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Popular Music on British Television

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1st July 1961 - 23rd September 1961

One of the first TV shows produced by Johnnie Stewart, later tasked by the BBC to help create Top of the Pops.

The show was an attempt to catch the Traditional Jazz fad in Britain before it faded. The BBC had shows like Jazz Session and coverage of the Beaulieu Jazz Festival the year before and many of the genres top acts were incredibly popular across all medias, live appearances, records and broadcasting.

Jazz clubs had sprung up all across the country after the war led by bandleaders like Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, Mick Mulligan and Humphrey Lyttelton who over the next decade would be responsible for the first great British post-war music boom. Many of these bands started recording in the late forties and continued to sell well throughout the fifties and well into the sixties, especially albums. But just like the skiffle boom, itself a genre created by British jazz, too many acts appeared, many of whom had dubious reason for being in the business, leading to plethora of gimmicky acts like the Temperance Seven, George Chisholm, Dick Charlesworth and the City Gents. The Trad Fad represented all levels of popular British jazz at the time.

Talking to Disc Stewart said "Presenting bands on television has always been a problem and I'm not claiming I've completely solved it. But I have a formula which I believe is a step forward. We're having two name bands every week playing on a large, open set around which 150 kids will be dancing. The kids will make good visual pictures. The happy up-tempo music the bands will play is meant for dancing. It won't be a completely trad show, because we're having bands that are off-shoots of trad music. People like The Temperance Seven, for instance."

The series was initially introduced by Brian Matthew, but later replaced by Alan Dell.

Seven shows were originally commissioned but a further six were requested proving its success. Producer Stewart on hearing the news of the extended contract claimed it was "panicsville". He managed to book Acker Bilk, Monty Sunshine and their respective jazz groups to help fill in the remaining shows. ATV would follow in 1962 with All That Jazz, a slightly watered down version with pop singers crooning jazz standards.

One edition of The Trad Fad appears to be located at the Library of Congress in the USA.

The show has also been seen with an alternate title The Trad Fad and All That Jazz.