'Two I's Coffee Bar' in Old Compton Street,
That show included both '6.5 Special' regulars and 'Two I's' resident performers, notably opening with Adam Faith's skiffle group The Worried Men, and also contained a version of 'Rockin' At The Two I's' by the curious combination of Wee Willie Harris, The King Brothers and Mike and Bernie Winters. BBC Deputy Director Cecil McGivern was to report; "This edition was not only extraordinary but extraordinarily good. It was first-class television as well as first-class entertainment". Despite such high commendation this episode was also to be one of Jack Good's last. Against the expressed wishes of the Corporation he announced his decision to produce a '6.5 Special' stage show and, on 9th January 1958, the BBC announced that it was not renewing his contract.
1956 'Cool For Cats', produced by Associated-Rediffusion, was shown in
the London area at 7.15pm on Mondays (later changed to Thursdays). It
was originally presented by journalist Ker Robertson who had come up with
the format for the programme and chose the records to be played, but it
was not long before he was replaced by a younger presenter thought to
be more appealing to a youthful audience, a certain Kent Walton. The 15-minute,
twice weekly show (the second a repeat), later expanded to half an hour,
was directed by Joan Kemp-Welch and consisted of comments on the records
played and a regular dance troupe that was choreographed by Douglas Squires.
By June 1957 it was being nationally networked twice a week and lasted
until December 1959. Cool
For Cats 1958
Although made at the Hackney Empire studio in London, ABC gave Jack Good's 'Oh Boy!' a trial run in the Midlands region during June 1958, followed by national ITV networking on 12th September at 6.00pm to 6.30pm in direct competition with BBC's '6.5 Special'. The original hosts were Jimmy Henney and Tony Hall, with a resident band led by Harry Robinson, the musical director. Other regular artists included Lord Rockingham's XI, The Vernon's Girls, Marty Wilde, The Dallas Boys, Neville Taylor's Cutters, Dicky Pride, Vince Eager, Ronnie Carroll, Red Price and Billy Fury (mostly performers from the Larry Parnes 'stable' of rock'n'roll stars) with Cherry Wainer on an electric organ and singer 'Cuddly Dudley' (Dudley Heslop) who was generally noted as 'Britain's first black rock'n'roller'.
The first episode of the show also featured a new young singer named Cliff Richard who entered the music charts a fortnight later with a rock'n'roll offering called 'Move It', written by Ian Samwell.
| This non-stop
music show was billed in the TV Times as 'an explosion of beat music'
and crammed as many numbers as possible into its twenty six minutes, which
meant that the presenters were hardly given any air time at all as the
cameras moved from act to act with virtually no pause in between.
For the same reason audience shots were also rare, unlike in previous shows where they had been a planned visual feature. The camera work was done in a style that attempted to reproduce the 'feel' of a live concert and everything was designed around this idea with fairly strict choreography, lighting and angle composition. The simple stage set design placed a band to the right, some steps and stage platforms at the back with a microphone at front centre, most of the performers being shot in close-up or mid-shot.
The set-up and technique prompted The Daily Herald to comment "The three-dimensional sets, clever lighting and fast, exciting atmosphere of 'Oh Boy!' have confirmed Jack Good as ITV's most imaginative producer of 'pop' shows". The BBC attempted to respond to this new challenge and later editions of '6.5 Special' consisted almost entirely of music, but still lacked the energy and drive of 'Oh Boy!'. Changes in style and presentation cast were to prove equally ineffective as the producers were simply unwilling to let go of their more staid, 'establishment' approach, becoming even more disconnected from teenage tastes, and the BBC eventually decided to ditch the show altogether.
was replaced with 'Dig This!', a new offering that retained its predecessor's
nominal 6.05pm start time but was shortened to half the length in order
to try and inject a bit of pace and energy. It was first seen on 3rd January
1959, with the Radio Times of 19th December 1958 promoting it as 'a swift
moving, up-to-the-minute show with all the latest pop music presented
in a new streamlined manner'.
'Dig This!' was initially introduced by an ex-serviceman called Gary Marshall with a rousing cry of "Hi, kids! Dig this!" and, similar to 'Oh Boy!', the show also had its own resident band, Bob Miller and The Millermen. Despite the updated format the BBC's efforts somehow still failed to reverse the trend in audience figures. The show had only been running for a few weeks before cast changes were made in February and, at the end of March, the BBC accepted defeat in the fight for the 6.00pm audience, ending the show's brief run and replacing it with the American western series 'Wells Fargo'.
However, they didn't give up on 'pop' music shows altogether and a younger producer called Stewart Morris was brought in to oversee 'the first of the new 'beat' programmes', a production called 'Drumbeat', which first aired at 6.30pm on 4th April 1959. For this new show Bob Miller and his band were kept on and joined by a second 'house' band, The John Barry Seven. 'Regular' performers included the 17 year-old Sylvia Sands and the former 'Oh Boy!' singer Vince Eager but it was another former protégé of Jack Good's who benefited most from the new show and, by the end of the year, 'What Do You Want' was a chart-topping hit for Adam Faith.
The show did well enough, although Morris's claim of having more viewers than 'Oh Boy!' may have been slightly optimistic, and it was allowed an extension of its original planned run, eventually ending on 29th August and outliving its arch rival by three months! There didn't seem to be any one particular reason to end 'Oh Boy!' but the 'copycat' BBC production rivalry and the fact that ABC wanted to vacate the Hackney Empire in favour of its Manchester studios almost certainly played their part in the decision.
|'Oh Boy!' was
axed from ITV on 30th May 1959 to be replaced with a new half-hour show
called 'Boy Meets Girls' on 12th September at the new, later time of 6.30pm.
Singer Marty Wilde was the 'boy' in question, with Joe Brown making regular
appearances on the programme and The Vernon's Girls providing the female
element of the title.
Some other artists, such as sax player Red Price and organist Cherry Wainer, were also retained from its predecessor but the direction by Rita Gillespie was a markedly different concept, although the new show was still produced and presented by Jack Good.
'Boy Meets Girls' was a much gentler show, featuring more ballads and musical variety, which was suggestive of Jack Good being persuaded, or pressurised by the BBC, to calm things down a bit. Good himself was to comment "Oh Boy! taught me that there is no substitute for personality in entertainment…. ….we shall use an occasional, wild number but the accent is on friendliness and the programme is aimed at a wider audience. We are out to capture the elder brothers and sisters of the teenagers, and the mums and dads too".
It may have succeeded to some extent with older viewers but the show certainly seemed to be less appealing to the youth audience.
Viewing figures started falling and attempts made by Good to liven it up with the appearance of major American artists such as Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran (who both made their UK television debuts there on January 16th 1960, sharing the bill with Billy Fury, Adam Faith and Jess Conrad) came too late to save the show. It was brought to a close a few weeks later, on 5th March 1960, shortly before the shock of Cochran's untimely death from head injuries received in a car crash on April 17th.
was launched by ITV in September 1959, a half-hour jazz programme featuring
performances that were mostly mimed. Jack Good was to return only a month
after the end of 'Oh Boy!' with his third television attempt, a show called
'Wham!' that was billed as 'a fistful of songs' and was the vehicle that
brought DJ Keith Fordyce to the fore as a television pop show presenter.
As in Good's previous two series, The Vernon's Girls were resident dancers
and the acts on the first show on 23rd April 1960 featured Billy Fury,
Joe Brown and The Bruvvers, Jess Conrad, Dickie Pride, Little Tony, Vince
Taylor and the brilliant Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.
Despite the star-studded line-up the format was, by this time, a bit of an anachronism. Even so, it surprisingly only lasted eight episodes, ending on 18th June. After this failure, Good returned to America where he produced 'Shindig!' for ABC in 1964, using the 'Oh Boy!' formula. He did briefly return to the UK in 1979 to produce a short, nostalgic revival of 'Oh Boy!'.
Meanwhile, the BBC's iconic show 'Juke Box Jury' replaced 'Drumbeat' on 1st June 1959, compered by DJ David Jacobs, with the first show featuring panellists Pete Murray, Alma Cogan, Gary Miller and introducing Susan Stranks (later to co-present the children's programme 'Magpie') as a 'typical teenager'. The production format of 'Juke Box Jury' was a marked change in the way 'pop' music was presented on television and coincided with what was to be more or less the end of the four-year reign of rock n' roll as the most popular 'youth' music on television. The programme was based on an American format and produced by Russell Turner.
It originally began in June, being aired on Mondays at 7.30pm, but it was soon moved to the Saturday evening slot, being recognised as approaching the 'holy grail' mix of teenage appeal and adult entertainment that they had been searching for. It soon gained regular viewing figures of 9 million, rising to around 12 million at its peak in 1962.
|A short, ten-minute
version of 'Juke Box Jury' was broadcast as part of the BBC variety show
'Christmas Night with the Stars' on Christmas Day in 1962 and 1963 and
the BBC also broadcast 'Twist Music With a Beat' on 7th July 1962, which
was a pop programme about the new dance craze, a 'Twist' competition between
some of the cast of the TV show 'Compact' and regular 'Juke Box Jury'
panel members, featuring Petula Clark, Don Lang and His Twisters, Tony
Osborne and His Mellow Men and The Viscounts.
The main programme ran until the end of 1967 when it was eventually dropped due to falling ratings. The last show was broadcast on 27th December 1967 with original jury members Pete Murray and Susan Stranks making a final appearance to complete the 'circle'.
Pop-only shows using the '6.5 Special' format were revived by ABC in April 1961 with the arrival of 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' on a Saturday tea-time. Initially shown only in the local region, it was to become what was possibly the most influential 'pop' show of the early sixties. The programme was compered by BBC and Radio Luxembourg DJs Brian Matthew and Keith Fordyce and, later, by Jim Dale.
After becoming fully-networked it helped start the rise of 'super-groups' such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many others. The show also had a 'Juke Box Jury'-style section called 'Spin-a-Disc' where a guest DJ and three random teenagers reviewed three new releases. This bit is well remembered for the appearance of Janice Nicholls, a former office clerk from the Midlands who became famous for her catchphrase 'Oi'll give it foive', delivered in a strong Black Country accent.
|Even as late
as 1962 some TV stations and producers still continued to promote trad
jazz music, particularly ATV who provided us with Lonnie Donegan's 'Putting
On The Donegan' series and 'All That Jazz', the latter using 'jazz' in
the title more than in the content as it was a series of shows that actually
featured quite a wide variety of mainstream acts such as Karl Denver,
Frank Ifield and Billy Fury, but that's about as far as ATV went in producing
'popular music' programmes.
The 'birth of Mersey beat' provided a whole new genre in British pop music and, focussed on the North-West, on their doorstep, naturally attracted great interest from ABC and Granada as it had the potential to provide a new 'weapon' in the competition between regional stations. This was mainly between ABC, Granada and the more Southern-based Associated-Rediffusion as ATV still clung to their previous ideas on musical entertainment, even though their parent company owned Pye records! Pop music acts were being increasingly featured in all kinds of variety shows and even found their way into children's television on shows such as 'Tuesday Rendezvous' (later 'The Five O'Clock Club').
TWW (Television Wales & West) aired a local thirty-minute show called 'Discs A-Go-Go' in 1962 from their Brislington studios. It was produced by Chris Mercer and compered by Kent Walton, later better known for his Saturday afternoon 'World of Sport' wrestling commentaries, and where artists were unavailable to perform, a series of still pictures featuring a cartoon fox were used as a visual aid to illustrate the theme of the lyrics! The show was later partially networked but never seen in the London region as its format was considered to be too similar to RSG!
Tony Prince appeared on this show before joining 'pirate' Radio Caroline as a DJ. The only surviving recorded edition is a later-made one-off 'Bristol special', originally transmitted on 2nd March 1968, hosted by Tony Blackburn and featuring The Symbols, Paul and Barry Ryan, Tomorrow, Keith West, Steve Howe, Solomon King, The Gojos, Samantha Lee, Engelbert Humperdinck and Bob Miller and The Millermen.
who held the weekday ITV contract for the London area (and called 'Rediffusion-London'
after 1964), launched their next assault on the youth audience on Friday
9th August 1963 via a black and white live show from their Kingsway Studio
9 called 'Ready, Steady, Go!' with the memorable tagline 'The weekend
Conceived by A-R boss Elkan Allan and produced by Francis Hitching, it comprised a number of different elements including pop music, the latest dances, various weekly competitions and a lot of 'audience participation', portrayed in a 'club-like' atmosphere.
The studio itself was quite small, therefore even the cameras and operators became part of the action. Robert Fleming was the show's first director and the presenters were Keith Fordyce and 'typical teenager' Cathy McGowan, with occasional input from David Gell and Michael Aldred, although Dusty Springfield also acted as a compere in the very early shows. Initially a local show, the programme was soon networked nationally but strangely, due to the scheduling of the times of local news, some ITV regions had to join the show part-way through. The show was later transmitted from Studio 5 at Wembley.
Of course, BBC Light Entertainment supremo Bill Cotton wanted a programme to compete against 'RSG!' and the various proposals put forward resulted in the iconic 'chart songs only' show, 'Top Of The Pops', being launched on New Year's Day 1964, broadcast from Manchester. Due to the geographical problems in getting artists there the show was permanently moved to London studios commencing Thursday 20th January 1966.
Southern television aired a show similar in format to BBC's 'Juke Box Jury' called 'Dad, You're A Square' on 21st June 1963. Although only 13 shows were originally planned, it ran until 13th May 1964. A pilot of the show, devised by Barry Langford and hosted by actor Bill Owen, had originally been made by ATV in 1960 but not followed up. Southern happily took up the idea and hired the previously untried Sandra Stone, an eighteen year old shop assistant, as the host. In dramatic fashion, if a record was voted a miss then a cannonball would destroy the record.
|1964 saw the
introduction, or continuation, of many more local shows, including one
of Ulster's few attempts at a 'pop' show, 'Pop Scene', a short-lived five
nights a week presentation, from 28th September to 23rd December that
featured show bands twice weekly, and Border Television's 'Beat The Border',
a pop TV series presented by Tom Edwards who was later to work for Radio
City and Radio Caroline. Viewers in London and the surrounding areas found
themselves blessed with a third television station on 20th April 1964
with the launch of BBC2.
The new channel's initial foray into the regular 'pop' scene was 'The Beat Room', first shown on Monday 6th July from 7.35pm to 8.00pm. It was a live performance show, produced and directed by Barry Langford and presented by Pat Campbell, with resident dancers 'The Beat Girls' plus resident band Wayne Gibson and The Dynamic Sound. The only surviving recording of the show is of #14, featuring The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' and 'Got Love If You Want It', The Syndicats and John Lee Hooker.
Advertised as '30 minutes of non-stop beat and shake' the series lasted for about a year, tending towards the R&B style of music that RSG! had helped to popularise and featuring a range of blues artists from both sides of the Atlantic including Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Chris Farlowe and Long John Baldry.
|Other BBC2 music
shows included the monthly 'Top Beat' (1964-65), hosted by Alan Freeman
and shown mid-week at about 9.15pm, that crammed eight or nine acts into
a 45-minute studio concert and which, in 1965, featured possibly the greatest
sixties television line-up ever, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones,
Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Kinks, The Searchers, Dusty Springfield,
Donovan and Them. The popularity of jazz persisted and a show called 'Jazz
625', featuring performances by British and American jazz musicians, was
broadcast on BBC2 between 21st April 1964 and August 1966.
Created by Terry Henebery, the title referred to the 625-line UHF transmission by BBC2 as opposed to the 405-line VHF system still used by other channels. The theme tune was written by presenter Steve Race and later presenters included Humphrey Lyttelton and Peter Clayton. It was based at the BBC Television Theatre, the old Empire on Shepherd's Bush Green, with some outside broadcasts being recorded at the Marquee Club.
Southern TV broadcast a show called 'Ladybirds' that featured all female artists and ran from 31st December 1964 to 29th July 1965. It was hosted by Terence Carroll and Shaw Taylor (of 'Police 5' fame) and was one of many that Mike Mansfield was to produce for the station over the following years, including 'Pop The Question', a 1965 music quiz hosted by Muriel Young and its sequel, 'Countdown', that ran from 15th October 1966 to 23rd December 1966. 'Countdown' was a quiz show where pop stars were asked questions about current chart hits and would, in turn, be allowed promote their own recordings. Muriel Young continued to host, assisted by Don Wardell. Although a Southern production, it actually debuted on ATV in October 1966 but lasted just one series.
|1965 saw BBC2's
successor to 'The Beat Room' appearing on Monday 1st February from 6.55pm
to 7.25pm, again produced by Barry Langford. The new show, 'Gadzooks!
It's All Happening', was compered by Alan David and Christine Holmes (who
also co-hosted the popular children's programme 'Crackerjack!') with resident
dance troupe 'The Beat Girls' surviving from the previous show. Occasional
'guest' presenters included Lulu and Marianne Faithfull.
The title was changed to 'Gadzooks! It's the In Crowd' for a while before eventually being shortened to just 'Gadzooks!'. David left the show on 5th July 1965 because "not enough people are looking in". Roger Whittaker subsequently took his place until the show was axed after just eight months. The show is notable for eventually presenting David Bowie's first television performance, as 'Davy Jones and The Manish Boys' on March 8th 1965, with 'I Pity The Fool', after a row about the length of his hair.
BBC Scotland introduced their own show called 'Stramash!' from 4th October 1965 to 3rd January 1966, a weekly pop programme for Scottish viewers (and artists) featuring regulars Lulu and The Luvvers, The Senate with Sol Byron and two dance troupes: 'The Stramashers' and 'The Lindella Movers'. Produced by David Bell and hosted by Christian (Chris McClure), the one English act to appear regularly was Peter London.
5th January 1966 BBC1 aired a new (but short-lived) half-hour programme
from 6.30pm called 'A Whole Scene Going', hosted by Barry Fantoni and
Wendy Varnals. Purporting to reflect 'the tastes and times of Britain's
under 21s' it was a teenage lifestyle 'magazine' programme containing
features on Carnaby Street fashions, the London club scene and package
holidays abroad. It is notable for containing Twiggy's first television
Due to changes in viewing demographics and falling audiences,1966 saw 'Ready, Steady, Go!' being reduced to half an hour to accommodate the 'Crossroads' soap and a reduced version of 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' being moved to Sunday afternoons, both eventually being axed altogether, a fate they shared with the American show 'Shindig!' which was replaced by 'Batman' in January that year.
| In 1967 ex-Radio
Caroline DJ Simon Dee was given his own chat show on BBC1, the legendary
'Dee Time', which featured new record releases between his conversations
with various guests. Television in general was giving increasing prominence
to personalities, and individuals such as Lulu, Val Doonican, Rolf Harris,
Dickie Valentine, Ken Dodd, Petula Clark, Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw, Tom
Jones, Scott Walker and Cliff Richard all starred in their own musical
show series, as well as BBC1 introducing us to the TV show featuring the
zany world of chart-topping American pop group The Monkees.
The remaining years of the Sixties became absolutely packed with a wide variety of different types of music show. Shortly after leaving university in 1967, ATV gave Jonathan King his television break with 'Good Evening I'm Jonathan King' which ran for six months on Saturday evenings, initially at 6.30pm, and discussed pop, films, theatre and books. At the end of February 1968 King's show was moved to a later time of 11.20pm to make way for 'Time For Blackburn' and, after six weeks in the late night slot, it was finally axed on 30th March.
TV pop show called 'As You Like It', produced by Mike Mansfield and hosted
by Don Moss, ran from 11th March to 27th June 1967. This was one of two
shows being run as 'pilots', the other being 'New Release' which aired
at the start of 1968 and was, initially, only shown in the Southern region
on Fridays from 7.00pm to 7.30pm, hosted by DJ Tony Blackburn. It only
ran under this title from Friday 5th January to 23rd February, at which
time some other regions started taking it and it was re-named 'Time For
Blackburn' from 2nd March to 28th December 1968.
The show featured five newly-released discs, the artist performing their song live to a recorded backing track under the auspices of musical director Johnnie Pearson, after which they joined Tony at a round table to discuss it. Each subsequent performer joined the 'panel' at the table to discuss their own and each other's records. Some inserts were also filmed at London's 'Revolution Club' while Blackburn would introduce the acts and clips from the studio in Southampton.
One episode is notable for (The Crazy World of) Arthur Brown accidentally setting fire to himself while performing 'Fire'. To complement this bizarre incident the station identity caption was also set alight at the beginning of the show. The series was widely seen, being shown on ATV London, Border, Anglia, Channel, Westward and Tyne Tees.
It is most likely that the fortunes of the show were affected by the regional franchise changes in some of the ITV stations at the end of July. LWT (the new London weekend station) aired the show in a Friday night slot at the end of 1968 but dropped it after 6 weeks, with Southern eventually axing the series altogether after the Saturday 4th January 1969 show.
|A 1967 series
from Ulster TV called 'Zoom In', conceived by Gordon Burns of 'Krypton
Factor' fame, was originally planned to be just two 'filler' shows called
'Zoom In' and 'Zoom Out' but was sufficiently successful to be given a
run in the 7.00pm prime time slot. Co-produced by Tony Eames, it featured
both Irish showbands and visiting English artists with two regular go-go
dancers and the studio audience. The show also contained comedy sketches
featuring DJ Hendi (Michael Henderson).
The 14-hour 'Technicolor Dream Festival' at Alexandra Palace on 29th April 1967 was attended by about 10,000 and filmed by the BBC. A longer-lasting (though less potent) version of the drug LSD called 'STP' was handed out free to anyone who wanted it. Pink Floyd made an appearance, although not filmed, and there were various other performers including artists, poets, dancers and jugglers. The programme was aired by BBC2 on Wednesday 17th May 1967 from 8.05pm, in black and white.
From the Dickenson Road studio in Manchester a much under-rated weekly 25-minute show called 'All Systems Freeman!' was launched by BBC1 at 6.40pm on Friday 5th January 1968, using a combination of pop radio style presentation with visual television music formats. Its early evening scheduling probably robbed it of the larger, late evening audience it might have had but the show quickly gained a cult following even though it only lasted for 12 episodes, finishing on 22nd March. 'Fluff' sat behind a (for the time) high-tech console, appearing to control the musical inserts with sliders, dials and other interesting mechanisms. The visible turntables were much more than just props and actually provided some genuine audio input. Alan Freeman wore 'can' style headphones and did his own vision mixing on a panel adjacent to the turntables.
The programme included a mixture of film reports on developments in the world of popular music, pop 'business' news and film clips of groups performing in non-studio settings - an early, ground-breaking kind of 'pop video'. Also regularly appearing on the show was Bernard Herrmann who had previously been a musical director for 'The Good Old Days' and 'Dee Time'. The Ladybirds and The Northern Dance Orchestra provided the studio backing and Johnnie Stewart was the producer.
|New on 7th September
1968 was 'Colour Me Pop', which BBC2 had originally featured as a segment
of the Friday magazine show 'Late Night Line Up'. It was specifically
designed to take advantage of colour TV transmission and eventually became
a programme in its own right from Saturday 2nd November.
The series was produced by Steve Turner and ran for over a year before it was superseded, in January 1970, by 'Disco 2' (originally named 'Line Up's Disco 2'), a largely-forgotten series first presented by Tommy Vance (and later Pete Drummond) and was a predecessor of 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' that ran on BBC2 from 1971 to 1978.
It was directed by Granville Jenkins, with a theme tune by Elton John that was later replaced with Led Zeppelin's 'Moby Dick' intro. The show was first broadcast on Saturday evenings, later moved to Thursdays and the occasional Friday.
|'How It Is',
a 40-minute magazine series "by the young, for the young at heart" appeared
on BBC1 on Friday 19th July 1968 from 6.00pm produced by Tony Palmer,
who also presented alongside Peter Asher (who left after only a few weeks),
Radio 1 DJ John Peel, 'Oz' magazine editor Richard Neville and Angela
Huth. The 25th October 1968 edition was not broadcast live as the BBC
were concerned about the 'October Revolution' that was due to take place
in London that weekend and so it was recorded an hour early.
Palmer soon became frustrated with people thinking the programme was aimed solely at teenagers and, in late November, it was announced that the series was going to be 'rested', but would return in a new late-night slot in 1969. The last episode of this show was transmitted on Friday 20th December 1968.
It was replaced with 'How Late It Is' in a later time slot at 10.50pm on Friday 14th March 1969, which was effectively a 'second series'. Huth and Neville continued to present, joined by Pete Drummond.
The producer, Tony Staveacre, promoted the show's 're-launch' by saying "We want to provide a platform for new ideas, styles and sounds and, at the same time, offer new opportunities for established artists. We want the show to have an urgent, last-minute appeal so that viewers will never quite know what is coming up next" which is probably quite true as the series only lasted until Friday 23rd May.
|A series of
six programmes, hosted by Alan Price and called 'Monster Music Mash',
went out on BBC1 on Tuesdays from 7th October to 11th November at 5.15pm
to 5.44pm, a weekday children's slot. Price said of the show "I adore
working with children. We aim to bring the kids all kinds of music, everything
from pop to blues and traditional folk. We want to give all the artists
on the show the chance to perform two or three numbers - anything they
feel like doing, and we want to get away from this idea of guest artists
coming on just to plug their latest record".
'Discotheque', produced by Granada Television in 1969, was another short-lived children's pop music show, hosted by Ayshea Brough (who also starred as a 'Skydiver' operative in Gerry Anderson's futuristic TV series 'UFO' ) before moving on to 'Lift Off' (later 'Lift Off With Ayshea Brough') shown at 4.55pm to 5.20pm from 5th November. 'Lift Off' ran until 1972 and was initially co-presented by Graham Bonney, featuring current chart hits and new talent. For a short period the show was co-hosted by Billy J. Kramer. The show's 'resident' group was 'The Pattern' and also featured 'The Ken Martyne Dancers'. 'Lift Off' was originally devised by Muriel Young.
Probably the last offering of the 1960s was a one-off 75-minute TV 'special' called 'Pop Go The Sixties!', a celebration of Sixties music, broadcast in colour on 31st December 1969.
It was a co-production between the BBC and Germany's ZDF, primarily produced and recorded at the BBC's Television Centre in London, in late 1969.
Presented by Jimmy Savile and Elfi Von Kalckreuth, Johnnie Stewart produced the show and Stanley Dorfman directed. The only song performed in German was by Sandie Shaw.
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