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TEMPO '60

BBC
13th May 1960 - 24th June 1960

BBC Producer Stuart Morris spent two months in jazz clubs in London hiring talent for this prime time examination of British modern jazz. Multi instrumentalist Tubby Hayes was chosen as the resident band leader, writing arrangements for the band each week.

Both ITV and BBC had decided to put pop music on the back burner due to failing ratings and pay more attention to jazz music. London's West End had a vibrant jazz scene with many of its stars like Tubby Hayes and Johnny Dankworth internationally recognised and respected.

The show was broadcast from the BBC Television Theatre at Shepherd's Bush, London in front of an audience of seven hundred and appeared to use a similar stage backdrop to Dig This with its constantly changing lights.

It was the intention of the producer to reunite Hayes with jazz saxophonist Ronnie Scott, but other forms of modern popular music like Latin-American would also be included. A comic Frank Berry would be aboard as well as interviews with any American stars passing through London, however, the British Musicians Union would not allow them to play. A way around the ban would be to use Eurovision in order to get British acts to play simultaneously with acts playing in Europe. To that end producer Morris visited Paris in order to get acts for the show.

Tubby Hayes himself was looking forward to the opportunity, "I was feeling a bit depressed about the future recently. But now everything's changed. I'm longing to get cracking. I've started writing things already."

Breaking the general jazz vibe would be unwelcome comedians, several from across the Atlantic who were unknown in Britain.

ATV were also proposing a new jazz show to begin broadcasting in April just before Tempo '60's debut, but it never materialised. Instead, All That Jazz would debut in 1962.

Intending to run until late July, the BBC claim in late June 1960 ‘Tempo 60 was an experiment which has not worked to our satisfaction. We are discontinuing it’. Talking to Disc magazine a BBC spokesman claimed "We had intended to bring over several artsist from the Continent, and inject a different atmosphere into the programme. The BBC feel, however, that the show has not reached the required standard". The intended replacement was Sugar Beat, a more pop music oriented show.

The Daily Mirror points out that Tempo '60 launched on Friday the 13th and was due to run for 13 weeks. It actually lasted seven weeks.