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Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Southern had decided to give producer Mike Mansfield the choice of one of two pop shows shows to turn into a new regular series. As You Like It, which had been running until the summer was one, while the Jonathan King hosted New Release would be the other.

The idea behind New Release would be for artists to come on, perform their 'new release', and then for a panel of other artists, DJs and journalists to discuss it. Why anyone thought a replacement for the outgoing Juke Box Jury would be a good idea or successful was a puzzle.

The first one off show was broadcast in September 1967, hosted by Tony Hall with a second try-out on the 16th October, this time hosted by Tony Blackburn with guests including Keith Moon. Not only did the show get picked up for a series run in November 1967, but Blackburn was also chosen as host as the originally chosen host King had been given his own show by ATV.

According to a report in the NME in August 1967 Southern TV did not rule out the possibility that As You Like It could return, although it was unlikely to run simultaneously with New Release.

The pilot edition featured The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, complete with fiery head dress. According to a review of the pilot edition in Disc "Only clever camera-work saved New Release from looking remarkably like Thank Your Lucky Stars with a dash of Juke Box Jury added to broaden its base." Each show would start with a zany film clip featuring Sandie Shaw, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Arthur Brown, Anita Harris, Cat Stevens, The Tremeloes, Long John Baldry, Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert and the host Tony Blackburn.

Sadly for the respective broadcasters and fans alike there would be an overlap of five minutes of two shows that launched on the same night with All Systems Freeman finishing at 7.05 pm, and New Release beginning at 7.00 pm. Neither show blinked and stuck to their respective time slots. Mansfield expressed his frustration to Disc in mid-December 1967 "This is an absurd situation. The BBC audiences will be hit, ITV audiences will be hit, but worst hit of all will be the fans themselves. If this proves the case, it's strange to say the least that the BBC are putting on a show that's a complete duplicate of ours." Alan Freeman replied "There won't really be much clash because my show will be just about finished by the time Tony's starts. As far as the concept of the show I can't really comment until I've seen Tony's show - but I should imagine there will be lot of difference in ideas between the two shows." Freeman received an invite to the opening show's party at the Waldorf hotel in London, but didn't accept.

Other ITV channels decided against showing it as they had reservations about the overlap with the Alan Freeman show, but if the ratings were good then they would reconsider. But with Doddy's Music Box on at the weekend, it was unlikely to be shown elsewhere.

Blackburn claimed on the first show in January 1968 "Couldn't really have too much controversy on tonight's show - after all, all the records were good." However, the show courted controversy from the start by banning The Love Affair after they revealed that they didn't play on their biggest hit Everlasting Love.

A feature of the show was asking the public which singles they thought would be in the top thirty two weeks' later, with winners receiving prizes of LPs. A weekly vox pop piece would also feature in Freeman's show.

Broadcast from from the station’s Southampton studios, it was originally planned to run for six weeks from the end of September. It only ran for a few weeks in early 1968 before being re-vamped in a new format as Time For Blackburn! The series was due to proceed a second series of As You Like It, but that never happened.

Apparently the title tune, The Margarine Flavoured Pineapple Chunk, was written by Anita Harris.



8th September 1967, 16th October 1967, 5th January 1968 - 23rd February 1968