From Daily Mirror
DONOVAN, the 19-year-old folk singer, gets a programme to himself on ITV tonight
("A Boy Called Donovan," 9.40). But it's not the sort of programme you might expect-
Elkan Allan, who used to look after light entertainment for Rediffusion, had the
idea of projecting Donovan in a semi-documentary story. In his new post as executive
producer for special projects, he put the suggestion to director Charlie Squires.
"Frankly Charlie wasn't very keen, but he agreed to meet Donovan and after he had
met him he was sufficiently impressed to go ahead with the film." Originally planned
as a forty five minutes production, the material proved of such interest that Rediffusion
have given it an hour. The programme traces Donovan's early days as a wandering singer.
There is no commentary - just his singing and some of his poems. We filmed Donovan
in Portobello Market" says director Squires. "We show him shopping in Carnaby Street
and at a sale of veteran cars. Wherever we went friend Gypsy Dave came along too.
The two boys met on the road and have been together ever since."
Filming took place in October 1965 with the intention of showing it before the end
of the year. The show was given the ultimate honour of being given the colour front
cover of that weeks' TV Times, and talking about the show in the accompanying article
Donovan said "This television show is a sort of screen test for me. A three-dimensional
relief the public hasn't seen before." One of the best remembered scenes shows Donovan
rehearsing at Ready Steady Go with the Sir Douglas Quintet looking on, bemused or
Unfortunately for Donovan a scene where his friends were seen smoking pot caught
the attention of the later discredited drugs squad officer Norman Pilcher. On the
16th June 1966 ITN ran a story about Donovan's drug bust at his flat on the Edgware
Road in London. Pilcher was a complex man who wished to make a very public example
of these long-haired reprobates, but at the same time seemingly attracted to, and
jealous of, them and their fame. After many notorious, and legally dubious, rock
star arrests Pilcher received a four year prison sentence in 1973 for perjury. He
was given his own World in Action report the same year, finally getting the fame
The show had been given two working titles 'The Man Donovan' and 'Donovan - The Story
of His Life And Times', while the show was due to feature Cops N Robbers, a group
who were friends of Donovan and also recorded for Pye.
Although the show has never been repeated there is now some hope that BMG might make
it available on disc at some point.