TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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10th January 1970 - 25th July 1971

This show, the successor to Colour me Pop featured acts playing live in a studio setting, the studio in this case being the vacated premises of Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 productions in Slough, Berkshire, and like its predecessor it had production ties to BBC2's daily arts strand Late Night Line Up, with Line Up's editor Rowan Ayes as producer.

Tommy Vance was the show’s first host, later to be replaced by Pete Drummond and Mike Harding from the second series onwards, while Richard Williams, who would later host the first series of the Old Grey Whistle Test was an interviewer on later editions, as was actor and Radio One DJ Mike Raven.

Vance explained the show's vision on the very first edition "our idea is to present twenty-five minutes of pop from the past, the present and the future". Quite why oldies were a part of the musical line up was unknown, but Whistle Test would often gave time to fifties and sixties rock and roll and pop acts, but in this case it seems the oldies' spot was banished quickly.

Philip Jenkinson of Filmfinders was hired to provide animated sequences to fit the weekly oldies spot and album tracks, a job that would continue with The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Cramming in as much music in the time allowed meant that the host appeared to take on the role of a DJ, occasionally crashing the intro of a song, something more akin to Top of the Pops, and like Top of the Pops Disco 2 used a Led Zeppelin track for their opening credits sequence, in this case Moby Dick.

Disco 2 was recorded in a small studio, so like Whistle Test the singer / songwriter types got to perform totally live, but bands had to sing over a pre-recorded backing track.

The show was voted the best TV pop show in the music weekly Melody Maker for 1970 and things were proceeding nicely, but controversy hounded the final shows as one of the producers had been on the unfortunate end of a News of the World sting when he accepted money from the newspaper to allow the band Demon Fuzz to appear on the show in return for a £200 payment. The band themselves knew nothing of the payment by the newspaper, so never gave permission to be involved. The producer later confessed to the BBC and was fired.

The final show was listed in the Radio Times as 'the last in the present series' which suggests that another series might have been a reality, but the show was dropped and gave way to a hastily arranged replacement, The Old Grey Whistle Test which launched two months' later, also produced by one of Disco 2's executive producers Michael Appleton.

The Radio Times and newspapers would refer to the show as Line-Up's Disco 2, but the show itself never used the prefix on the opening credits.

Only three complete shows and some live inserts are known to exist.