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Popular Music on British Television

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18th January 1970 - 5th July 1970

Upset with the way he felt the BBC were treating him Simon Dee was snatched up by David Frost to present a late-night Sunday chat show signing a two year contract worth £100,000.

He was given the front cover of the TV Times for the first show, such was the expectation.

"Stand by for more surprises, more star guests and more groovy sounds in another television happening" claimed the TV Times.

Eamonn Andrews' ABC show Producer Bryan Izzard was assigned as Producer/Director and the fourteen-piece Maynard Ferguson orchestra were to be the resident band. Dee was allowed to bring some of his BBC team with him, Programme Editor Joe Steeples, Programme Associate Patricia Houllihan and Programme Consultant Peter Noble, all for more money than the BBC could offer. The show would be broadcast live from London Weekend’s Wembley Studios, London, late Sunday night.

Izzard explained to the Daily Mirror "...if there are a lot of stars working at the Cinecitta Studios in Rome who we think are interesting and with something to say then we'd be prepared to send Simon there and do the whole show from Italy."

The Spooner Twins (Judy and Tina) were regulars on the show. They would later appear in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

It was scheduled to run from 11.30 pm - 12.13 am directly after Frost on Sunday, but although most if not all of ITVs regional stations took the Frost show, not everyone would play Dee's show. By mid-April the show had been moved forward a little in the schedules after the Frost show came to an end but all was lost. The credits for the show in the TV Times were getting shorter and shorter as the weeks went by, one of the last being "Simon chats to interesting guests."

Since the show was unwilling to announce guests in advance and no complete shows are thought to exist it's difficult to get any kind of guest list other than the recall of the few people who saw it.

After London Weekend's refusal to have Matt Monro on as a guest Dee refused to turn up. Fearing a no-show the producer hired Pete Murray to host the show instead. Just before the show is about to go on air Dee turns up.

The show was dropped for two weeks in June to make way for the World Cup, but came back to fulfil it's obligation.

One of the more infamous TV appearances of all time occurred on the show in February as James Bond actor George Lazenby is invited to talk about On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Instead, he appeared to be stoned and started rambling about conspiracy theories regarding the death of President Kennedy, receiving positive acknowledgement of the show’s other guests that evening, John and Yoko.

Musical guests over the weeks included Billy Eckstein, The Pentangle, Joe Brown and Jerry Butler.

By July 1970 it was all over. He was contracted to host a further 13 shows but London Weekend chose to pay him off instead at a cost of £7000. By December he would be signing on at his local unemployment exchange. The possibility of a new series for the BBC by the end of the year came to nothing, despite his champion at the BBC Bill Cotton Jnr becoming the Head of Entertainment after the death of Tom Sloan, who had previously been happy to let Dee go. However, Derek Nimmo’s Saturday evening chat and music show had been a success, so any thought of Dee’s return had to be put to one side.

All that is thought to exist of the show is about thirty seconds of the beginning of one edition.