The BBC chose a quick replacement for the failed Dig This!, but to give its replacement
a better chance of survival it was decided not to directly compete with Oh Boy!,
so it began the show just as the other show finishes at 6.30 pm. Dig This! regulars
Bob Miller and The Millermen were still resident this time around, and joined by
The John Barry Seven, Adam Faith, Sylvia Sands and ex-
The BBC had assigned Stewart Morris, a newcomer with only four months experience
in TV, as the producer. He told Melody Maker "This will be a fresh, fast-
The first shows were hosted by Radio Luxembourg DJ Gus Goodwin, who together with the producer and Bob Miller chose the songs for the show. Goodwin would in turn be replaced with Oh Boy's Trevor Peacock, another sign that the BBC meant business. The show was recorded at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London in front of an audience of 200. This was the nearest the BBC would get to the fever pitch of Oh Boy!, crowding the stage with as many singers and musicians as the camera frame could catch. Musically the choice was upbeat, with only one or two ballads per week, and The John Barry Seven providing the small group numbers.
Talking to Melody Maker about the obvious comparisons to Oh Boy producer Stewart
Morris defended his show "Nonsense. We use the same sort of artists because the youngsters
demand them. But our production is different, the camera work is different and the
performers are, I think, better." Talking about whether it was all performed live
he claimed "None of the pre-
Problems arose when producer Stewart Morris had taken issue with Billy Fury learning the wrong song one week and decided to let him go, causing a problem between the producer and Fury’s manager Larry Parnes who provided so many singers for shows.
To make sure that producer Morris didn't make the same mistake that Francis Essex
had made with Dig This by claiming that he had never seen Oh Boy Jack Good invited
Morris to The Hackney Empire to see the show live. After Oh Boy! finished it's run
on 30th May 1959 Marty Wilde crossed over to Drumbeat to become a regular. Other
Oh Boy! regulars Cliff Richard and The Drifters also appeared, while American one
hit wonders The Poni-
In April 1959 regular vocal groups The Kingpins and The Three Barry Sisters were replaced with The Raindrops, featuring Jackie Lee and The Lana Sisters, featuring Shan Lana (aka Dusty Springfield).
In May 1959 it was announced that the show would be given a nine week extension,
taking advantage of Oh Boy's absence from the screen, but by the time Jack Good returned
with his next Saturday evening show it was time for Drumbeat to move on. The Daily
Mirror quotes regular guest John Barry as saying "I think the teenagers will find
Drumbeat is more than 'with it.'" This seemed not to be the case as the show was
not commissioned for a second series. Despite its comparable unpopularity producer
Stewart Morris was assured by the BBC audience research department that they were
ahead by one and a half million viewers. He boasted to Melody Maker "We estimate
that our show is seen in five million homes which gives us an approximate viewing
figure of 15 million." While an ABC spokesman counter-
Stewart Morris announced to the press in June 1959 that he had approached Little Richard and Ricky Nelson to appear on the show. Talking to Melody Maker he said "These artists will give the show a tremendous boost. Negotiations are in progress at the moment and I hope to see them here for short series during July and August." Turner denied this was a stunt intended to cashing in while Oh Boy was on a summer break, "Not at all. I like competition. It keeps us all on our toes. I don't think that our viewing figures will jump very much now that we're the only rock show on TV. I think that most of the teenagers watched both shows anyway."
The 6th June show had a special guest in the audience, Jack Good. He was introduced to the audience by Stewart Morris and later asked for his opinion of the show Good claimed "It was a very good production."
No shows are thought to exist, however a Fontana EP released in May 1959 is taken directly from the TV soundtrack, while a Parlophone album based on the show was recorded 10th May 1959, at Abbey Road, in front of an invited audience of 150 teenagers.
For the definitive word on this series visit the Drumbeat web site.