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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Hosted by Marion Ryan and Ken Platt, later replaced by Desmond (Des) O'Connor, Alfred Marks, Jackie Rae, Ted Ray, then by Pete Murray. The music was provided by musical director Bob Sharples, later replaced by Peter Knight, while the show was directed by Philip Jones.

As the title suggests it was a simple quiz show in which a contestant had to identify (or guess) the name of a song from as few introductory notes as possible. The male host would be with the contestant and Marion Ryan would provide vocals where needed. There would also be clues, scribbled as cartoons by the host in case the participant didn't get it the first time.

Initially Granada only booked Ryan for the first six shows, but subsequently extended her contract over and over. She and the show proved to be a great success, and in August 1956 it becomes ITV's first show to reach one million homes.

In May 1957 Marion Ryan was due to sing I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles while in a bath full of bubbles, but it didn't fit in with the intended jackpot song, so performed Almost Like Being In Love, but sang it in the bath anyway. Talking to TV Times in late 1957 she said "It's been very exciting and exacting. I became the first girl to have a bath on TV in this country. I've also sung a number cramped in a mermaid's tail. We are always trying out something new." In late 1957 a poster campaign to accompany her tour claimed that Ryan was "Britain's Most Televised Girl."

Fisticuffs nearly ensued in 1958 as Granada took their show off for a summer break and the BBC nipped in used the name for a children's show, but as the BBC pointed out they used the name first on the radio in 1946.

Another notable show was Christmas Eve 1958 when the cast of The Army Game were the contestants. Marion Ryan complained about one thing to the Melody Maker in March 1959 "I wish viewers wouldn't accuse me of mauling men. I have to take their arm. It's friendly and anyway, I have to stand close to them and sometimes they shy out of camera range." Contestants would arrive at the studio at 6.30 and are brought onto the studio floor fifteen minutes ahead of the live broadcast. The jackpot song title is given to the host, while the studio orchestra rehearse the song elsewhere in the studio where the contestants can't hear them.

After four years on air the series finally made it into the top ten ratings in Spring 1960, with the show receiving a re-boot in September. Pete Murray joined for the final series in 1962 with the show celebrating its 200th broadcast on 20th July 1962.

Although not a showcase for guest artists the final series did see names like Joe Brown, Frank Ifield, Kenny Lynch and Shane Fenton among others making appearances.

It's a credit to Marion Ryan's professionalism and popularity that she remained the only regular name throughout the show's long history.

The show was brought back in the seventies and eighties, as Name That Tune, hosted by comedian Tom O'Connor for Thames.



7th June 1956 - 7th September 1962