Thursday, 26 September 2013

DVD Review: Legends In Concert - Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby: Legends In Concert
Without a doubt, Bing Crosby changed the face of popular music in the 20th Century. His influence filtered down to  many of the greats including Sinatra, Elvis and even The Beatles (John Lennon famously inspired by the double meaning of the similar sounding Plea’s and Please in Bing’s song Please for Please Please Me).

This DVD released by Merlin Highway in 2010 gathers 15 performances from Bing’s career between the 30s and 50s, (the cover erroneously states 16 clips although one is by Rosemary Clooney).

Unfortunately it’s not as great as it might first appear; there are several glitches in the archive footage (including fuzzy and rolling pictures).

None of the clips are actually taken from a concert (as the title describes) they are culled from film clips and what looks like a third generation copy mid 50s TV special (The Edsel Show, apparently) which also featured Louis Armstrong, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.

Sadly although the clips are in quantity the title doesn’t deliver in quality. Bing fans do get a glimpse of their hero performing some fun duets with Sinatra and Louis Armstrong but  it is likely you will find better quality clips on other DVD releases or YouTube.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Retro Book Finds: HG Wells, James Bond and erm... Tony Blackburn!

Last Saturday's Healthy Planet book shop finds turned up three neat books...

HG Wells, The First Men On The Moon,
Fontana Books, 1969

Fifth Impression from August 1969, to tie in with the release of the Columbia Pictures film and strangely enough the first moon landing!

Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty's Secret Service,
Granada, 1983

80s reissue of Ian Fleming's James Bond adventure from 1963.

Tony Blackburn, A Laugh In Every Pocket,
Tandem, 1975

Tony Blackburn's best jokes compiled in one volume... irresistible reading!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

TARDIS Tuesday: William Hartnell (1963-1966)

TARDIS Tuesday returns with a collage  featuring the first incarnation in the form of William Hartnell from the 1965 episode Day Of Armageddon from the incomplete Doctor Who story The Daleks Master Plan

This episode was previously missing believed wiped but recovered some years ago and subsequently released on a BBC DVD entitled lost In Time featuring episodes from incomplete stories held in the BBC archive.

Along with William Hartnell as The Doctor, Day Of Armageddon also features Peter Purves as Steven and Adrienne Hill as Katrina and a pre-Brigadier appearance by Nicholas Courtney as Bret Vyon.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Stars on 45RPM: Back From The Shadows

The Shadows were the most succesful instrumental group in Great Britain during the 1960s and their influence has gone on to inspire many great musicians over the years including Eric Clapton and Brian May.

From Apache in 1960 through to Maroc 7 The Shadows had an uninterrupted chart run in the UK however by the end of 1968 the band temporarily disbanded to concentrate on other projects.

They did however remain in the public eye, either working on solo projects or backing Cliff Richard on concerts and TV appearances. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch even developed  a vocal group in the early 70s with Australia's John Farrar  before reuniting with Brian Bennett for a new line-up of The Shadows in 1973.

The Shadows subsequently re-entered the charts in 1975 with their Eurovision Song Contest entry Let Me Be The One.

Columbia DB 8170
Maroc 7 / Bombay Duck, Columbia, DB8170, 1967

Maroc 7 was the last UK chart entry for The Shadows in the 1960s featuring the line-up of Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, John Rostill and Brian Bennett. A fabulous instrumental taken from the theme of a film starring Leslie Phillips, features a fabulous drum solo from Brian Bennett.

The B side Bombay Duck is also one of The Shadows greatest B sides which sounded great fun to perform and fades out with a fabulous duck hunting whistle effect.

The single reached no.24 in the UK chart.

Let Me Be The One / Stand Up Like a Man, EMI, 1975

Let Me Be The One was performed by The Shadows at The Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm in 1975.  The Shadows came second in the contest, (similarly too Cliff who also represented the UK in 1968 and 1973).

The single reached No.12 in the UK charts and was their first hit of the 1970s, some 8 years after Maroc 7! Let Me Be The One along with Stand Up Like a Man featured on their LP Specs Appeal.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Dad's Army Off Duty: Clive Dunn in The Men From The Ministry

The Men From The Ministry
The 100th episode of the radio comedy series The Men From The Ministry was repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra today.

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on April 3 1973, A Private Affair starred Deryck Guyler and Richard Murdoch.

In this episode which features a guest appearance by Clive Dunn, the civil servants cause chaos when an airport is about to be opened in Scotland and a forgotten action from the end of World War Two is uncovered...

Listen to this episode on BBC IPlayer for the next seven days

A Week In Pictures: Week Ending: August 31, 2013

A trip to Subway on Cardiff Road on Bank Holiday Sunday
I launched a new feature on Retrospace called
Stars on 45RPM with collages of old 7 inch singles.
This Mary Hopkin release got a nice
comment on Twitter from Mary's daughter Jessica Morgan.
Watched some highlights of Reading Festival on BBCFour
on Sunday. Haim really made an impact on me!

Bank Holiday Monday found
me assembling our new bed
Draw Tom And Jerry challenge, done while watching
BBC coverage of Reading Festival

Those Radio Times!: September 19, 1970

Our series of random BBC Television and radio highlights culled from Radio Times listings in years gone by continues with Saturday, September 19, 1970...

On BBC Television...

BBC1, 5.20pm, The Pink Panther Show
A mainstay of the 1970s and 1980s on British TV, the recently colourised BBC were keen to sign up a new cartoon series that had a colour in its title. Today's episodes included GI Pink, Pig-Al Patrol and In The Pink.

BBC1, 6.45pm High Adventure: Soldiers Three
A big BBC1 draw on Saturday evenings throughout the early 70s was always a movie, on this evening it was back to 1951 with Soldiers Three and an all-star cast featuring Stewart Grainger, Walter Pidgeon and David Niven (who seemed to turn up on TV in a film every week in those days - and still does!)

BBC2, 7.30pm The News and Sport
Undoubtedly the days unfolding news of the death of rock star Jimi Hendrix in London was featured on this edition of the evening news.

BBC2, 7.45pm Disco 2
Mike Harding presented the latest happening sounds on Disco 2 tonight featuring Kris Kristofferson (currently touring the UK in 2013!) Caravan and The Strawbs.

BBC1, 9.0pm, Ben Travers' Farces : Rookery Nook
Richard Briers and Arthur Lowe headlined a stalwart cast for the first of seven television adaptations of  Ben Travers' Aldwych farces. The cast of Rookery Nook also featured Irene Handl, Moray Watson, Francis de Wolff, Geoffrey Lumsden and Joan Cooper (wife of Arthur Lowe).

On BBC Radio..

BBC Radio 4, 7.00pm Desert Island Discs
Politician, Playwright and Poet AP Herbert was celebrated in a series of special programmes on the BBC this week to commemorate his 80th Birthday.

He was also Roy Plomley's guest on this weeks Desert Island Discs.

His luxury for the desert island experience was a pair of field glasses. Read AP Herbert's complete musical choices here.

BBC Radio 1 and 2, 7.30pm Star Sound
Radio 1 and 2 came together for Saturday evening music back in 1970 when Robin Boyle presented Star Sound...

BBC Radio 1 and 2, 8.0pm South Bank Pops
Arthur Fiedler conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra at London's Festival Hall for big musical sounds in the style of Boston Pops.

BBC Radio 4, 8.0pm Vintage Goons
If comedy fans were feeling nostalgic they could hear a classic helping of The Goon Show from Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan. This edition entitled The Spon Plague was originally broadcast in 1958.

BBC Radio 4, 8.30pm Saturday Night Theatre
Tom Fleming starred in John Bridie's play Dr Angelus. Tom would later play the role again on stage in Edinburgh in 1978. He was also an accomplished commentator speaking on many events including The Royal Wedding of 1981...

(postponed from Thursday, September 19, 2013)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Retro Vinyl: Anatomy Of Love by Vikki Carr

I have to admit to knowing very little of Vikki Carr's material, perhaps my only knowledge of Vikki was her UK No.2 1967  hit It Must Be Him, a fabulous ballad with lots of brass and gusto.

Therefore when browsing through a selection of albums in a charity shop a few weeks ago I was intrigued when I came across her 1965 album Anatomy of Love.

Giving it a spin, this LP is  a bit of a lost classic to my ears. Vikki knocks out 12 tracks many of which are standards lending themselves to a jazz/easy-listening style. Her powerful vocals with the ability to switch between the ballad None But The Lonely Heart to the edginess of  Everything I've Got give this album plenty of diversity whilst taking in familiar standards such as Put On a Happy Face, Them Their Eyes, Heartaches and  I Only Have Eyes For You and given them her own magical twist  along the way.

Bob Florence and Mort Garson's musical arrangements naturally add to the jazz feel of this album, allowing Vikki's voice to find a natural and certainly sounding comfortably at home platform.

The album even came with a commendation sleeve note by respected musical theatre actress/singer Ethel Merman saying of Vikki "I am confident that her tremendous talent and ability will insure her great success in every area of the theater."

Vikki Carr - Anatomy Of Love
Liberty LBV1284

Side 1
  1. Put On  a Happy Face
  2. Them There Eyes
  3. None But The Lonely Heart
  4. Baby face
  5. Heartaches
  6. I've Grown Accustomed To His Face

Side 2
  1. Everything I've Got
  2. Cross Your Heart
  3. Look At That Face
  4. I Only Have Eyes For You
  5. That's All
  6. Real Live Boy

Monday, 16 September 2013

Stars On 45RPM : Two From The Bangles

For me, The Bangles were a great band from the 80s, Different Light particularly been one of my favourite albums in a rather grey period of time. Taking inspiration from The Beatles and The Byrds the group mixed close harmonies and jangly guitars with a feel good sound  that still sounds good nearly three decades later.

These two singles were recovered from a Dursley charity shop some 12 years ago at 20p each...

The Bangles: Walk Like An Egyptian / Angels Don't Fall In Love, CBS 6500717

Walk Like An Egyptian was a massive UK hit getting to No.3 in 1986. Who can forget Blue Peter presenters even attempting to recreate the dance? Ok, maybe we should.

This juke-box copy is different to an earlier copy I have which had a different picture sleeve design. The B Side Angels Don't Fall In Love, like the A Side was taken from the Different Light album.

The Bangles: Following/ Dover Beach, CBS BANGS 2

Unfortunately back in the 80s artists like Michael Jackson set a trend for releasing multiple tracks off albums. With the success of The Bangles Different Light album CBS opted for a similar approach of attempting to milk it dry of single releases.

Following was a dark brooding ballad sung by guitarist Michael Steele and was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Different Light, it was also the fifth single release from the album in early 1987.

Following coupled with Dover Beach (taken from The Bangles 1984 album All Over the Place) failed to make much impact on the UK charts reaching only No.55.

Listen to samples of all of the above tracks on the specially compiled widget below!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

CD Review: Chas and Dave : Gertcha! The EMI Years

Its fair to say that Chas and Dave are even more popular now as they were when their musical partnership began some 40 years ago. By the 1970s the pair were both seasoned musicians in their own right and their pub rock sound was the perfect antidote to the punk, new wave and disco genres invading the charts at the time.

Gertcha! The EMI Years is a 3 CD set bringing together everything they recorded at EMI between 1977 and 1979, just before they hit chart super-stardom.

Chas and Dave of course were originally championed by Terry Wogan on his Radio 2 breakfast show back in the 70s.

"He was one of the first ones," Chas Hodges recently told me, "We had one out called Billy Tyler, he (Wogan) loved it and it was coming out as our first single."

"EMI ballsed up with it. Naive that we were, we did have a manager to keep on at them and they said "oh yeah we’re going to release it in October!" and we said "Oh, when’s the actual release date?" and they said ""Release date of what?" and they’d forgotten all about it!"

Thankfully EMI haven't forgotten about this splendid collection  which features Billy Tyler, Gertcha! and Rabbit.

Not only can you marvel at Chas and Dave's  intricate guitar and piano playing but also savour them live as a vintage Abbey Road gig is revisited as well as a 2005 gig at The Shepherds Bush Empire on DVD.


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Retro Vinyl: Sing Lofty by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (EMI/Music For Pleasure, 1975)

Of all the UK chart acts of the 1970s, TV stars of It Ain't Half Hot Mum Don Estelle and Windsor Davies don't particularly trip off the tongue when talking about music from the era. 

Yet amongst the diverse range of number ones of that decade (and they were indeed diverse), the duo's in-character comedy presentation as Gunner Lofty Sugden and BSM Williams performance of  Whispering Grass actually sat at number one for three weeks in June 1975.

Estelle's throwback tenor sound paired with Davies bawling Sergeant Major "I will not have gossip in this jungle" made a suitable comedic recording formula.

Whispering Grass was taken from a comedy concept album release staged by the cast of It Ain't Half Hot Mum! earlier that year. 

Following the chart-topping success of the old Ink Spots hit Whispering Grass, an album highlighting the talents of  Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (largely in their IAHHM persona's throughout) was put into production.

Sing Lofty (EMC3102) delivered more of the same of the Whispering Grass formula, beautifuk tenor singing from Estelle mixed with Sergeant Major interjections from Davies on tracks such as Three Coins In The Fountain, Paper Doll and I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

Estelle also got to sing some solo spots too, while Davies delivered a comical monologue on the albums close.

Released for Christmas 1975, Sing Lofty was a good seller in the early months of 1976, guaranteeing the stars several TV and radio musical slots throughout the remainder of the year before Estelle carried on as a solo artist.

The original album was released on EMI with a textured sleeve design featuring a smart sleeve design of the stars. 

When Music For Pleasure reissued the album nearly two years later (MFP 50342) the cover design was replaced with a more detailed painting of Davies and Estelle.

I always find this a great LP to listen too, it has the right balance of comedy and music performance with familiar musical standards.

I found my EMI copy of Sing Lofty for a few pounds at a Carmarthen record fair back in the mid 90s while I merely paid around 50p for the MFP reissue at a charity shop in Dursley around 2002...

Deleted for several years, a best of Don Estelle and Windsor Davies CD did turn up a few years back so several of these tracks have since surfaced as MP3's.

If you'd like to hear samples from the album check out the widget below which I have compiled to replicate the original Sing Lofty album.

Sing Lofty
Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (EMI/Music For Pleasure, 1975)

Side 1:
  1. Paper Doll
  2. It's Magic
  3. September Song
  4. Without A Song
  5. A House Is Not A Home
  6. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
  7. All The Things You Are
Side 2:
  1. Three Coins In The Fountain
  2. In Love For The Very First Time
  3. As Time Goes By
  4. I, Yes, Me! That's Who
  5. Someone To Watch Over Me
  6. I Should Have Known
  7. A Message From Battery Sergeant-Major Williams

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Those Radio Times! : BBC TV Highlights For September 12, 1969

BBC1, 12pm International Golf: Dunlop Masters Tournament 

Back in 1969 sport fans had to seize any opportunity they could to watch TV coverage of their favourite game, so no doubt if Dad could get away from work for a few hours at lunchtime today  he may have tuned in to watch the third day's play of the Dunlop Masters Tournament from Little Aston Golf Club in Birmingham on BBC1.

With commentary from Henry Longhurst, Peter Thomson and Peter Alliss viewers could follow the progress of Scotland's Bernard Gallacher and England's Peter Butler, however it was South Africa's Cobie Legrange who would win the tournament.

BBC1, 10pm, Val Doonican's Cinema

Irish singer Val Doonican was always a firm TV favourite with parents and grandparents when I was younger. His TV show and Christmas specials were usually must sees around supper time and although I didn't fully appreciate his singing style back then I always loved his rocking chair!

Val was the subject of today's edition of Personal Cinema presented by David Coleman (postponed from August 15 RT reliably informs us!) in which Val discussed milestones in his life , his career and some of his favourite films including Ring Of Bright Water. Sounds like a great formula for a tv series, a bit like a visual Desert Island Discs!

See also:
Those Radio Times!: Dad's Army in Colour!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Those Radio Times!: Dad's Army In Colour!

Today in 1969, the third series of Dad's Army began on BBC1.

The first episode of the new series entitled The Armoured Might of Corporal Jones was made in colour but when viewers watched it on this particular evening in 1969 they were still likely seeing it in Black and White (Colour TV was still a few months away in Britain, and then only in selected areas!).

Thankfully the shows producer David Croft went for the option of filming Dad's Army in colour guaranteeing regular reruns in the coming decades!

The new series was previewed in that weeks Radio Times with a feature called Muddling Through and featuring excellent models of Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and Corporal Jones designed by artist Roger Law. Roger of course, later became very famous for his work on the 1980s satire Spitting Image!

Retro Vinyl Finds: Bing Crosby, Russ Conway, Matt Monro and Hit Hits

Five more recent vinyl album finds, this time from Oxfam and Healthy Planet shops in Newport, Gwent.

Bing Crosby Oxfam find
  • Hey Jude/Hey Bing! - Bing Crosby, London Records, 1969
  • Russ Conway Plays Jolson Hits, Music For Pleasure, 1969
  • Hit Hits, Music For Pleasure, 1969
  • The Impossible Dream - Matt Monro Sounds Superb/Music For Pleasure, 1967
  • Crosby Classics - Bing Crosby, Hallmark, 1967
I rarely come across any Bing Crosby releases so it was quite a surprise where the first shop I visited Oxfam I found the 1969 album Hey Jude/Hey Bing! A release that features Bing Crosby giving a nod to The Beatles has to be a bit of a collectible in my eyes and love the classic looking cover too! The album was a £1 but considering its in mono too and very clean condition I thought it a worthy addition.

Healthy Planet Finds
Earlier I had visited the Salvation Army shop and found releases by Russ Conway and Bill Wellings anonymous cover versions. Healthy Planet threw up two further releases, this time a Russ Conway homage compilation to Al Jolson and a Bill Wellings compilation of covers from 1968 entitled Hit Hits.

I recently located a Matt Monro LP for 20p and have now found another entitled The Impossible Dream, a 70s reissue on Music For pleasure's Sounds Superb label of a 60s LP.

Finally I ended where I began the day with another Bing Crosby LP this time entitled Crosby Classics, a nice cover with some great typography!

As usual with Healthy Planet all items are free as long as you don't chuck them away, you can keep them or recycle them!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Retro Vinyl Finds: Russ Conway, Shirley Bassey, BBC Radio Orchestra and Bill Wellings

Here's some more recent Retro Vinyl Finds, this time from the Salvation Army Charity Shop.

  • Russ Conway Plays, Russ Conway, Music For Pleasure, 1968
  • The BBC Presents 50 Years of Popular Hits, BBC Radio Orchestra, 1972
  • 20 Golden Love Songs, Shirley Bassey, Note, EMI, 1977
  • Million Seller Hits, Bill Wellings, Music For Pleasure, 1971
The albums were four for a pound on this occasion, nice retro covers!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Stars On 45RPM: Easy Listening and Swinging Stars

Capitol CL315
Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly: True Love /
Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra: Well, Did You Evah? Capitol, CL315, 1982

Bing Crosby was no doubt one of the greatest singers of the 20th Century, a musical hero of many including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. His ability to adapt to different musical styles has made his music timeless. Although he died in 1977 material was still been released and reissued several years after his death. This 1982 single reissue brought together two duets from the 1956 film High Society  for a Captol Records gate fold sleeve release.
Woman's Own, P117
Frankie Vaughan: Swingin' With Frankie Vaughan EP, Womans Own P117
Milord / The Green Door / Got Ta Have Something In The Bank Frank / Give Me The Moonlight, Give Me The Girl
The Beatles dedicated their Beatles For Sale album track Mr Moonlight to Frankie Vaughan. Frankie was a popular fixture of the entertainment business during the 50s and 60s. Swingin' with Frankie Vaughan is an EP from 1960 culling together 4 Vaughan classics for the devoted readers of Woman's Own magazine - making this a likely mail order EP.

Reprise R23052
Frank Sinatra: Strangers In The Night / My Kind Of Town Reprise R23052
Two songs from two movies performed by Frank Sinatra. Strangers In The Night from the James Garner film  A Man Could Get Killed as a number one hit in the UK in 1966, while the B Side My Kind Of Town was from the movie Robin and The Seven Hoods, which also featured dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Bing Crosby!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Retro Vinyl Finds: Cliff Richard, Vikki Carr, Sinatra and Seekers

Heres some recent LP and 45 RPM finds from the YMCA shop in Newport, Gwent all from the 1960s...
YMCA Shop discoveries
  • LP: The Best Of Cliff - Cliff Richard, Columbia 1969
  • LP: Anatomy Of Love - Vikki Carr, Liberty, 1965
  • Single: Strangers In The Night - Frank Sinatra, Reprise, 1966
  • Single: Walk With Me - The Seekers, Columbia, 1966
  • Single: Morningtown Ride - The Seekers, Columbia, 1966
The albums were 50p each while the singles were 25p each bringing in the total to £1.75.

The singles came in 1960s era sleeves too, The Seekers' Morningtown Ride housed in a Columbia era red sleeve while the other two are advertising album releases from 1966, never sure about the origin of these sleeves although i assume they were a marketing ploy by EMI to get record buyers to think about purchasing albums!

The 60s LPs were The Best of Cliff in stereo from 1969, (Cliff Richard's third greatest hits compilation at the time) and Vicki Carr''s Anatomy of Love in mono from 1965. Vikki later scored a huge UK hit with It Must Be Him two years later in 1967.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Retro Vinyl: Top T.V. Themes by The Pandora Orchestra (Starline, 1972)

Amazing to think that before soundtrack albums became the norm, TV Theme LP's were the only way of acquiring your favourite tunes from a television series. Some albums would have a theme, children's television for instance or drama. Others would be a cornucopia collection of tunes from various shows, usually reflective of the era they were released in.

Top TV Themes was a release on EMI's Starline label in 1972 bringing together 13 tunes recorded by The Pandora Orchestra (with the exception of The Onedin Line which was recorded by The London Symphony Orchestra).

This release featured faithful renditions of themes for On The Buses, Doctor At Large, Catweasle and Please Sir! alongside iconic themes for Upstairs Downstairs and New Scotland Yard. In the case of many of these tunes they do actually sound close to the TV originals making for a lively release.

All tunes (with the exception of The Onedin Line) were from ITV shows of the early 70s. The Onedin Line therefore was a rerecording by The London Symphony Orchestra. Its by far one of the most outstanding recordings of the theme tune (The Love Theme from Spartacus) suitably attired with thunderous sound effects projecting a minds eye image of life at sea.

These versions of Please Sir, Doctor At Large (or Bond Street Parade or Doctor In The House) have surfaced on CD compilations in recent years. This LP is worth tracking down though for its curious collection of tracks particularly the theme to a Dora Bryan sausage factory sit-com Both Ends Meet.

I found my copy of this LP for a mere 30p back in 1984 at Something Old, Something New, a now long out of business shop dealing in second hand material in Hildyard Row, Catterick Garrison.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Those Radio Times! : BBC TV and Radio Highlights for September 5, 1974

Here's a look at some BBC TV and Radio highlights from Thursday September 5, 1974...

BBC1, 7.55pm Mastermind

Mastermind began its 3rd television series on BBC1 on September 5, 1974.

Presented by Magnus Magnusson the programme immediately followed Top Of The Pops and was a cut above most quiz shows with contestants selecting a diverse range of specialist subjects. As those taking part were usually schoolteachers or lecturers, the series served to educate as well as stimulate.

Mastermind still continues in 2013 now presented by John Humphries.

BBC1, 8.30pm Porridge

The first series of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais prison based sit-com Porridge followed at 8.30pm. Ronnie Barker played the part of lag Norman Stanley Fletcher serving a five year stretch at Her Majesty's pleasure.

The series originally evolved from a half hour pilot starring Barker in 1973 entitled Prisoner and Escort. Fulton MacKay  and Brian Wilde resumed their roles as Mr McKay and Mr Barrowclough from the pilot, while star of The Lovers Richard Beckinsale took on the role of first-time offender Lennie Godber.

Porridge ran for three series until 1977. A sequel entitled Going Straight was later made as well as a full length Porridge movie in 1979.

BBC2, 9.25pm Show Of The Week: It's Lulu

Over on BBC2 at 9.25pm Ronnie Barker returned as a special guest of singer Lulu along with Adrienne Posta in Show Of The Week.

Show of The Week had been on a popular fixture on BBC2 since the 1960s encompassing a variety of shows hosted by entertainers including Morecambe and Wise and Vera Lynn.

Lulu herself had been hosting programmes on the BBC since the 60s and was seen as a seasoned professional all-round entertainer by 1974 despite still only been 26!

BBC Radio 2, 10.2pm Bob Holness's Late Night Extra

If you were winding down with the Radio 2 after 10pm Bob Holness was presenting Late Night Extra. Tonight's special guest was Jessie Matthews OBE.

A star of stage and screen in the 30s and 40s, Jessie was also Mrs Dale in the radio soap The Dales (formerly Mrs Dales Diary).

There was also music to midnight from The Henry Mancini Orchestra.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Those Radio Times!: "Hello, Good Evening and Welcome!" - Remembering Sir David Frost

Frost on Vinyl
Remembered for his famous catchphrase, "Hello, Good Evening and Welcome" there's no doubt David Frost never ceased to bring a smile to viewers faces across the world.

Few people could move from the world of TV satire into that of political inquisitor as smoothly or successfully as he did. His death at the weekend was not only a  loss to the golden age of television but also to the world of broadcasting and documentary, something of which he was still very much a part of.

As I was growing up, I was very much aware of the serious side of his career, particularly the Richard Nixon interview or giving Margaret Thatcher a severe grilling on Breakfast TV.

TW3 makes the cover
of Radio Times
It was probably around the early 1980s I became aware of his earlier work on shows such as That Was The Week That Was which also featured William Rushton, Roy Kinnear, Kenneth Cope, Lance Percival and Millicent Martin and The Frost Report which included John Cleese, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett and Sheila Steafel. 

Both series were a great reflection of the British ability to laugh at changing trends in the then revolutionary age of the 1960s. A decade rapidly moving away from post-war values of the public at large and the stiff upper lipped attitudes that Auntie Beeb had upheld since the 1920s. TW3 and The Frost Report were earthy and real satire that the viewers could identify with.

The Frost Report even featuring one of the most iconic sketches of the 60s, The Class Sketch featuring Cleese, Barker and Corbett which was later resurrected for The Two Ronnies.

A vintage TW3 preview
from a Radio Times special
Sir David Frost of course didn't lose his knack of appealing to the masses and for many years hosted a diverse range of series including Through The Keyhole, Breakfast With Frost and also a series of programmes examining the Christian faith via the Alpha Course.

In recent years a successful play based on his 1970's interviews with disgraced American President Richard Nixon highlighted one of Frost's career peaks, it was later dramatised as a film starring Michael Sheen.

Sir David Frost appeared on Desert Island Discs three times, in 1963, 1971 and 2005. You can find out his choices and download extracts from his appearances here.

Also check out some more Vintage Frost on the radio courtesy of fellow blogger Andy Walmsley.

Sir David Frost OBE April 7 1939 - August 31 2013

Monday, 2 September 2013

Fashion For The Day: OOTD: summer fun

My daughter Seren has just launched her own blog!

Seren always has knack of putting clothes together (and evidently doesn't inherit any of her grooviness from me) check out her first post here: Fashion For The Day: OOTD: summer fun

Stars on 45RPM: A Pick Of Apple Records

Famously known as The Beatles record label in the late 1960s, Apple Records scored a wealth of hits not only for The Beatles group and solo projects but also for a variety of recording artists. My own memories of Apple are undoubtedly the  defining record label design with its shiny green skin on the A Side and its White cut in half core on the B side.

Here are a few releases I have in my collection...
Apple 13
The Plastic Ono Band: Give Peace A Chance / Remember Love, Apple 13, 1969
John Lennon's first official  45RPM outing away from The Beatles and the first of many collaborations with Yoko Ono. Recorded live at John and Yoko's Bed-In protest in Canada, Give Peace A Chance still carries a powerful message some 45 years on from release. The B side features a gentle Yoko vocal Remember Love.

Apple 26
Mary Hopkin: Knock Knock Who's There? / I'm Going To Fall In Love Again, Apple 26, 1970
Mary Hopkin represented Great Britain in The Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 with Knock Knock Who's There? Produced by Mickie Most. The song might not have won the contest but was a firm favourite with me as a two-year-old! I couldnt resist the above copy I found in a Newport Charity Shop last December for 20p with a cool paper sleeve!

Apple 2
Mary Hopkin: Those Were The Days/ Turn Turn Turn, Apple 2, 1968
Mary Hopkin's first single was produced by Paul McCartney after Paul saw her on TV's Opportunity Knocks. Those Were The Days coupled with a beautiful version of Pete Seeger's Turn Turn Turn raced to the top of the UK chart on release in August 1968.
Mary's daughter, the recording artist Jessica Lee Morgan retweeted my above collage on Twitter on August 25 with the comment "@RetrospaceAndy nicely done! @themaryhopkin would be pleased!"

Sunday, 1 September 2013

A Week In Pictures: Week Ending, August 24,2013

Rachel found a creme egg amongst Seren's dance gear
the other night, obviously forgotten about since Easter!
I did one interview this week with singer/songwriter
Kathryn Williams - it was published In Friday's Guide
Toad in The Hole made a splendid return to the menu
on Wednesday evening
Rachel encouraged me to buy two Doctor Who Special's
on Saturday
Seren helped me find these four records in the Shaw Trust
charity shop on Saturday morning
Tom and Jon were collecting balloons in
Newport on Saturday morning


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