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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

"A non-stop selection from the hit tunes of the day" is how the TV Times pitched this thirty minute show in which guests artists would come in to plug their new disc with occasional dance backing.

Not specifically a rock and roll show but it did include Lonnie Donegan, Petula Clark among others. It was tried out in the summer of 1957 and given its own regular time-slot every fortnight from October onwards, alternating with talent show Bid For Fame. However, the actual placing of the show in the schedules became more sporadic almost immediately. The show debuted on Sundays at tea-time, but moved to late-night Saturdays, then late-night Sundays for the show's network debut in January 1958, replacing The Jackson Show which had been moved opposite The Six-Five Special in the schedules on Saturday evenings.

Producer Arthur Lane made sure that the show never took itself too seriously. An article in The Stage in early 1958 noted that "one programme presented a singer dressed in policeman's uniform singing "Island In The Sun" from a traffic island; Wee Willie Harris of scarlet hair fame sang from a barber's chair; when Ronnie Carroll tearfully sang "Remember You're Mine" it was not until the last chorus that viewers saw he was singing to his dog who was being put in quarantine."

For the year end special in 1958 Lane tells TV Times "For this special Top Numbers show I have picked the top of the 'pops' for each month of the year, and they'll be a spot for a couple of oldies from previous years - a total of 14 numbers in half-an-hour."

In January 1959 the show hit the headlines when Eve Boswell wanted to perform her new recording Piccaninny which the producer Arthur Lane didn't think appropriate. Talking to Melody Maker he said "There seems to be a feud between Eve and Alma Cogan, who is also on the show. Just because Alma is singing her latest recording Eve thinks she can do the same. But we didn't think the number she wanted 'Piccaninny' was suitable for this particular edition of the show. It has only just been recorded and I didn't even know the number, so why should it go into a programme called 'Top Numbers'"

There didn't appear to be a host during its run, rather relying on guest stars introducing the songs. The off-screen announcer was John Benson, later to be the off-screen voice on Sale Of The Century in the seventies and The Last Resort in the eighties. The orchestral backing was provided by George Clouston and musical director Harry Robinson.



18th August 1957 - 22nd February 1959