TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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19th March 1960, 21st May 1960, 30th July 1960, 31st December 1960

After many television appearances throughout 1958 and 1959 and his almost weekly residency on Oh Boy Cliff Richard’s manager Tito Burns had ideas to move Cliff into the variety mainstream and it was agreed that ATV should offer Cliff a series of hour long specials under the banner of Val Parnell’s Saturday Spectacular beginning in March 1960.

For the first show Cliff had been given the honour of bagging the front cover of the TV Times to promote it, although there was no supporting article. The show mixed live performances of hits and covers with the occasional interruption from Alfred Marks, Pat Coombs and a troupe of dancers.

By the third show he was getting involved in the sketches himself, dressing as Tarzan in a spoof on ‘Expresso Bongo’ with Mario Fabrizi and Barbara Windsor. Comedians Mike and Bernie Winters also appeared, while another Oh Boy alumni Cherry Wainer was given her own instrumental spot.

A one-off fifteen minute Me and My Shadows spot for ATV in April also suggested that Cliff, with or without his backing group, would be a worthwhile investment and would go on to become one of the more reliable and steady presences on British television throughout the sixties and seventies.