Probably the first television series in Britain to be aimed specifically at the new
rock n roll audience, the teenager. Directed by ex-
Fleet Street journalist Ker Robertson presented the first few shows, but by the end of January 1957 Kent Walton from Radio Luxembourg had taken over with Robertson “Disc Arranging”, i.e. selecting the eight or nine discs per week. The show itself was initially only fifteen minutes long, stretching to thirty minutes later on and had very few rock n roll acts making personal appearances, relying again on visual interpretation of the lyric via dance, usually choreographed by Douggie Squires and a meagre set design. Guests would be interviewed in the studio, with an occasional singer miming to their new hit. The unusual thing about the show was that none of the production team had any connection with the music business, although Kent Walton would later become a Radio Luxembourg DJ.
Talking about the show before its debut Robertson said "I feel there is no need for any big presentation of lavish sets with a disc programme, which is after all, very intimate and essentially a homely pastime." There would also be a strip cartoon interpretation of a song each week, drawn by Desmond Hennessy.
Described by TV Times as “An intimate record programme in which Ker Robertson brings viewers the hits and near hits, the songs, music and stories of the people who make discs a £25,000,000 a year business.”
Director Joan Kemp-
By June 1957 its popularity had spread enough to warrant a network showing twice a week and would, on occasion, step outside the boundaries of the studio setting by turning up at, for example, Army and RAF camps.
In early 1958 the show extends to three shows a week. One was a thirty minute show
on Monday, a fifteen minute show on Wednesday and a compilation show on Fridays,
late night. It also increases the number of dancers to three men and three women,
one of whom is Barbara Ferris, later to become a well-
In March 1958 there was talk of a touring stage show, something that The Six-
More changes occurred in July when the show moved to Thursday only at 7.00 pm, but despite being aimed at teenagers the show is sometimes puzzlingly broadcast in a late night time slot.
In his regular column in Disc magazine in September 1958 Kent Walton introduced new dancer Mary Munro and stated that many of the show's dancers are from the Festival Ballet.
By late 1958 it had been reduced to one, weekly show on Fridays, suggesting that
Rediffusion were either losing interest or had found other shows to fill the gaps.
However, an announcement from AR in January 1959 came as a shock. The show was to
end. A spokesman for Associated Rediffusion told Melody Maker "The final date has
not been fixed and a replacement show has not been set." While host Kent Walton chimed
in "It's a pity we are near the end of the road, but after all, one cannot keep on
getting fresh ideas after such a run." The end of February was the likely finishing
date. Thankfully, AR changed its mind but changes would be made. A spokesman told
Melody Maker "All long-
In April 1959 Douggie Squires leaves and Peter Darrell becomes the new choreographer,
while Daphne Shadwell becomes the new director after Brian Taylor leaves the studio
to take the show on the road. Like so many other TV shows Cool For Cats was set for
the stage, and in May 1959 the show had a trial run at the Chiswick Empire, followed
by further shows at the Finsbury Park Empire. It featured a dozen or so numbers performed
by Johnnie Lee, Derry Hart, Janice Peters and Billy Raymond and a team of dancers
led by choreographer Denys Palmer took part. The stage show would be back 2nd September
1959, this time touring Granada theatres, with a show starring Petula Clark, Tony
Brent and Don Lang, along with the dancers. Kent Walton would compere the show, while
Ker Robertson acts as co-
Like many of the shows at the time Parlophone Records released a tie-
In December 1959 and again in Spring 1960 Labour MP Roy Mason made accusations against TV presenters who might have been involved in payola. He claimed both Robertson and Walton had direct connections with record companies, Robertson with Pye and Walton with Top Rank. Despite the allegations no proof is produced and no action is taken.
Three of the regular dancers left the show at the end of 1958 to appear on Rediffusion's new series The 1959 Show.
By the late fifties new shows like Oh Boy!, Boy Meets Girls, Wham! etc regularly
featured real rock acts in its line-