Launched as a replacement for The Six-Five Special, with the Radio Times referring
to it as "The Six-Five Show", broadcast on Saturdays from 6:05 to 6:30 pm.
Producer Francis Essex spoke of the show's competition with Oh Boy "this is going
to be a straight forward fight". Good retorted "the whole thing is very flattering
that my former employers should have paid me such a tribute". Essex claimed at the
time never to have seen Oh Boy! the show Dig This was meant to compete with.
The resident group were the seventeen-piece Musician's Union band Bob Miller & The
Millermen, while the host was ex-serviceman and Sandhurst Graduate Gary Marshall.
It tried to copy Oh Boy! in terms of pace, but failed. The set design was the opposite
of the stern black background of Oh Boy by having back projected lights. A report
in The Stage in early 1959 suggests that the show had an usual attitude to visuals
while mocking the musical style that the show would have thrived on which would have
amused the Musician's Union no end. Bob Miller & The Millermen seemed to be able
to move around the stage like a marching band adding to the visual style. Talking
to The Stage producer Essex said "in Dig This we play seventeen numbers, half of
which are already in the hit parade and half we think will be shortly".
Complaints about the show seemed to suggest that it was big on noise, but low on
energy and failing to attract the kind of rock and roll names in favour of Light
Programme fare. However, it must have proved successful as it was announced in late
February that the original thirteen week run was to be extended until the end of
June. However, just a few weeks later in early March sense prevailed and it was taken
off the air later in the month due to poor ratings.
Producers had failed to address the main problem that The Six-Five Special had which
was its musical allegiance and identity. It promoted itself as lively and 'with it',
but not really rock n roll. Dig This regulars The Polka Dots were there for the mums,
but this wasn't a show for mums. Attracting the elder audience was not what these
shows should have been doing and Jack Good knew that. The problem that Dig This and
others like it had was the lack of great new rock n roll talent. Elvis was in the
army, but would never come to Britain anyway, while very few American artist came
to the UK. Buddy Holly, Conway Twitty, Marvin Rainwater, The Teenagers with Frankie
Lymon and, briefly Jerry Lee Lewis had made the transatlantic crossing to great acclaim,
but the vacuum could only be filled with more American acts, not with pale imitators
from the UK. These shows relied on second best and the kids knew it.
The decision to cancel and replace it was made very quickly. Bob Miller & The Millermen
must have been seen as a success as they were to be brought over to the replacement
show Drum Beat scheduled to start at the beginning of April, while American drama
Wells Fargo would fill the gap in the meantime.
An ill-advised attempt to take on the best of its genre, something that producers
of The Roxy would find to its cost thirty years later.