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Popular Music on British Television

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Unseen pilots / Un-commissioned shows


Untitled Play ATV 1959. A play specially written for Adam Faith by Ian Dallas was due for broadcast before Christmas 1959, but later delayed until March 1960.


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.

THE TEEN AND TWENTY CLUB BBC late 1961. The show, named after Jimmy Savile's Teen and Twenties Disc Club on Radio Luxembourg, was produced by Colehan and hosted by Savile. A pilot was recorded in front of an enthusiatsic audience of 250 in Manchester and was considered successful, but to be comissioned it was shown to BBC executives in London on 12th January 1962. The pilot had no musical guests, just Savile playing the latest releases with emphasis on the Twist, but if the show was to be commissioned then a guest star would appear each week and make a record especially for a competition winner.

THE GRAM GAME BBC January 1962. Barney Colehan produces the pilot for this Pop Quiz type game devised by DJ and guitarist Ken Skyora, who will also act as question master. The teams consisted of Jimmy Savile, Brian Mathew and Neal Arden versus Carole Carr, Steve Race and Jimmy Young. It will be played to BBC executives in London who will make the decision as to whether it will be commissioned.

RUSS CONWAY ABC, Summer 1963. It was announced in March 1963 that pianist Conway was to star and host his own pop show for ABC-TV in the summer.

(Unknown 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 was 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.

MANFRED MANN 1968 To appear in thirty minute dramatisation of Tom McGuinness' novel Jester Versus Art.

BEE GEES 1968. Johnny Speight's play 'If There Wern't Any Blacks You'd Have To Invent Them' was to feature the Bee Gees. Speight's Associated London Films had a connection with Robert Stigwood.

MY GENERATION BBC1 May 1968. A Tony Palmer directed series for which The Who will be the resident group.

SAMMY DAVIS JR BBC1 June 1968. A proposed live series of thirteen 45 minute shows was cancelled as the Musicians Union objected to him bringing his own musicians over from the USA. The shows would have been broadcast 10.45 pm on Sundays.

MIREILLE MATHIEU ATV June 1968. The French singing star was due to begin filming a six-part series for ATV on June 8th, but she was involved in a car crash which meant its cancellation. The series was due to start after Dusty Springfield's series It Must be Dusty had ended.

DON PATRIDGE June 1968. Partrideg had been approached by television producer Barry Langford for a series of thrity minute shows where he would go on location, talking to other buskers etc.

COLOUR ME POP BBC2, August 1968. The Byrds were to have their own special, but it was never recorded.

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

DON KIRSCHNER April 1968 Announces a new cartoon TV show similar to The Monkees featuring two British and two American lads. The songs would be written by Tony Macaulay and John Macleod. He eventually made The Archies.

THE PAPER DOLLS April 1968. Despite having only one hit the girls have signed to ATV for a six-part series called The Paper Dolls House.

DONOVAN July 1968. Donovan was apparently offered a six part series on BBC2. Each thirty minute show would have guests like Ray Davies, John Sebastian, Graham Nash and one of The Beatles. The show would follow on from BBC2's Bobbie Gentry which finished its run on 17th August 1968.

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN July 1968. The band had been due to record an edition of Colour Me Pop for broadcast on either the 9th or 16th August.

SOLOMON KING August 1968. The singer was due to record his own ATV special on 11th August 1968.

JACK GOOD August 1968. An concert was to be recorded at Hatchett's Club in London as for broadcast as a part of his deal with Yorkshire TV. The show was to feature Eclection, Vanity Fare, Strawberry Jam, The Flirtations, Dr Marigold's Prescription. Thames TV were also said to be interested in the show.

TONY HATCH AND JACKIE TRENT BBC 1968. A proposed series planned for late 1968 with two music guests each week came to nothing.

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

BATLEY VARIETY CLUB 1968. With the London Palladium Show coming to an end, Yorkshire TV suggest an alternative replacement recorded at Batley Variety Club in Leeds. It would be broadcast every three weeks

KATHY KIRBY August 1968. The NME announce that the singing star will have her own series for ITV towards the end of the year.

CLIFF RICHARD September 1968. To record a special for Scottish TV, filmed in colour with consideration as an entry for the 1969 Montreux TV Festival. A Scottish themed special was eventually made for ATV in 1969.

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

THE BEE GEES August 1968. After the success of the Frankie Howard special another show with a different comedian was proposed for Christmas 1968.

TIME FOR BLACKBURN Southern late 1968. A special filmed in Tangiers to co-inside with the premier of the movie of Oliver! The reasoning behind the location is unknown but the producer Mike Mansfield was hoping to get The Small Faces, Georgia Brown, Julie Driscoll and Long John Baldry.

PENTANGLE Granada 1968. A Pentangle concert was filmed and a thirty minute version would be shown 4th November 1968. but wasn't.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE 16th November 1968. The San Francisco band were due to appear in The Doors' Granada documentary.

ROGER COOK. Harlech 1968. Singer and songwriter Roger Cook to record a pilot show on December 2nd and 3rd. It will feature national and local talent from Wales and the west country.

LEAPY LEE October 1968. Leapy Lee to shot a pilot chat show for London Weekend, based on The Johnny Carson Show format with Lee involved in stunts and gimmicks.

THE BEATLES ITV November 17th 1968. A ninety second commercial was made for The Beatles (aka The White Album) which might have featured Ringo and was due for transmission at 9.20 pm. The idea was later dropped as the £16,000 costs was considered too much.

GRANADA Late 1968. After The Doors Are Open special is broadcast Granada aims to record similar shows with The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, The Mothers Of Invention and Bob Dylan. Only the Johnny Cash project become reality.

PETULA CLARK SANDIE SHAW ETC BBC1 1968. BBC1's new years eve special would have been hosted by Morecambe and Wise with guests including Sandie Shaw and Val Doonican. However Petula Clark couldn't make the show recording in London so a closed circuit link between London and Geneva was made so the orchestra could play in London and she could sing live in Geneva with her image shown on a large screen in the London studio. Her section had been pre-recorded for inclusion in  the show.

TINY TIM BBC1 1969. His Royal Albert Hall show on 30th October with support from Joe Cocker was to be recorded for a fifty minute BBC1 special.

JACK GOOD Yorkshire 1969. Jack Good to produce a thirteen week series, similar to the Master of Pop special broadcast in October 1969.

THE NEW SEEKERS Scottish 1969. Keith Potger and The New Seekers to record a series for Scottish TV in colour to be recorded at the Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh.

THE BEE GEES October 1969. It is announced that Cucumber Castle will become a thirteen week series.

DELANEY & BONNIE 1st December 1959. Their Royal Albert Hall, London concert with Eric Clapton to be filmed for future TV showing, possibly by Granada. It is to be directed by Jo Durden-Smith, who directed The (Rolling) Stones In The Park.


DONOVAN 1970. The singer will host his own six-part, thirty-minute series for ATV.

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.

D’ABO BBC1, 1971 A pilot was made featuring the host Mike D’Abo (ex-Manfred Mann).

SLAM HEFTY 1971.An independently 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.

QUEEN Old Grey Whistle Test. 1977. A documentary about the making of Queen's News Of The World was shot in the UK and in America, but was never edited in to a completed programme. Some of the footage was damaged but shown in documentaries in the 2010s.

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.

KATE BUSH Granada On The Road 1979. A special on Kate Bush’s UK tour, not transmitted


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.

POP ADDICTS late 1980s. BBC1. Mike Read was to host this update of Pop Quiz, but this time with members of the public rather than pop stars.


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.

ELTON JOHN January 1998 A chat show hosted by Elton, produced by Ginger Television.