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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

A weekly dance band presentation with regulars The Cyril Stapleton Orchestra, Joe 'Mister Piano' Henderson and singer Jo Shelton. Every week the show would be on location in a ballroom, and the band would play while the audience dances.


Stapleton's band had been created after World War II, but he would later became leader of the BBC Show Band backing the likes of Frank Sinatra, leading to regular appearances on BBC TV's The Show Band Show in the mid-fifties.


The second series began 3rd November 1959 with the show broadcast from Majestic Ballroom, Finsbury Park, London. Stapletoin and his 16 piece band were back with singer Ray Merrell. This time a few pop artists were thrown in in the shape of Emile Ford and The Checkmates and Duffy Power who became a regular, Michael Holliday, Bert Weedon, Winifred Atwell and early appearances by Frank Ifield and Kathy Kirby.


Due to the show not having a script Stapleton's introductions for each song had to be ad-libbed, leading him on one show to pose a question to the audience to which he would present an LP to the winner. This would lead to a weekly quiz within the show which one show receiving 13,000 replies.


A TV Times article on the show published in February 1960 suggested that the show had less rehearsal time than most due to the setting up of all the necessary broadcast equipment, leading to only 90 minutes in front of camera rehearsal time. However, between 7.00 and 10.30 pm the cast and crew would have to vacate the dancefloor to allow the regular patrons and dance band to use the ballroom. When they have left the cameras and band move back in to present the live show from 11.00 pm onwards. "Our great problem," said show director Michael Style, "is to keep the ballroom atmosphere going in the half-hour before the show, when the palais band has gone and before the Stapleton orchestra and the TV equipment are back in position. We play dance records and invite the customers to continue dancing right up until Cyril's audience warm-up."



THE MELODY DANCES


ATV

2nd January 1959 - 31st May 1960