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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

After the 'toddler's truce' was broken by both the BBC and ITV in 1957 it was time to look again at the output of children's programming on the BBC and the idea of a magazine show was proposed. Initially a fifteen minute show it would extend to a half-hour twice weekly programme with articles on pets, crafts, films, cars, basically anything that children might find interesting or amusing. It must have been a popular concept as the show's influence on ITV was obvious with look-a-like shows like Tuesday Rendezvous, Action and How appearing later.

It showed children how to make their own toys, rather than bothering their parents for expensive alternatives, while involving children in social activities like the annual appeal where they would ask for used postage stamps or milk bottle tops, and in return the money raised would go towards a nominated charity.

The show felt that it was always targeting the more middle-class, scouts and girl-guides types, but the show evolved over time and by the late sixties new faces like John Noakes and Peter Purves would give the show much needed wider appeal. One aspect which kids at the time took little notice of was the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, whose sonic landscapes on the space serial Bleep and Booster was influential to many musicians who would go on to form bands in the sixties and seventies.

Watching the show sometimes made you feel like you were back at school again, but there would be the odd pop act, and like so many shows from the British pop boom era they would play host to the likes of The Hollies, The Searchers, Freddie & The Dreamers etc and on one occasion The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, with each band playing one or two songs live. Groups would be eventually phased out, but pop features would appear from time to time, and on one memorable day right in the middle of the summer of love they wheeled out John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls Royce into the studio.

Easily the longest running children's show on British TV they recently awarded Paul McCartney their most coveted award, the gold Blue Peter badge.



16th October 1958 - date