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Popular Music on British Television

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Unseen pilots / Uncommissioned shows

1960s

DAD YOU’RE A SQUARE ATV, 1960
This father versus child Juke Box Jury style show was made as a pilot, featuring actor Bill Owen (later to star in The Last of the Summer Wine) as the host. The pilot still exists and probably served as a template for a later show made by Southern.

SUGARBEAT BBC, c. August 1960.
This series, produced by Russell Turner (producer of The Six-Five Special and Juke Box Jury) never made it to the screens, but a pilot show was probably made.

(Uknown title) Possibly BBC, November 1962.
A pilot for a new Saturday evening pop show was recorded 1st November 1962 with guest Bobby Vee.

THE ROLLING STONES BBC, Cops And Robbers. December 1963.
This play would have featured The Rolling Stones, reportedly in acting roles.

BRIAN EPSTEIN BBC, Ten Years Of Pop (1955 - 1965) 1965.
The Beatles' manager was to host the three part history of pop.

THIS IS YOUR LIFE BBC1. April 1965.
Allegedly Ringo Starr may have been lined up to be the target of one show, but his mother refused to appear on it, so the idea was scrapped.

DISCOTEC ITV, September 1965.
A pilot for this weekly thirty minute pop show was made and is widely in circulation. Hosted by Radio Caroline DJ Simon Dee who introduces the musical acts and New Musical Express’ Andy Gray who discuses the current pop scene with Gene Pitney and Manfred Mann in the studio. Newly shot performance clips of P J Proby, The Kinks (See My Friends), The Walker Brothers (Make It Easy On Yourself), and Sandie Shaw (Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself) are included.

THE BARON ATV, October 1965.
Apparently The Rolling Stones and Cilla Black had agreed to appear in the show.

THE WHO BBC1, Sound And Picture City. 1966.
A music and comedy sketch show. The promo for Happy Jack was shot as a demo for this proposed series.

EXIT - WAY OUT IN LONDON Rediffusion, October 1966.
Rediffusion TV and Subar Productions intended to make a half-hour pilot with Cathy McGowan, to be filmed in colour. The series was created by McGowan who collaborated on the script with the shows’ director Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

JAZZ GOES TO COLLEGE BBC2, 1966/1967.
A show starring Albert Ayler was recorded but never broadcast.

BOBBY DARIN Rediffusion, 1967.
Darin was to direct his own TV special for British TV.

OTIS REDDING BBC, 1967.
The BBC sent a film crew over to Otis Redding’s ranch home The Big O to film him for a potential documentary.

MAMAS & PAPAS February 1967
The group were due to appear on Top of the Pops, The Rolf Harris Show and The London Palladium show.

ROY ORBISON April 1967.
Due to make an hour long special in London in colour for international distribution.

DONOVAN BBC, June 1967.
To make a 14 part series for BBC TV where he would set famous poets work to music as well as singing his own songs.

HOW ON EARTH ITV, December 1967.
ITV film The Bee Gees at Liverpool Cathedral for this intended Christmas special.

AL MARTINO Granada, January 1968.
To make a TV special for Granada with a soundtrack to be released by Capitol.

COLOUR ME POP BBC2, 1968.
The Chambers Brothers had recorded an edition of the show but it was never broadcast.

THE BEE GEES The Year of the Joker 1968
A special featuring The Bee Gees.

THE ROCK N ROLL CIRCUS London Weekend, 1968.
Filmed 10 December 1968 at Stonebridge Park, Wembey, featuring hosts The Rolling Stones, plus guests Taj Mahal, The Who, John and Yoko, Jethro Tull. Released on home video in the late nineties.

1970s

THE BIGGEST AND THE BESTEST Southern, 1970.
Singer / Writer Kenny Lynch and co-star Harry Fowler had approached Southern TV with the idea of doing a show based on record books and general knowledge. The BBC would make a similar show a few years’ later with Roy Castle, The Record Breakers.

JOHN PEEL IN CONCERT Granada, 1970.
A pilot show featuring T Rex was produced by Johnny Hamp.

STEVIE WONDER BBC, July 1970.
The BBC had offered Stevie Wonder his own special, but his insistence of using his own backing musicians led to conflict with the Musicians Union. The show did not get made.

TAKE ONE PLUS ONE 1971 .
Independently produced show produced from made by Steve Turner featuring Yes, Stephen Stills.

SLAM HEFTY 1971.
An indepentently produced series made by record producers Alan Blaikely and Ken Howard - the pilot show had McGuinness Flint, Stephen Stills, Iain Matthews, Curved Air, Southern Comfort.

THE ROLLING STONES Live at the Marquee Club, London, 26th March 1971.
The Rolling Stones record two live shows in one night at The Marquee, London, before an invited audience. They tape a 28 minute set and a 52 minute set. Financed by Sagewise Ltd, to be distributed by British Lion. Directed by Bruce Gower, while Chip Monck handled lighting production management.

GILBERT O’SULLIVAN BBC, January 1974.
Bill Cotton Jr announces that the BBC has acquired the services of Gilbert O’Sullivan for six, one-hour shows, starting in March.

CARPENTERS ITV, November 1975.
It was announced by TV Times in September 1975 that their Birmingham Hippodrome show in November was to be recorded for a Christmas broadcast.

ELTON JOHN Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Thames 1978.
An Alan Aldridge directed special cartoon special based on his artwork for Elton’s autobiographical 1975 album.

THE STRANGLERS Rock Goes To College. BBC2, October 1978.
Recorded at Guildford University. The band walked off after fifteen minutes accusing the student audience of being elitist.

1980s

GALAXY, 1980.
A pilot, directed by Mike Mansfield and hosted by Kenny Everett was shot featuring the Average White Band, Electric Light Orchestra. Hot Chocolate, Catherine Howe, Grace Jones, Peter Straker and Sweet plus promo clips of ABBA and David Bowie.

PHEW! ROCK N ROLL c.1989.
Hosted by Danny Baker.

1990s

THE BEACH BOYS The Making Of Pet Sounds. London Weekend, 1995.
A South Bank Show special, similar to the Sgt Pepper special.

MUSIC FOR PLEASURE LWT, 1996.
Another Pop Quiz style show, hosted by Phil Jupitus. The panel for the pilot show was Vic Reeves, Trevor and Simon, Graeme Le Saux.

CLASSIC ALBUMS BBC1 (Isis Prods / Daniel T / BBC-1 / VH-1 / NCRV / Castle Music Pictures), 1997.
Among the eight sixty minute shows (The Grateful Dead - Jimi Hendrix - Stevie Wonder - Fleetwood Mac - Paul Simon - The Band) were (to be confirmed as of October 1996) Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti, and Queen - A Night At The Opera. The second series announced in Autumn 1999 didn’t feature either of these.