TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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TOP BEAT

BBC2
27th April 1964 - 9th December 1964

A series of four shows recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London with all the bands playing live. Hosted by Alan Freeman it featured many of the biggest acts of the day The Rolling Stones, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Hollies, Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas, Dusty Springfield, Yardbirds among others.

The BBC had been running an annual series of pop concerts similar to the NME Pollwinners Shows for several years.

The first half of the first show was also broadcast by the BBC Light Programme.

However it was noticed that the attendance for the 9th November show were low enough to re-consider the show's future. Record Mirror noted in December 1964 that "concerts scheduled for January 4, February 1, March 8, and April 5, have been scrapped". A spokesman for the BBC told RM the reason why: "Provisional bookings at the Royal Albert Hall were made some time ago with a view to mounting special programmes of various kinds, some of which have been of beat  music. "A change in popular taste appears to be taking place which is likely to decrease the need for the bookings to be used for so many beat programmes as hitherto, and no Top Beat programmes are at present being planned after December 7."