TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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12th October 1961 - 31st March 1968, 11th August 1968

After their unfortunate starring vehicle Running Wild in 1954 they wisely stayed away from television for the next few years, until persuaded by Val Parnell at ATV to make guest appearances in variety shows.

Establishing themselves as a solid booking Parnell took a chance and set aside time for a series 'Bernard Delfont Presents The Morecambe & Wise Show', a thirty minute show debuting 12th October 1961 across the ITV network. The show was written by S.C.Green (Sid) and R.M.Hills (Dick) who would stay with the duo until the late sixties.

All of the guest musical acts were singers like Gary Miller, Cleo Laine, Valerie Masters and trad jazz acts like Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Dick Charlesworth.

The second series, now titled Two Of A Kind had the same singers and trad jazz routine with The Beverley Sisters, Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson as the singers with a different trad jazz group each week. By the time of the third series the weekly trad jazz band was phased out and more singers were brought in and once in a while a pop group like Joe Brown and His Bruvvers would be used.

The title Two of a Kind was dropped in 1964 the singers and trad jazz returned, however the 18th April 1964 show featured The Beatles who played live and joined in on a sketch with Eric and Ernie. The following week everything returned to normal for the rest of the series with guests like Edmund Hockridge, Acker Bilk and The Bachelors. There were no new shows in 1965, instead a Best Of Morecambe and Wise filled the space until the new series began in January 1966.

This new series had pop acts as guests from the beginning as well as the usual middle of the road singers. The likes of Lulu, Georgie Fame, Herman's Hermits turned up. The final ATV series 1967 into 1968 was filmed in colour for the USA where it would be renamed Piccadilly Palace, a summer replacement for Hollywood Palace. Acts this time included The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Hollies, The Moody Blues among others.

The move to BBC2 in 1968 however saw a return to the early sixties reliance of trad jazz and singers, but Elton John would appear a couple of times in the mid-seventies.