The web site you are now viewing started life before the term world wide web was coined, in fact when I began creating this in 1984 the idea of home computing had only been properly realised with the introduction of the Apple Macintosh. So, it was out with the pen and paper, and so it continued until 1994 when I bought my first PC to help deliver my second music reference book.
Having been born in 1961 I was lucky enough to have witnessed two cultural explosions
in Britain simultaneously, The Beatles and television, and starting school shortly
after my father’s death I retreated to the solace that meant the most to me and quickly
found that my two best friends were right there at home, pop music and ‘the box’.
They never argued with me, they never stole my football, they never wanted homework
at nine the next morning, they were there for me, more or less, whenever I needed
them. I looked forward to Ready Steady Go!, Top Of The Pops, Five O’ Clock Club,
Time For Blackburn!, All Systems Freeman! and other tele pleasures of the mid to
late sixties more than I did proper children’s programming. Blue Peter seemed to
be designed for prissy middle-
The little pop music played on the officially government sanctioned radio, in this
case the BBC Light Programme, was watered down by bizarre cover versions by the Northern
Dance Orchestra and other Musician Union bands hired to keep the music live, or more
likely to keep MU musicians in work. Television didn't seem to suffer the same fate,
when you heard My Generation it was only going to be The Who, not Uncle Bob Sharples
and the ABC Showband. There was something more genuine about pop on TV than the fare
offered by BBC radio. We could see it was The Who, and I think they knew we could
see them too. Most of my living room memories of pop music from the sixties seem
to favour television rather than radio. But when it came, much later in life of course,
to relate the joy of old shows to friends and colleagues I could only guess at the
exact era I was talking about, I had no proof that Jimi Hendrix actually appeared
on Ready Steady Go! but I knew he did, because I saw it, so there. But there’s the
problem, proof. No-
I've decided to display the data in chronological order so we can see the progression
of popular music and how it was treated on television from the mid-
I'm not mad enough (yet) to declare that "this is it, this is everything". It isn't,
and could never be. Despite my best attempts (excluding a prohibitively expensive
trawl through the BBC and ITV paper archives) this will never be complete. The data
listed here were compiled from newspapers, TV listings, music papers etc and were
correct at time of printing, leaving last minute changes (particularly on live shows)
Your past has been destroyed, your memories wiped. I hope I can provoke an old dormant memory, or at least a feeling of what it was like to look forward to RSG! of a Friday evening after you had your tea.
Almost becoming choked up after seeing running orders of old shows I recall as a
child it gave me a heartening soul-
Assembling the data in its present form made me quite aware of the number of acts
that never had the kind of success that they worked so hard for, yet these were the
kind of acts television producers relied so much on. I think it would be unfair and
unrepresentative of television history to exclude the not-
As mentioned earlier I can’t help you with where these shows are now. Up until the late seventies the two BBC channels and the stations that made up the ITV network had very differing approaches to keeping old programmes. I refer to ‘old programmes’ as I’m sure all cases they’d never see it as ‘archiving’. With very few exceptions (the Queen’s Coronation, for example) there was never any intention of any of the channels to keep an archive for cultural or historical purposes. Shows were only kept if there was a demand from overseas broadcasters, or a definite repeat showing at some point in the future. It was my intention when initially contemplating this site to include information about what still exists, but this would also infer that everything else doesn’t exist, which may (hopefully) be wrong. It’s also my intention every now and again to put up features and articles about shows, genres, people etc. If there’s anything you’d like to see then please get in touch.
I should have enjoyed compiling this more than I did, but a repetitive sensation of loss replaced the joy all too often. Not a personal sense of loss one would expect from realising that too many years were paraded in front of me in the form of old TV listings, but the loss of things that once existed, that no longer exist, in any form. Film and television should be preserved. It is possible, once filmed, only deterioration or misplacement will take it away. Only in this case, it is the deliberate destruction that is particularly hurtful, I had a past, now I don’t with only a black and white memory left. And the beat goes on...? The BBC admitted in April 1996 that they had lost the first episode of children’s drama series Byker Grove, only transmitted in October 1989, and were looking for a home video copy to broadcast on The Children’s Channel satellite station.
The feeling I had reading through the old listings was one of reading my own diary.
This was something I wasn’t really prepared for and was a little scary. As a non-