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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Despite a flop single with his band Patches in 1972 and another with his solo debut in August 1973 Leo Sayer had proved his credentials by co-writing most of the songs for Roger Daltrey's debut album earlier in the year, so he was already a known and respected figure by the time of his own debut album, Silverbird in autumn 1973. His make up and pierrot outfit suggested that he could be a useful replacement for the recently departed Ziggy Stardust, but like Ziggy, this facade would be dropped after one album.


After an impressive debut appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test in October 1973 Sayer would finally have a hit of his own with The Show Must Go On and make his Top Of The Pops debut in late November. Sayer would go on to have an almost unbroken run of hit singles and albums for the next fifteen years.


His appearance and winning personality made him a favourite with TV producers and in February 1974 he was given his own BBC2 In Concert show, while the rest of the year was filled with more appearances on The Pops and a year-end extended live set on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Over the years you could find him appearing on anything from Top Of The Pops and Supersonic to variety specials, while 1977 would see him rewarded with another BBC2 concert special. Appearances on big American TV specials for Perry Como and Jack Jones meant a call-up for The Muppet Show couldn't be far away and sure enough in March 1978 it was off to Elstree to co-star with Kermit and his chums.


It was just a matter of time before either the UK or USA would invite him to make his own series. The unpromisingly titled Sounds Like Friday on BBC2 saw Sayer performing his hits and album tracks with two music guests each week, but thankfully not Jack Jones or Perry Como, it would be contemporary artists complimenting Sayer. The second show had Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks on the same show since their time together in Vinegar Joe several years before. He also persuaded Kate Bush to make an appearance. Despite the success of the show the BBC didn't offer him a second series, deciding instead to repeat the series the following year. So in 1980 he took his wares to Thames where he was given a one-off special in March.


Sayer continued his regular appearances on Top Of The Pops and other shows throughout the early 1980s, and then finally, five years after his first series he was given another in 1983. Again for BBC2 he was performing his hits, newer ones this time and supported by complimentary guests ranging from Randy Newman, a rare UK appearance from Linda Ronstadt, Phil Collins to The Searchers and Incantation.

Thankfully he didn't have to wait another five years for the next series. The 1984 series saw Robin Gibb, John Cougar, Marilyn, The Thompson Twins and Tina Turner among the guests, along with a reunion with Roger Daltrey.


The rest of Sayer's years in Britain would be taken up with appearances on Wogan and The Pops to more unlikely shows like The Late Late Breakfast Show where he and Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17 broke the record for the quickest journey from Paris to London and Vic and Bob's cheese dream of a game show Families At War where he piggybacked on a contestant running on a treadmill while singing 'When I Need You'. His appearance and subsequent meltdown on Celebrity Big Brother becomes a clipshow favourite worldwide.


His TV appearances thinned out over the years until he decided to leave the UK to live in Australia in the early 2000s where he still continues to record and perform.



SOUNDS LIKE FRIDAY / LEO - LEO SAYER


BBC2

27th October 1978 - 26th February 1984