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Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Singer Hopkin came to prominence through her Opportunity Knocks wins in 1968 and after a tip-off from Twiggy Paul McCartney signed her to Apple Records. Her amazing voice and good looks made her a television favourite and she would make many appearances in the first eighteen months of her professional career. However, the Light Entertainment department of the BBC decided to step things up a bit when they offered her the chance to represent Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970. Despite the mediocre quality of the songs in the recent past she said yes. The winning song didn't disappoint, it was dreadful and Hopkin must have cursed the day she agreed to do it. She was now in Light Entertainment hell.

In autumn 1970 she agreed to appear in a new venture. Originally announced as a BBC2 show it was a six part series in which she would journey through six lands of fantasy through film, legend, theatre, books, rhymes, and pantomime. The latter would probably bring back memories of her own panto experience in Dick Whittington at the London Palladium earlier in the year. She would also go on to play the lead role in Cinderella in Manchester at the end of the year.

Barry Clayman of MAM, Mary's management company told Melody Maker "It will be a kind of Mary Through The Looking Glass series. Mary in the land of theatre, films, the nursery etc. Guests will be chosen to fit the subject. A crowd of child actors and dancers will be featured." Each show would start off in the present day and then go into the fantasy world.

The series was devised and written by Eric Merriman, co-writer with Barry Took of Kenneth Horne's brilliant radio show Beyond Our Ken in the sixties. The show would also involve comedy, dancing and a cast of children who would follow Mary from song to song.

Each week a different aspect of fantasy would be presented with Mary singing about half a dozen songs, sometimes duetting with a guest. The show was squarely aimed at children but bizarrely was broadcast at 8.30 pm. However, the series would be repeated at tea-time in May 1971. Talking to the Daily Mirror at the time of the first broadcast she said "The only thing that appeals to me apart from the job I'm doing at the moment is to be an infant-school teacher."

The series no longer exists in the BBC archives, but a fan made audio recordings and passed them onto Mary herself who released some of them on her You Look Familiar album in 2010. www.maryhopkin.com



6th November 1970 - 11th December 1970