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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

A weekly series produced by Juke Box Jury's Barry Langford which was an attempt to get both top forty acts and newcomers playing live in the studio. According to the BBC "Twenty-five minutes of non-stop beat and shake", later changed to "thirty minutes..."


The newly created BBC2 had been given the opportunity to attract a younger audience, and they came up with this Ready, Steady Go! clone. The studio itself looked like a copy of the Ready Steady Go! set-up with camera in view with lots of room for dancing. There was no host on-camera, but the voice of Pat Campbell was heard introducing the acts, and the whole show was shot at BBC Television Centre, studio three.


Everyone performed at least two songs live, and among those acts were David Bowie, making his music debut with Davie Jones and The King Bees, The Kinks, The Beach Boys and pretty much all the best British R&B acts at the time making this a proper rival for Ready Steady Go!


Wayne Gibson and his band were originally contracted to appear only for the first six shows, but it was extended for a further seven in August 1964.


An article in Fabulous magazine written on-set for the 21st and 28th September 1964 editions suggests that the artists enjoyed doing the show and didn't hide in their dressing rooms waiting to be called, rather sitting around on the set, talking to each other.


The show would employ a resident group whose role was to back singers and then perform a spot of their own each week. The first was Wayne Gibson and the Dynamic Sounds, later replaced by Peter and the Headliners in October.


A talent spot The Beat Room Audition Slot tried to replicate the success of Ready Steady Win! The dance troupe was the Beat Girls lead by Jo Cook, later to head The Go-Jos, and featuring Lyn Wolseley, Ann Chapman, Diane Smith, Linda Lawrence, Jenny Ferrell and Ruth Pearson.


In October 1964 producer Langford flew to America in order to secure bookings for artists like James Brown, Charlie Rich, Faron Young and Clyde McPhatter among others. Talking to Disc at the time he said "I want to feature at least one American star each week or fortnight".


They were given their own New Year's Eve special Beat In The New Year, broadcast opposite the Ready Steady Go special. It was the intention to have Georgie Fame as a resident act from the beginning of January until the show's end at the end of the month, but plans changed.


A report in a late December 1964 issue of Disc Weekly suggests the show would have a re-vamp from the 11th January 1965 edition onwards, ditching the resident groups. But it seems BBC2 ditched the show instead a few weeks' later.


As BBC2's transmission range extended across the country throughout 1964 the viewing figures predictably increased, but not enough to ensure its survival, and after seven months it was replaced with the Gadzooks!, also produced by Barry Langford.


Only one complete show is known to exist.



THE BEAT ROOM


BBC2

6th July 1964 - 25th January 1965