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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Having made himself indispensable in Eric Idle's Rutland Weekend Television and its spin-off The Rutles ex-Bonzo Dog Band's Neil Innes was offered the opportunity to see how cheaply BBC producers could make a TV series. Innes had claimed that he wanted to call the series 'Parodies Lost', but his producer Ian Keill won out.

From the Radio Times "In this new musical diversion, the sounds of today echo back nostalgically from a loophole in time." The opening credit sequence for the first series made reference to Innes' biggest hit The Urban Spaceman, a song which we would perform in the third series.

The three series of six shows each gave Innes the chance to remind people what a versatile and under-rated writer he was, but there would also be room for guests like Jake Thackaray, Ivor Cutler, Michael Palin, Kenny Everett, Stanley Unwin, John Cooper-Clarke and Vivian Stanshall, as well as a crop of British eccentrics, poets, musicians, dancers and artists.

Innes' musical partner John Altman was credited as musical director in all series, while Innes appears not to have used his band Fatso. An album of songs from the first series was released by Polydor, rather than the BBC who had previously released the Rutland Weekend Songbook.

For the second series beginning in June 1980 the Radio Times boasted that "the song parodies were filmed on location", which either meant that this was seen as an act of generosity by the BBC, or location filming was actually cheaper than studio recording, but they did allow him some animated sequences this time around.

The third and final series in 1981 saw Innes competing with himself as he was a weekly guest on Thames' Frankie Howerd Strikes Again, while he had also found regular work writing songs for TV commercials which he would do for several years.

Although this was the end for the show Innes popped up again in 1982 performing songs for BBC2's Jane, a TV adaptation of the Daily Mirror's cheeky wartime heroine cartoon strip.

The series was repeated in the early days of UK Gold TV which is the source of many of the on-line clips.



17th January 1979 - 9th November 1981