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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

From TV Times "The rendezvous of popular recording stars from both sides of the Atlantic with Gerry Wilmot as the Shop Keeper and Vice-President in charge of contests in which everyone will be invited to participate. Big prizes and fun for all."

A half-hour, mid-afternoon offering from one of the new ITV franchises, offering similar fare to BBC's Off The Record with visiting singers promoting their new releases as well as promotional film clips from American artists. Hosted by Gerry Wilmot, later to be joined by Rita Gillespie, it was initially called ABC Music Shop, then ATV Music Shop, but was shorn of it's station identification at the beginning of 1956. The show concentrated on the popular singing and dance band stars of the time like Lita Roza, Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson, Anne Shelton, Ronnie Hilton and Joe Loss rather then rock and roll or pop, but it did give some pre-Oh Boy! exposure for organist Cherry Wainer, and despite an appearance by Chris Barber's Jazz Band it was unlikely that it gave much, if any, time for skiffle.

Despite a claim in the TV Times that it was "the Rendezvous of popular recording stars from both sides of the Atlantic" there's little evidence of American artists appearing on the show, in fact, reference to American artists was later dropped in the magazine.

Musical backing was provided by a group led by Tommy Maxwell and Ted Brennan, while an associated talent show led to a concert in Brixton on 4th March 1956.

The show ended October 1956 only to be brought back two years' later, this time hosted by Teddy Johnson, singer and sometime Radio Luxembourg DJ. It still used the basic idea of new songs and releases, this time featuring Jack Parnell and The Counterhands. It also boasted early TV appearances for Shirley Bassey and Dudley Moore.

Proving successful the show was given an two extensions in its second run, as the show was intended for a six-week run, then extended to three months, extended again from 7th December 1958.

Teddy Johnson told TV Times in May 1959 "We get plenty of requests for good numbers I had forgotten about. The programme is watched by people of wide tastes. I even get asked to do some opera. Imagine me singing an operatic aria!"

Host Johnson and his singing partner Pearl Carr signed a contract for the summer season 1959 in Torquay but learned that the contract stipulated that they could not appear on TV for the three months leading up to the duo's debut appearance. Succeeding in getting the stipend down to one month Johnson then found that the show had been extended until the end of June. Talking to Melody Maker Johnson agreed "It's quite a problem. We must try to work out an amicable solution."

When the series returned in September 1959 it was broadcast at 11.00 pm for the first few weeks before moving back to its regular Sunday afternoon showing.

It was replaced by Late Night Music, also hosted by Teddy Johnson which began 28th February 1960 until another name change to Late Date in March.


ABC/ATV  24th September 1955 - 20th October 1956, returning 14th September 1958 - 21st February 1960