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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

The third and final Saturday evening rock ‘n’ roll show to be produced by Jack Good for ABC-TV. Hosted by Keith Fordyce, it was described by TV Times as “a fistful of songs.” This attempt to get back to the Oh Boy! formula only lasted nine shows and featured regulars Billy Fury, The Vernons Girls, Jess Conrad and Oh Boy! guitarist Joe Brown. Trevor Peacock was also back as script writer.


Good wanted eleven songs each show, keeping it fast paced. Good helped assemble a new studio band for the show, Jack Good's Fat Noise, featuring a Salvation Army type bass drum and a tuba! Good told the Daily Mirror that the group ".. is a new musical combination of four trumpets; two trombones; a tuba; four saxes; three guitars; a bass guitar; two sets of drums; a piano and a Salvation Army-type bass drum. It will provide the fattest, roundest sound that has ever come to television." John Barry was likely to be hired as the musical director, while Syd Dale, who had previously been in Ronnie Aldrich's Squadronaires, hand-picked the band. Dale told the Melody Maker " We shall get a real Bobby Darin big-band sound from this line-up. Basically, we shall feature full brass phrases against a rocking beat from the rhythm. It's a real swinging outfit."


Talking to Melody Maker in April Good claimed "We have big hopes for this new programme. 'Juke Box Jury'? I'm not worried about the competition. I think we shall get the audience." "With just 10 days to go we feel sure that we're on to a winner,' ABC-TV Press Officer George Spackman told the Melody Maker. "It's a show mainly for teenagers and it will equal, if not beat, 'Oh, Boy!' 'Boy Meets Girls' and other beat series." And the BBC's view on the new ABC series? Says "Juke Box Jury" producer Johnnie Stewart: "We have a weekly audience of 9 and a half million and expect to keep it. We are definitely not worried about this new series." Despite the concerns of the show's maker it was given an extended run from seven to nine shows.


It appeared to be Good’s intention to present new talent every week. Talking to the TV Times ahead of the first show he claimed “… programmes like Wham! have a tremendous responsibility. A responsibility to find and shape new talent. We shall be taking this task very seriously, and no edition will go by without presenting at least one new face.” ABC said at the time "Jack feels that there are many potential Marty Wildes and Cliff Richards dotted throughout Britain - and he aims to give them a break. He himself hopes to hold talent-finding auditions." Wham's visual presentation would also be different, as there would be audience seating behind the acts appearing on stage.


Wham would have its own weekly Top Ten chart made up of requests from fans writing in, declaring their favourite acts and songs from previous shows. An ABC-TV spokesman told Melody Maker "We expect this to draw a tremendous mail - especially from fan clubs." To help promote the show a British version of the dance tune Madison Time was released by Parlophone during Wham's run and name checked the show throughout.


The show appears to have followed the fast and kinetic feel of Oh Boy!, but by this time it looked and felt a bit old. Despite the desire to find new talent most of the names and faces had been used in Good's shows before and they didn't pull off any new tricks this time around. A few weeks before the show was cancelled Jack Good conceded in his weekly Disc magazine article that it appeared that people were turning back to BBC's Juke Box Jury.


Talking to TV Times Good claimed "New faces.., new sound.., and a new look, too. I can't tell you very much about that aspect of the show. It's not something you can really explain. You'll just have to see it. it's enough to say that it's a big show visually, with a distinctive perspective. ! hope at any rate that however it strikes you. It strikes you forcibly. In fact. Wham!!"


Good had announced that a second series of shows would return on September 10th. It didn't. Just as Oh Boy didn’t. Explaining the reason for cancelling the the show the broadcaster contended that "ABC thinks there is no longer a public demand for teenage rock 'n' roll type programmes." Talking to TV Times in July 1960 in a response from a pop music fan complaining that there were now no pop shows on TV, an ABC spokesman said "As the rock stars have developed - for example, Marty Wilde, Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard - from rock and roll style to entertainers, so are our programmes being developed from rock to more fully rounded entertainment for teenagers." It didn't help that the show received poor reviews from both critics and public alike.


After its demise director Ben Churchill later went on to work on other ABC music shows like Steamboat Shuffle. In an October 1961 edition of his weekly column in Disc Good requests that anyone they think they can sing to send in a demo tape as he was considering a new TV show.



WHAM!!


ABC

23rd April 1960 - 18th June 1960