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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

This show started off as an occasional feature of daily culture review show Late Night Line Up in May 1968, "Late Night Line-Up's Saturday diversion", but by the following month it was launched as a weekly show on its own, making it Britain's first colour pop show. There would have been two flavours of the show Colour Me Pop and Colour Me Jazz, depending on the content, but the jazz element would be dropped before the first broadcast.


It was the intention by the BBC to create a music alternative to the David Frost talk show on ITV. The show was produced by Steve Turner, who previously had been a vision mixer on many classic BBC TV comedy shows like Hancock and Steptoe and Son. Turner himself had little interest in pop music before the show. Talking to Melody Maker in September 1969 he admitted "... my main interests are light classical music, church, and organ music" which he felt helped him approach the show with an open mind "I therefore worked that much harder to understand the whole scene." Turner was given a free hand to create the show, but also a small budget and an even smaller studio, 20 by 30 feet. The first shows were broadcast live, but this was considered unsuccessful, so later shows would be taped and edited together. Debuting on Friday evening it would be moved later to Saturday night, before the midnight movie.


The "colour" aspect of the title would be obvious as BBC2 was the only colour channel in the UK at the time and seeing the great British bands of the time in colour was a wonderful novelty if you had one of the very expensive colour TVs.


Featured acts played thirty minutes live (or singing live to the backing track) in the studio each week with occasional forays to the exotic location of The Fairfield Hall, Croydon for several live sets recorded on the 29th September 1968 as a Mexico Olympic Games fundraiser.


The show recognised that albums were now taken seriously as a new musical format in its own right, rather than just a collection of songs or a studio recreation of the band's live set. Among those who visited were The Small Faces, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Move, The Moody Blues, David Ackles, Eclection, Fleetwood Mac and many others. However, the show wasn't just given over to the progressive tendency, with time given to pop acts like Clodagh Rodgers and The Fortunes.


Despite his worry that the show would be taken off "after the first four weeks" Turner's production skills resulted in a fifteen month run.


Having won the Top TV Show award in the Melody Maker poll in September 1969, beating Top Of The Pops, it was assumed that the show would return, but the BBC had no plans to do so. A re-boot of Late Night Line Up in September 1969, a week after the final Colour Me Pop probably contributed to its cancellation. However, Steve Turner had actually recorded further shows for transmission around Christmas time, but were never broadcast. The shows featured Gulliver's People, The Golden Earring, The Sands, Jefferson and Sight & Sound. Talking to Melody Maker in October 1969 Turner said "Whether this will be the thin edge of the wedge for further Colour Me Pop shows I can't say at present." It appears that Golden Earring actually recorded something for the show, but was never broadcast.


Two retrospective compilation shows were assembled in 1969/70, but that would be the last anyone saw. Turner would later produce the shows' descendent Disco 2.


Several of the few surviving shows have been released on DVD and CD, while an excellent article by Adam James Smith appeared in issue 92 of Shindig.





COLOUR ME POP


BBC2

18th May 1968, 14th June 1968 - 30th August 1969