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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

From the TV Times “News, views and comments from Britain's most popular DJ, plus the cream of the week's new releases.”


Tony Blackburn would claim in a 1979 Southern TV documentary that the public had been given a chance to vote on which TV show they preferred - the choices being As You Like It, New Release and Countdown. The public chose not to like any of them, so a re-vamp of New Release was proposed and this became Time For Blackburn.


It first got an airing on ATV London on 24th February 1968, nearly a week before its actual debut Southern transmission. Local ITV stations would only show programmes if they could find the time in their schedules, leading to transmission date confusion. It's possible that the first show was only shown by ATV London as Southern's first transmission on 1st March appears to be a different edition. The show was replaced on Southern the following week by ATV's sit-com Sam and Janet. ATV London broadcast the show early Saturday evening running it back to back with ABC's Doddy's Music Box until it ran its course, with Time For Blackburn effectively becoming its replacement.


Produced by Southern TV regular Mike Mansfield, the show would on occasion use inserts filmed at London’s Revolution Club, while Blackburn would introduce the acts and clips from the studio in Southampton. Johnny/Johnnie Pearson was hired to be the the musical director, a job he would also do at Top of the Pops. The opening credits for the first shows had Blackburn emerge from a just-landed helicopter and heading for a waiting sports car with a Time For Blackburn number plate.


The show was deemed successful enough to extend its scheduled finale from the end of June until the end of the year, however with the new ITV contracts coming into force in July and August Southern would have to negotiate with each one to ensure a network showing. In August George Alexander of Grapefruit was asked to record a new theme for the show, so they must have thought it had a future. In late August London Weekend and ATV Midlands decided not to continue with the show, but it returned to the ITV network in late October on Fridays.


The show had guest reviewers give their opinion on the songs just performed, leading to embarrassment and resentment. It was amazing that any acts turned up at all, given the potential for humiliation. Disc referred to the show as "Time For Embarrassment."


One edition made news headlines when on the 20th July 1968 The Crazy World of Arthur Brown performed Fire on the show and Brown's hair caught fire. The show also caught The Rolling Stones on stage at the NME Pollwinners’ Concert at Wembley.


The one surviving edition from October 1968 features The Who.


TIME FOR BLACKBURN!


Southern

24th February 1968 to 28th December 1968