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Popular Music on British Television

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ALL SYSTEMS FREEMAN!

BBC1
5th January 1968 - 22nd March 1968

According to a Radio Times article to promote the first editon of the show Alan 'Fluff' Freeman and his agent proposed a new type of music show to BBC commissioners back in Spring 1967 which would feature live guests, interviews, reviews and film clips. However, this format looked very similar to the pilot for the un-commissioned Discotec, hosted by Simon Dee back in 1966.

Freeman had proved an immensely likeable TV personality, his occasional mistakes on Top of the Pops had brought him his own kind of celebrity, so a pilot was commissioned for the end of 1967.

After favourable reviews the show was given the go-ahead and ex-Jazz 625 head Terry Henebery was assigned as the Producer. The show would be recorded in Manchester and broadcast Friday evenings, the day after Top of the Pops, at 6.40 pm for thirty minutes. He was relieved of his 'Pops' duty during the run of the show, bar one show on the 25th January.

As far as the set design was concerned Freeman found himself behind a desk again, similar to the one on Top of the Pops, also looking a little like his Radio One desk setup with two 'grams' (turntables) and microphone, but at the end of its run BBC’s Head of Variety Bill Cotton Junior said that the show had tried to “capture the drama of a recording studio”.

The show's short thirteen week run would feature many of the chart stars of the day in the studio backed by the Northern Dance Orchestra, or if they couldn't make it to Manchester a film clip of the artist would be included. A guest reviewer and an interview would break up the music to distinguish it from Top of the Pops. Fluff would also feature in a filmed insert sequence quizzing members of the public about their musical tastes.

The show would be transmitted the same night as Southern's similar New Release show and just as Freeman's show was coming to its conclusion Southern Television gave his Radio One colleague Tony Blackburn a similar show with a more prominent Saturday evening time slot.

It's assumed that there is no surviving footage of the show.