Home Shows A to Z

Diary 1950s to 1990s Articles Credits & Links

TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Talking to Disc magazine, the show's producer Russell Turner claimed "'Sugar Beat' is to be a fast moving show, I am not seeking another 'new sound.' I intend to produce a distinctive one, with the appeal on quality, both in the numbers selected and the musicians." "I will use the world's great standards and the best of the current pops. The orchestration will consist of eighteen pieces, fronted by Johnnie Spence, and I will include two vocalists, Paul Hanford, who has recently signed to Parlophone, and Sheila Southern". "At present, I do not intend to regularly use any guest artists, but top stars may be invited from time to time. My basic aim is to try and create my own stars from the series".

Producer Turner held secret auditions in April 1960. Talking to Melody Maker he said "I am looking for a potential Adam Faith or Cliff Richard for my 13 week series which starts in August. With a chance like this he can't go wrong. He must make it. I also want a girl singer to co-star with him."

The series was originally due to succeed Tempo '60, beginning 5th August at 7.30pm, but the late-night Music for Moderns appeared instead. By July 1960 the BBC had decided not to go ahead with a full series, just limiting it to a single show. Had it been commissioned for a full series then it would have been broadcast mid-week, avoiding anything that ABC might be preparing, but it was expected that Wham would be off the air by the time this new show debuted. Turner said about the mid-week scheduling "This does not mean we are afraid of Saturday evening competition from the other channel. I expect 'Wham' to be off by then and anyway competition is a healthy thing." However, talking to Melody Maker a BBC spokesman "But if the initial show is a success then it will probably develop into a series. We are not getting cold feet about new music series - just being cautious." Turner also commented "I think that the dearth of pop music series may be due to the lack of fresh ideas. But I am hoping that our one 'Sugar Beat' show will be so good that the BBC will call for a series straight away."

In early September 1960 Melody Maker announced that Johnny Spence was to assemble a band specially for the show, and if the band was successful in the pilot edition they will be present for the remaining twelve week run. Spence told Melody Maker "The accent of the show will be on 'beat', so I have formed this crisp, swingy Basie-type band to fit in. But there will be no screaming fireworks - just compact and beaty playing."

The week after the broadcast show Turner talked to Disc claiming "I'm happy, but not completely satisfied with the sound of the band." He later admitted "Because the new, original sound which we wanted has not yet been found".

Hosted by Paul Carpenter it got no further than a one-off, pilot broadcast.



16th September 1960