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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

After the success of Lulu, Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black’s respective TV series' it was the turn of the existentialist Engelbert to park himself in front of the the television cameras.


Despite many TV appearances with his "brothers" and a few on his own there was a question of how the notoriously shy singer would deal with hosting his own series, but after a couple of shows in 1968 proving successful a full series was commissioned for the following year, coinciding with the release of his Scott 3 album in March 1969.


By the time of the series' debut he'd had several solo hit singles and albums and some of those glorious songs were given an airing in front of an excitable audience, some however were probably expecting Scott to take part in comedy sketches with the likes of Roy Hudd or Clive Dunn, something he came close to doing in ABC’s Howerd’s Hour in May 1968.


Talking to the NME ahead of the broadcast of the first show in the series he said "I don't worry about the ratings, that's the BBC's job. I am just going to sing as best I know how, choosing material I think the public already know and if they don't, they damn well should." On dealing with his anxieties "The first show could have been better, but I took a sleeping pill the night before it was taped, and spent all day feeling dead. I've never felt so exhausted in my life. All the same, I was quite pleased with the outcome." He was asked if he was disappointed that the shows were going out at a later time slot that other popular singers' shows "No. In fact, I'm glad. The shows are rather more late night material than peak hour viewing. I wouldn't worry if they went out at midnight."


The musical arrangements were by Peter Knight and Wally Stott who had worked on his LPs. A weekly spot on the show would see Johnny Franz, Scott's record producer accompanying Scott on piano for one song. Keeping his between songs chat to a minimum he managed to get through the presentation side with not too much embarrassment.


One criticism that was levelled at him on the show was miming, as not all the songs were performed live. Talking to the NME he claimed "The one or two songs I mimed in the TV shows were heavier ballads, those which took a lot of singing. I could have sung them live, but I was more concerned with the sound then whether my lips were mouthing the correct words at the correct time. All I could have suggested to viewers was that they should have closed their eyes and just listened."


A cash-in LP Scott Sings Songs From His TV Series was also released and reached the top ten. "I decided to do this album after receiving letters from people who liked the songs I sang on the shows. I don't suppose I would have recorded it otherwise, but it will be a new dimension for me, and bring me to the attention of a new audience. The ballads I'm including on the album are not way out, that's a terrible expression, but there are not the usual hackneyed corn. People have seemed to got the impression I had a thing against standards. That's not true, providing they are sung in the right context, and by the right people."


He was offered aan appropriate set of guests included Kiki Dee, Blossom Dearie, O C Smith, The Dudley Moore Trio, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, Gene Pitney, Billy Preston and Noel Harrison.


Asked about a second series he told the NME "Ask Maurice." His manager Maurice King replied "Another series in the autumn." "I would like that" said Scott. Despite his popularity Scott was not commissioned for a second series and all the shows were unforgivably wiped, but thankfully off-air audio recordings exist.


SCOTT


BBC1

16th August 1968, 30th December 1968, 11th March 1969 - 15th April 1969