Devised by Rediffusion to capitalise on the emergent British Beat Boom of the Summer
of 1963. It was Dusty Springfield’s secretary, and later manager, Vicki Wickham who
came up with the idea for the show, specifically aimed at the more mod audience.
It was broadcast live from Studio Nine at Rediffusion’s studio at Kingsway, London.
Wickham was the series’ editor, while Radio Luxembourg DJ Keith Fordyce hosted the
show for it’s first year or so along with his co-
A trial show (it’s not known if this was a taped / filmed pilot) was held at The
Royal in Tottenham featuring The Springfields and gave the producer and editor an
idea of what to expect when the show debuted. However, the audience had no idea what
to expect as the first show not only featured Billy Fury and Brian Poole and The
Tremeloes, but also featured Joyce Blair, Joe Loss, Burl Ives and Pat Boone, not
exactly a way to start any weekend. The initial idea was to hold the show not only
inside the studio at Kingsway with an audience of 150 and Keith Fordyce introducing
the acts, but also in the lobby where Canadian co-
TV Times describes the debut show in August 1963 “Keith Fordyce invites you to join him and David Gell to meet a host of guest stars from all sides of entertainment including Billy Fury, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, listen to hit discs, see a scene from a recent movie, dance with the teenagers in the studio, find out what's swinging this weekend.”
The original producer was Francis Hitching and the production team chose the open
set which was a popular concept at the time. The whole studio was exposed to an aerial
camera which the show always started with. A typical opening scene would have the
aerial camera staring down on the dancing audience then it would cut to a ground
level camera which would be on Keith Fordyce in time for his opening line “well,
hi there!” At one time or another cameras would be in full view. The open studio
set was first used by AR-
The mods made the show their own, but no Parker-
Directors of the shown included Michael Lindsay-
The show’s opening titles launched the catch-
The BBC’s reaction to counter RSG! with its own completely networked alternative Top Of The Pops at the beginning of 1964.
All the faces in the business appeared on the show, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Yardbirds, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Donovan, plus any visiting American act sometimes performing live with their own band, or a band provided by RSG!
A complimentary Battle of the Bands show Ready, Steady, Win! appeared in 1964 and offered a first prize of £1000 of equipment, with a second prize of a £750 van, a third prize of £350 of clothes. Each show featured six groups a week and a guest panel of judges.
In Spring 1965 Elkan Allan, executive producer, decided to change the existing format by making the performers sing and play live, and with the change of location from Kingsway to the larger facilities of Wembley the show was given a facelift and from the 2nd April 1965 show a new name, Ready Steady Goes Live! A new dance troupe was employed with the audience now confined to seating (with room for dancing) on scaffolding to the right., but there would now be room for 250 members of the audience instead of the comparative airing cupboard studio at Kingsway. A new RSG! Club was formed at this time with around 2000 members from which the audience would be chosen to appear on the show. The musical director for the new series was Johnny Spence, later replaced by Bob Leaper, while backing vocals were provided by The Breakaways (who later sang back up on Jimi Hendrix’s 'Hey Joe').
In April 1965 David Goldsmith co-
The Musicians’ Union threatened to black the show if the lip-
Timing was always a problem for the ITV network, resulting in the show not always being seen nationally, resulting in stations showing the programme at different days, for example a 1966 live show on Rediffusion on a Friday evening would then be shown by Granada and Tyne Tees the following Thursday evening. The 25th March 1966 show was the first 7:00 to 7:30 pm show to be fully networked show at this time, replacing Take Your Pick.
During 1966 several shows were given over to special guests, performing and introducing the other acts themselves. These included the Troggs, The Who, Otis Redding, The Walker Brothers and Ike & Tina Turner.
The show continued throughout 1966 and despite replacing Take Your Pick the falling
audiences meant that its days were numbered, and after re-
The show would be best remembered for breaking new acts like The Animals, Them, Lulu, The Who, The Rolling Stones, among others. Without a doubt it was the most important and influential pop music show of all time.
It’s thought that only three complete shows and a few clips are known to exist.