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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Both modern and trad jazz were given welcome exposure in 1959 and 1960 with Granada's Bandstand. Weekly regulars The Dill Jones Trio, Valerie Masters and Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazzband were already well known to British audiences, while other British jazz stars like Cleo Laine, Ronnie Scott, Dill Jones, Tony Crombie and Georgia Brown would guest every week.


Talking to TV Times ahead of the first show director Dave Warwick said "Each week we will have at least one great. The first will be Don Lusher, the greatest modern trombonist in the country. The week after it will be Max Geldray, an old friend of Ray Ellington. Then we've booked a veteran star, trumpeter Nat Gonella, followed by Johnnie Gray, a good tenor saxophonist with a flair for comedy." Warwick himself had been a drummer in a dance band and had previously worked on Here's Humph with Humphrey Lyttelton and a series for Ray Ellington. Ray Ellington's group was to appear on each of the first four shows, but Granada withdrew them. A Granada spokesman told Melody Maker "We did not consider it right to put the Ellington Quartet into the show when we are to feature it in a special series of its own."


The show's director Dave Warwick, who had been a jazz drummer, told Melody Maker "I hope to introduce all the big guns of the modern and traditional jazz world. Names like Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber, Tony Kinsey and Dill Jones." Manchester trad band Zenith Six and the Eric Pepperell Quintet participated in the closed circuit TV pilot.


Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazzband had been booked to appear in the first four shows, but had by mutual consent been replaced after the first two with The Tony Kinsey Quartet. His manager (and brother) Dave Bilk told Melody Maker "Granada felt that we failed to come off in 'Bandstand' and we agreed. So we left the show, by mutual consent. We were expected to sit stiffly in front of a plain backcloth, which is alien to our kind of performance. Ours is a band full of movement and crying out for imaginative settings."


On Christmas Eve 1959 the show had a musical overhaul. Out were the small bands and in were the big bands. Eddie Pola, Light Entertainment chief of Granada told Melody Maker "Small band jazz would appear to have only a small minority appeal. In 'Bandstand' Humphrey Lyttelton's Band played better, had a better balance and better presentation than ever before. Yet, the public just is not there. I don't think TV is the place for small band jazz. It has a small hard core of devotees to who seem to want contact with the musicians in a crowded club or concert hall - not on a small screen at home. We tried everything we knew but still came up against the difficulty of presenting jazz in the way that is acceptable to its public. Ted Heath's Music has a much wider appeal. He will be presented in a smooth, sharp manner, playing the music that he has sold so successfully over the years."


Despite the credibility of the names in British jazz the series became more watered down towards the end and the regulars left to be replaced by Ted Heath and his Band and pop vocal group The Avons.


BANDSTAND


Granada

17th September 1959 - 23rd March 1960