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Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

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. According to a Melody Maker report "...residents are the Tubby Hayes Quartet, augmented by tenorist Ronnie Scott and trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar, and Brazilian singer Hello Motta and hls Quintet."

Both ITV and BBC had decided to put pop music on the back burner due to failing ratings and pay more attention to jazz. London's West End had a vibrant jazz scene with many of its stars like Tubby Hayes and Johnny Dankworth internationally recognised and respected. Producer Morris told Melody Maker in February 1960 "We aim to give jazz a big lift on TV. There is a tremendous trend towards modern jazz and we aim to exploit it. I am hoping to use American musicians on the show. As I will not be able to use them 'live' I will get those who are playing on the Continent via the Eurovision link." American stars passing through London would be interviewed on the show, however the British Musicians Union would not allow them to play. A way around the ban would be to use a Eurovision link 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.

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.

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 during the show would be comedians like Britain's Frank Berry, as well as 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 artists 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 pointed out that Tempo '60 launched on Friday the 13th and was due to run for 13 weeks. It was actually scheduled to run for 12 weeks, but only lasted 7.



13th May 1960 - 24th June 1960