TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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9th October 1970 - 2nd September 1976

A series of live shows in front of a typically non-responsive British audience featuring the finest singer songwriter talent from both sides of the Atlantic.

Produced by Stanley Dorfman, the series kicked off with Joni Mitchell playing songs from her forthcoming Blue album, followed by John Sebastian, Elton John, Bobbie Gentry, Nash & Crosby, James Taylor, Tony Joe White, Randy Newman, Mason Williams, Alan Price, Mac Davis, Tom Paxton and Pentangle, and that was just the first few months. It was after meeting Bobbie Gentry that Dorfman was given the task of producing her own BBC TV series.

When series two started in April 1971 Neil Young treated us to songs from his new album Harvest, yet to be released, continuing with Melanie, Labi Siffre, Gallagher and Lyle, Carole King with guest James Taylor, Laura Nyro, Cat Stevens, Lesley Duncam, Jimmy Webb with Gilbert O'Sullivan rounding off the year.

When the series returned in 1972 it was with Harry Nilsson. Not used to playing concerts he chose to make the show alone in the studio using multi-take performances merged to make it appear that there were three of him, similar to his own vocal multi-tracking. He would work with Dorfman again, shooting a TV commercial for one of his albums, Duit On Mon Dei.

The series would continue until 1976, but by this time it veered more toward the middle of the road. The Old Grey Whistle Test presented a series of concerts of its own in 1976 which probably led to its cancellation.