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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Roy Rich, programme controller for Southern TV had been looking for a disc show "with a difference" for two years. Instead he got a show similar in format to BBC’s Juke Box Jury, but this time teenagers take on their parents (squares) in a record voting contest. The three youths and three parents were given time to comment on the record and then they would vote the record a 'buy' or a 'break'. If a record was voted a buy then it would be put on a shelf, but if was voted a break then something like a cannonball would roll along alternating shelves and destroy the record. An "infernal machine" which was meant to eject the shattered bits of record, but failed to work every time on the first show. There would also be a discussion on that week's top ten in the Southern area, while a celebrity would be on one of the panels each week.


A pilot, devised by comedian and former Juke Box Jury producer Barry Langford had been made by ATV in 1960 and hosted by actor Bill Owen. Southern later took up the idea and hired a new producer Angus Wright, along with a new host, Sandra Stone, an eighteen year old shop assistant from Worthing in Sussex. Langford himself was the Chairman, to be replaced in September 1963 by band leader Eric Winstone.


The Southern pilot was recorded, possibly for broadcast on 9th May 1963. A "Desperation Bell" was used in the pilot show. “Panellists who simply can't stand the record any longer buzz that ... and have to pay a forfeit” claimed Pop Weekly magazine. Southern's pilot pitted singer Garry Mills against his father Chas, while actress Pat Burke contested with her niece. "Flash, Bang, Wallop" by Tommy Steele was one of the records played in the show. Langford told Record Mirror in April 1963 "I'm knocked out that it's gone down so well. I've had the show on my mind for a long time now and sometimes wondered if it was worth persevering with..."


By November 1963 plans were afoot to take the show on the road and record it as an outside broadcast in the Southern region, while a new Chairman Peter Haigh would join in December 1963. The show's creator left Southern Television to re-join the the BBC in late 1963. John Gledhill became the new chairman for the road show version in February 1964 with the show visiting theatres across the region, proving so successful that the show hits the top ten local TAM ratings.


The show was due to run for thirteen weeks, but ended up running for just under a year, proving it to be a "buy". Grampian and Tyne Tees on the ITV network also took the show. However, this was not the end as BBC's Light Programme radio service had recorded a pilot show with the title in early 1965, while Barry Langford later took off to Australia and worked on nine different shows for TV there with Dad You're A Square being one of them.



DAD, YOU’RE A SQUARE


Southern

21st June 1963 - 13th May 1964