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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

"A film of pop music."


Shown as a part of BBC1's Omnibus arts strand and directed by Tony Palmer it was UK TV's first serious look at the alternative pop scene.


Palmer filmed pop acts in the UK and USA between 1967 and 1968 almost as a self-education as he was a devout classical and opera fan, only becoming converted to pop after hearing The Beatles' Sgt Pepper. After the success of his 1967 BBC2 documentary about the recording of Benjamin Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace BBC TV's Head of Documentaries Huw Wheldon suggested he made a pop and rock documentary.


Palmer had previously met John Lennon in 1963 after a press conference which Palmer was covering for Cambridge student paper Varsity, and it was to Lennon he turned to for help in assembling a list of people to talk to. Lennon duly provided him with a list of names and introductions. Cream, Lulu, The Beatles, Grapefruit, The Moody Blues, Manfred Mann, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Who, Donovan, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eric Burdon & The Animals, were all featured. many of them were interviewed and only too be happy for once to be shown in an serious, intellectual and respectful manner. But unlike A Whole Scene Going which dared to ask questions of our Pop Gods All My Loving merely provided non-confronting sound bites. A voice-over by Patrick Allen was probably meant to represent an explanation to the non-converts, but only served to patronise and annoy and doubtless contributed to the show's initially hostile reception. The concept itself was similar to the Leonard Bernstein-fronted Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution which had been broadcast by CBS in the USA in April 1967. Bernstein was also a classically inspired talent wanting to understand the new music, using television to self-educate. Among the intended names for inclusion in All My Loving were The Monkees and Bob Dylan, but they were not filmed.


Clips of the Vietnam and Nigerian wars were spliced in to poor, tasteless and puzzling effect, giving the impression that the film was mocking or targeting the musicians and their fans, rather than understanding them. The Daily Mirror review asked "Juxtaposing a blazing napalm victim with say Jimi Hendrix on a rampage of guitar smashing is a vulgarity justified only if the point being made is a valid one." If the BBC wanted to use vulgarity to explain pop then Ken Russell was your man. A concluding montage of sound and images featuring Hitler and Rasputin only served to confound and bemuse.


After its completion it sat on the shelf for six months, eventually being shown to John Culshaw, ex-Decca Records' classical producer who by that time had moved to the BBC, in turn becoming the show's executive producer. Despite being broadcast between 10:40 - 11:35 pm there was a verbal warning about the controversial and shocking content before the broadcast went out. Trying to explain how the show was received Palmer in 2007 claimed that the programme was shown after the Epilogue. Not only was it not shown after the Epilogue, it was actually shown between the news and weather, but the BBC didn't broadcast the Epilogue, that was an ITV only affair. It was initially broadcast on BBC1 which meant that it was only shown in black and white, despite being shot in colour, but it was repeated on BBC2's colour channel on 18th May 1969.


Some of the footage was recycled in Palmer's All You Need Is Love for ITV in 1976, while a DVD of the show was released in 2007, albeit cropped for widescreen, however it does include an interview with Palmer as a bonus feature.



ALL MY LOVING


BBC1

3rd November 1968