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Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

The Big Night Out name was initially used to cover a variety of concerts, circuses and specials broadcast by ABC until 1962 when a permanent variety show format was introduced featuring singers, guests and dancers with hosts Mike and Bernie Winters joining the show in summer 1963.

However, despite the show's popularity it had been dropped by the ITV network from mid 1962 until early 1964. The ITV network had only seen its purpose as to act as a summer replacement for Sunday Night At The London Palladium, with the rest of the series shown in the ABC region only. By the time the Winter brothers had joined the show Merseybeat was in full swing and with Liverpool on ABC's doorstep shows like Thank Your Lucky Stars and Big Night Out had the pick of all the Epstein acts, including on several occasions The Beatles who not only played live on the show but got involved in comedy sketches.

The show's home had originally been the Didsbury Studio Centre in Manchester, but by early 1964 the show had moved south to ABC’s Teddington Lock, Middlesex studio and this is where The Beatles famously appeared in February 1964 preceded by a boat ride down the Thames. By early 1965 it had moved back to the Manchester studios and recorded the Monday before transmission.

By 1965 it was decided to redesign the show as a summer spectacular, just as the ITV network had wanted it to be, so it morphed into Blackpool Night Out, recorded at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool, where The Beatles made another live appearance.

A DVD collection of the surviving shows was due for release by Network, but so far nothing has been released.


ABC 25th March 1961 - 10th April 1965


ABC 20th June 1965 - 12th September 1965