The demise of Discs-
Talking to Melody Maker in early 1966 he said "When we were putting Now together we had to decide which of the old Discs A Gogo formula to eliminate and which to retain, and whether a more intelligent approach away from wild hysteria would be better. I knew the kids would appreciate this because we had done market research and one of the things they liked about the old Discs A Gogo was that we didn't have this hysterical quality. From this, the Now formula evolved and is still evolving."
Michael Palin had been hired as the resident comic, performing filmed silent sketches
inserted between the studio-
In an interview with The Independent in 2008 Palin recalled that it was an impersonation of the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson that helped land him the job. Talking about staging the show "It was very cumbersome, with four presenters and two or three groups who had to be got on and off the small stage. Top of the Pops could have three or four big names but we could afford only one and had to take whatever we could get for virtually nothing." Palin also had the unenviable job of trying to balance his hosting duties with his wedding, leading to a two day honeymoon between shooting commitments.
Some of his silent film sketches would be accompanied by a chart hit, for example
a film where he was a long-
Bryan Michie, programme controller at TWW described the show as an experiment. Talking
to The Stage he said "We will continue to change and shape the programme according
to viewer reaction. We are definitely abandoning the all-
Among the many acts who made the effort to go down to Bristol to appear were Manfred
Mann, Tom Jones, The Animals, Yardbirds and from America Patti LaBelle and The Belles,
Doris Troy and Lee Dorsey. The show seemed to have definite R&B leanings as it hired
Georgie Fame to write the theme tune. American acts were targeted as the production
team felt that their presentation was much more interesting than their own home-
On 26th January 1966 Tracey Rogers joined the presentation team, and it was also
rumoured that singer Billie Davis might be hired as a commere. In February 1966 TWW
moved the show from Wednesday evening to Friday evening, having already dropped Ready
Steady Go from its schedules. The show was pre-
The comedy aspect attracted pop stars who wanted to play along. On one occasion Spencer Davis impersonated Bernard Levin as a part of show's weekly Pop Periscope piece which looked at the pop music press, while a quote from Gary Walker/Leeds suggests there might have been a plot each week. Talking to Disc magazine he said "I've not come across a pop show like this before. The story theme is such a good idea." The show would also have a weekly fashion film feature.
The 1st July 1966 edition featured ten local bands hoping to win the show's Popportunity Now contest. Producer Chris Mercer went through all 153 entries, calling in 26 of them for audition before whittling them down to ten for the broadcast. Tom Jones and Spencer Davis were among the judges.
The show was good enough to impress the usually bored and sarcastic London music press. Just before the show's demise Record Mirror devoted an entire page to a show which was only seen in one region well outside of London. Quoting producer Chris Mercer "'Now' differs from all other pop shows in that it takes a wry look at the real world behind the hysteria and ballyhoo whilst still giving the kids what they want in the way of music, dancing and other pop items. We take the view that the pop fans are intelligent and critical, and not nearly as gullible as the publicity boys suggest. So we don't try to insult their intelligence by lumping together a handful of star names and throwing the show together around them." Maybe he was taking a pop at Ready Steady Go's recent decision to give over a large portion of the show to a 'star' name. "We also try to vary the format as much as possible from week to week, so that, by never sticking to a stereotyped routine and constantly incorporating new ideas, the show maintains its fresh approach."
Despite its success, "fresh approach" and respect in the press and music industry
it was announced in mid June 1966 that the show would come to an end the following
month, just as Thank Your Lucky Stars was coming to an end. Bryan Michie claims "The
pop scene is changing this year and our next teenage programme might have to be a
different type of show. We will study the position this autumn". Show writers Wale
and Steeples were not surprised at the decision saying "We believe in perishable
pop shows." TWW's next show would be very short-
Although it's thought that none of the original full shows exist several of Palin's filmed inserts exist in the ITV archive and the National Library of Wales.