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Popular Music on British Television

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PUTTING ON THE DONEGAN

ATV
26th June 1959 - 10th August 1962, plus one-off on 25th August 1962

A series starring Skiffle King Lonnie Donegan who was joined by the usual musical and variety guests.

Donegan appeared in a summer season in Blackpool in 1961 using the title Putting On The Donegan, which had also been used for a one off show for ATV two years’ previously. BBC Television covered several summer shows including this one and went as far as using the show's name, which would also be used for a full series for ATV the following year.

His musical tastes ranged from blues, gospel, country to British music hall, and they all featured in the show. However, most of the guests were of the middle of the road and trad jazz variety, many of them also recorded for Pye Records, owned by ATV.

Donegan would also get involved in small scale comedy sketch clips at the beginning and end of the shows, something which would become commonplace later in the decade with Cliff, Dusty and Lulu. Talking to Disc ahead of the final series he spoke about the comedy angle "I'm no genius and it's taken me a long time to learn, but it's a thing I've always wanted to do and I think I've learnt now, in just the same way as I learnt to sing." Talking to Pop Weekly at about the same time he said "There'll It other guests popping in from time to time, but generally it will be the same formula as before. Some singing and clowning around, and as wide a variety of songs as we can get together...'

Singing group The Raindrops joined as regular guests in 1962 and featured Jackie Lee and Vince Hill, both of whom would later have successful solo careers.

The show was an attempt to widen his appeal, and would occasionally make an appearance in the TAM network ratings, but it came to an end just before The Beatles released their first single, and like so many others the place just wasn't the same afterwards.