Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Lift Off with Ayshea

Lift Off with Ayshea
Originally 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 Studios. 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 December 1974.

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.

Wally 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.
Graham BonneyMuriel YoungWally WhytonGraham Bonney
She also hosted ‘Tuesday Rendezvous’, was a co-presenter of ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ and, between 1976 and 1977, produced ‘The Arrows Show'. She passed away in March 2001.

Ayshea was one of few British Asians on television at the time. She had her own singing slot in the show and a weekly column in the children’s magazine ‘Look In’. She sang several times with Roy Wood of 'Wizzard' who wrote, produced and played all the instruments on her 1973 single ‘Farewell'. She originally made her recording debut when she was 16. Her first husband was Chris Brough, a staff producer at Polydor Records. As an actress she was also to appear in several drama series, including the Gerry Anderson sci-fi series ‘UFO'. She moved to California in 1983 and married film producer Michael I. Levy, although they were divorced in 1990. Ayshea then began her own interior design business in Beverly Hills, but eventually returned to Britain and entered the property business.

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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