TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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ATV 25th September 1955 - 2nd February 1969, 28th October 1973 - 14th April 1974

Based at the spiritual home of show business in Britain, then owned by Val Parnell who was a business associate of Lew Grade, owner of ATV. The mass array of British and international talent in the hands of the Grade / Parnell / Delfont triad made sure that they were never short of acts to fill the show with. The first compere chosen was Tommy Trinder, who along with introducing all the variety, comic and musical acts also had the honour of hosting the insert Beat The Clock in which members of the audience had to participate in games and complete them in under a minute to win a prize. The Trinder Years (with help from other guest hosts Robert Morley, Dickie Henderson) saw appearances from Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Crickets with Buddy Holly, Mario Lanza among others.

His replacement was another comedian Bruce Forsyth who brought the show into the Cliff Richard and The Shadows era and then into the Mersey Beat years when he brought Beatlemania into 20,000,000 homes one Sunday night, just a few weeks before their Royal Variety Performance.

He would in turn give way to Norman Vaughan, Jimmy Tarbuck and occasionally Dave Allen who tried his best with the Rolling Stones in 1967.

The show’s appearance and concept rarely changed throughout its lifetime. The show was brought to an end in 1969, but a short-lived comeback in 1973-1974 failed, hosted this time by Jim Dale. Notable shows include The Beatles in 1963 and 1964, The Rolling Stones who failed to appear at the traditional ‘Startime’ revolving stage finale and an ailing Judy Garland, who had to be helped on and off stage by compere Jimmy Tarbuck in January 1969.

The 'Sunday Night' prefix was removed in the mid sixties to accommodate international sales and also gave ATV the chance to pre-record the show on a Saturday night.