Produced by Elizabeth Cowley and presented by Private Eye’s Barry Fantoni and actress
Wendy Varnals A Whole Scene Going was the forerunner of late seventies shows like
Something Else, where the teenage audience gets to air their opinions and grievances
live on television. As the BBC put it "A programme reflecting the taste and times
of Britain's under-
Proving there was life beyond Carnaby Street the show presented articles on life for pop stars on the road, youth scenes around the world, employment, unemployment, holidays, housing and anything that would concern the young, college or university age audience.
Producer Cowley had previously worked as an assistant editor on BBC TV's nightly
news and current affairs programme Tonight. Talking to Record Mirror just after the
launch of the show she said "The word 'scene' denotes the kind of programme it is.
It's for kids who are with it, not those who go pot holing or mountaineering. There
are plenty of programmes on BBC for them already." In the same article co-
A band would appear every week and perform two numbers, sometimes live. Among those appearing were The Who, The Kinks, The Pretty Things, The Spencer Davis Group, Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark Five and The Small Faces. Sometimes these guests would also be quizzed by the precocious audience about their music, life and attitudes. Frankie McGowan, Cathy's sister also occasionally featured on the show.
The show was broadcast live, and would on occasion lead to confrontation between an interviewee, the interviewer and the studio audience. An agony column with guest ‘aunts’ was also a weekly feature, with sometimes frank and provocative opinions. Considering that the show was broadcast in the early evening it doubtless would have lead to complaints from the burgeoning ‘clean up TV’ brigade. Strangely, Mick Jagger was also not a fan. Talking to Melody Maker in February 1966 he confessed "Only seen It once. I don't know what to say about it without being rude. It's only one step up from Five O'Clock Club."
Despite the initial approval from the media it would quickly vanish. The Daily Mirror
turned on the show merely a month into it's tenure, claiming "This BBC-
On 1st August 1966 a miming ban was to be imposed by the Musicians Union which would affected both Top Of The Pops and A Whole Scene Going. A BBC spokesman said "A Whole Scene Going will not now return in the autumn after its present run finished on June 15." While a show spokesman talking to Melody Maker said "We're all very depressed about it. It's one of the quirks of the new programme schedule. Big changes are planned for the autumn and it was decided there wasn't room for A Whole Scene Going."
Three shows are known to exist, plus a few clips on You Tube from director John Crome.