TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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31st May 1963 - 3rd January 1966

A weekly pub-based variety show with singers and comics performing to a crowd of extras and locals from Wembley, where the show was recorded. Inspired by Rediffusion’s Time Gentlemen Please it was initially hosted by comic Ray Martine. A team of regular singers was assembled for the first thirteen week series including Kathy Kirby, Clinton Ford, Tommy Bruce and Vince Hill. Martine was a well-known London pub comic, but had new material provided by writers including Barry Cryer, Dick Vosburgh and Marty Feldman.

The show was usually shot at Rediffusion's studio at Wembley, but the 22nd June 1964 show saw the team go outside onto the River Thames for a one-off summer special, while later in the year they pitched up at West Ham's Stadium for a night of greyhound racing. By 1965 Kirby, Ford and Hill had gone, replaced by Susan Maughan and Al Saxon, but one notable show from this era unusually featured The Joe Cocker Group, while other acts from the pop/rock world would appear.

August 1965 saw Ray Martine leave the series and it was later re-launched as The New Stars and Garters with Dodie West and Gary Miller as new regular hosts along with “Proprietress Jill Browne, assisted by her Man-About-Pubs William Rushton” and occasional guest Lonnie Donegan.

The format would later inspire The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club at Granada in the early seventies.