TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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Unseen pilots / Un-commissioned shows

1950s

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.

UNKNOWN BBC 1959. It had been the idea of Juke Box Jury producer Russell Turner to present an LP with accompanying visuals. The show would debut in the autumn of 1959.

CRESCENDO ABC 1959. Richard Lester was to produce a jazz show once a month from September at 11.15 pm.

1960s

HAVE JAZZ WILL TRAVEL Associated Rediffusion 1960. A Dick Lester directed series of 26 or 39 episodes, each thirty minute show will feature two bands, one traditional and one modern. The show was due to go into production in June 1960, visiting major European cities shooting in Copenhagen, two shows in Paris, two shows in London, Moscow, two shows in Stockholm, two in Rome and one in Warsaw. Steve Race would be the musical director. The first session featured Chris Barber and Joe Harriott, both live at The Marquee Club in London. Each programme would also shoot film in the local area. The series was an independent production for Ron Rowan Associates.

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.

TRIBUTE TO LIONEL BART c.June or July 1960. Bart will be starring in his own TV special. Cliff Richard will perform Livin' Doll, Frankie Vaughan Heat of a Man, Max Bygraves Fings Ain't What They Used To Be.

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 Barney Colehan and hosted by Savile. A pilot was recorded in front of an enthusiastic audience of 250 in Manchester and was considered successful, but in order for to be commissioned 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.

BEAT THE RECORD ABC, c.March 1962. The show to be hosted by Jimmy Savile would see a panel of celebrities phone contestants at the their homes and challenge them to identify a hit song.

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. However, due to live commitments the series was cancelled.

(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.

CHUCK BERRY Granada 1964. Due to record a TV special for Granada on June 1st.

CLUB CARIBBEAN BBC1 July 1964. It was the idea by the BBC to promote Blue Beat and Ska with a weekly show.

UNKNOWN TITLE Rediffusion October 1965. Rediffusion announce tentative plans to present a Desert island Discs style show in which celebrities choose their favourite music, while appropriate graphics are shown on a background screen.

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. One 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.

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 Weren'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 which would also result in an offer for the band to appear in the movie 'Lord Kitchener's Little Drummer Boys' which was also unrealised.

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. Partridge had been approached by television producer Barry Langford for a series of thirty-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, while The Chambers Brothers had recorded an edition of the show in 1968 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 boys. All the songs for the sixteen part, thirty minute show would be written by Tony Macaulay and John Macleod. He made The Archies instead.

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.

AMEN CORNER BBC Wales June 29th 1968 onwards. The band were given their own six part TV series. Each hour long show would have had a supporting cast of local Welsh talent.

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 and 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 10th December 1968 at Stonebridge Park, Wembley, featuring hosts The Rolling Stones, plus guests Taj Mahal, The Who, John and Yoko and 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. The singer was to shoot 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 cost 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. The Kinks show Arthur would eventually be released as an album.

PETULA CLARK, SANDIE SHAW ETC BBC1 1968. BBC1's new years eve special would have been hosted by Morecambe and Wise with guests including Petula Clark, 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.

BILLY COTTON BBC1 June 1969. The band leader was due to host another ten week series with singer Vince Hill guesting in each show, but Cotton died in late March 1969. A series starring Roy Castle may have been a replacement.

THE KINKS Granada c.October 1969. Arthur - Or The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire. A play written by Ray Davies and Julian Mitchell with new songs written by Ray Davies to be performed by The Kinks. Davies told Record Mirror in September 1969 "I'm very happy with the music for 'Arthur' and the script for a Granada TV spectacular has been done. I co-wrote it with Julian Mitchell, and Jo-Bergman Smith of Granada is setting the wheels in motion for the TV production. It will probably be shown in late October. And I believe Granada are thinking of putting out a souvenir book to coincide with the screening.

"On the show, actual actors will be used and the music will be in the background. The album should have been out at the end of the month, but Granada want it held back to coincide with their production." The Kinks themselves will not be appearing in the TV production.

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

DELANEY & BONNIE 1st December 1969. 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.

1970s

LEGS LARRY SMITH interviewed for the 14th February 1970 edition of Record Mirror he claims that he will make a half hour TV show. "What I have in mind is a half-hour show with mock commercials. Something like the Cadbury's Flake ad. Only the person's nose would get bigger and bigger - something really strange would happen."

BOB DARIN The former Bobby Darin was in the UK to promote his two Major Minor releases of his US independently made albums. He was scheduled to appear on the Morecambe and Wise Show to be broadcast 9th July 1970.

GENESIS 1970. Jackson, a documentary about the painter Michael Jackson which had been made, but not shown. Genesis provided four pieces of music.

STRAWBS announced December 1970 in Record Mirror "The Strawbs have landed their own London Weekend Television special. Titled "Nothing As Fundamental As Folk", it is a half-hour programme which will probably feature the debut of the group's new "Pilgrim Suite", previously planned to be premiered at their Queen Elizabeth Hall Concert".

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.

THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHT February 1971. An independently made show involving the pop writing and producing team Ken Howard Alan Blaikley. The half hour show would be shot on video tape and was the idea of ex-BBC cameraman Mark Edwards. Talking to Record Mirror he claimed "I want to film several acts, but not using the typical camera angles and the usual approach - this will be something different. I hope to introduce it as a pilot film in the hope of making a series." He had already shot a fifteen minute special with Curved Air.

TAKE ONE PLUS ONE 1971. An independently produced show made by Steve Turner featuring Yes and 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.

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY Summer 1972. According to Record Mirror 'records for OGWT on June 6th and the Dave Cash Show on June 9th'

BOBBY DARIN Summer 1972. According to Record Mirror the star 'will star in a 13 week series for BBC-TV to be screened in the autumn. Shows will be called "Variety of Variety Shows"'.

QUINTESSENCE Summer 1972. According to Record Mirror, "Man Alive" programme built around the group Quintessence will be shown on either May 24th or 31st.

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.

OUR KID BBC Summer 1976. The BBC had planned to make a documentary about teen one hit wonders Our Kid, subject to approval of the local education authorities as the group were still school age.

OUR KID. Early 1977. A thirteen week series was planned, but since they only had one hit in mid 1976 the idea was dropped.

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 was restored and shown in BBC 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. One song was subsequently shown on Sounds Of The 70s.

KATE BUSH Granada On The Road 1979. A documentary about her UK tour, but not transmitted.

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.

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.

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.

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