THE JACK JACKSON SHOW
According to the 1958 ATV Show Book "no world of jazz and pop fantasy was ever more fantastic, more unexpected, funnier or, when it needs to be, pleasingly sentimental than this thing called The Jack Jackson Show." Jack Jackson was a bandleader and trumpeter who gave up his musical career in the late 1940s to compere a BBC radio series called Band Parade. In June 1948 he was given his own late-night record show called Record Round Up and over the next twenty years his unique style made him a household name and influenced a generation of radio disc jockey's, not least of all Kenny Everett. Jackson's trademark was his lightning cuts between comedy extracts and mock-interviews utilising quick soundbites from popular radio and television programmes of the day such as The Goon Show, Hancock, Benny Hill and (later) Steptoe and Son and Till Death Us Do Part. All this between the musical hits of the day. He was one of the first DJ's to try and transfer the same format to television (Everett did this more successfully with his 'Video' show in the 70s and 80s), and although he received a huge amount of fan mail, the ATV series, which ran on Saturday night's in 1958 was seen as something of a failed experiment. Rehearsal's for the show were done at a small studio in Foley Street in London's West End, and passers by would have seen a whole host of stars wandering in and out of those premises on any given day of the week. Those stars included Alma Cogan, Paddy O'Neil and her husband Alfred Marks (although the latter was not a regular), a very young Judy Carne, Libby Morris, Bill Haydn and Glen Mason. It is said that Sean Connery, a close friend of Mason's would also drop in and say "hello" once in a while. The format of the TV show was similar to the radio series with quick-fire comedy and soundbites but with Mason, O'Neil and Joan Savage miming to the snippets of dialogue. The series was produced by Peter Glover. When Radio One was launched in 1967 Jackson transferred from The Light Programme to host Record Roundabout which lasted until June 1968. He passed away in 1978, just short of his 72nd birthday. For a time one of radio's forgotten heroes, Jack Jackson was hugely influential and is now recognised in the Radio Academy Hall of Fame where some sound clips are available. Radio Academy - Jack Jackson
JACKS AND KNAVES
A bit of an oddity - this short series (only four episodes), billed by the Radio Times in November 1961 as a "comedy documentary," was apparently based around the exploits of retired Liverpool CID Detective Sergeant William Prendergast. TV writer Colin Morris had previously met the DS when he went to Liverpool in search of material for Tearaway, a dramatised documentary about the intimidation of witnesses. Morris described Prendergast as a big beefy, granite-faced man with a formidable air of authority, and as tough as they come. In twenty-eight years with the Liverpool CID Prendergast became a specialist in interrogation - so successfully that two years after his retirement, the files on his cases were still being used to train young detectives. "I never took a note when I was interrogating." said Prendergast when interviewed for the Radio Times. "I have a photographic memory, so I just used to sit and let them go on talking - till three, five, six o'clock in the morning. I've sat with them through the small hours and watched the moon go down and the sun come up, and suddenly they've made the one slip. And I've said: "D'you remember what you told me at eleven o'clock? And now you say this? All right. Let's start all over again ..."" The dialogue Colin Morris wrote for John Barrie who played Detective Sergeant Tom Hitchin in the TV series attempted to catch the authentic flavour of Prendergast in action: "a tough character," as Calder described him, "with a great sense of humour and much humanity". The title; Jacks and Knaves was inspired by the fact that, in the early 1960s, Liverpudlians branded police officers as "Jacks", whilst officers referred to criminals as "Knaves." The programme is notable for being the forerunner to the highly successful Z-Cars (and is sometimes cited as the inspiration for it), but the branding of the genre as "comedy documentary" is an unusual one. The series was created and written by Colin Morris and produced and directed by Gilchrist Calder.
4 episodes of 45 minute duration. BBC 1961.
Sunday teatime series aimed at children and no doubt inspired by the success of the previous year's Timeslip, Jamie was yet another variation on the time travel theme with, in this case, the hero being transported from era to era on a magic carpet. On his journey's Jamie (Garry Miller), accompanied by his friend, Tink (Nigel Chivers) encountered famous figures from British history such as Guy Fawkes (in the story entitled "Remember, Remember") and Horatio Nelson ("England Expects"). The other constant in the series was the enigmatic Mr Zed (Aubrey Morris) who always encouraged Jamie on his travels and seemed to know a lot more about the magic carpet than he ever let on. The one thing that he did reveal was that neither Jamie nor Tink, try as they might, could ever change history.
13 episodes. 1971 LWT
JAMES AT 15
Novelist Dan Wakefield (“Going All The Way”) created this realistic dramatic series about an adolescent boy who faced the trials and tribulations of most teenagers. Lance Kerwin played 15-year-old James Hunter, whose college professor father moved the family from Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts to accept a teaching position. After initially running away from home, James reluctantly began to deal with his new surroundings as he tried to make friends at fictional Bunker Hill High School. His friends included Ludwig “Sly” Hazeltine (David Hubbard), a hip middle-class African-American student who gave James advice on various issues–or as he called it, “Slycology.” Susan Myers played Marlene Mahoney, James’ intellectual friend. Linden Chiles was James’ father, Paul Hunter; Lynn Carlin was mom Joan; Kim Richards and Deidre Berthrong were James’ sisters Sandy and Kathy, respectively. James was a budding photographer who liked to daydream occasionally; his fantasies sometimes became part of the storyline. But the show never resorted to stereotypes, and it dealt credibly with real-life issues such as alcoholism, cancer, premarital sex and sexually transmitted diseases. In a February 1978 episode, young James marked his 16th birthday by losing his virginity to a Swedish exchange student named Christina (Kirsten Baker); at that point, the series was renamed James At 16. But Wakefield left the show after a dispute with NBC over the use of the word “responsible” as an euphemism for birth control, and the network’s insistence that James should express remorse over the sexual encounter. James At 15 initially aired as a made-for-TV film in May 1977; its high ratings led the network to commission a series for the fall. Critics loved it (Tom Shales of “The Washington Post” said “it communicates something about the state of being young, rather than just communicating that it wishes to lure young viewers”). But ratings were not as high as NBC had hoped, and “James” was not renewed for a second season. Still, it had an impact on future teen dramas. Writer Kevin Williamson said he wanted to create a “James At 15 for the ‘90's” when he came up with Dawson’s Creek. Indeed, “Dawson’s”–along with Beverly Hills, 90210, My So-Called Life, Degrassi High and Skins, to name just a few–owe a debt to James At 15 for leading the way.
20 episodes. NBC. 1977-78
THE JENSEN CODE
Children's drama series broadcast over 13 episodes from February 1973. Written by Carey Harrison (son of actor Rex Harrison), The Jensen Code told the tale of 16 year-old Terry Connor (Dai Bradley) who is sent to an outdoor activity centre in Derbyshire. Along with Alex (Tony Wright) he stumbles across a plot to steal the Jensen Code from a nearby Ministry of Defence base. The codes creator is then murdered, but not before entrusting Terry with the code. The trouble is Terry doesn't know to trust and his dilemma is further complicated when he wakes up in hospital with his memory of the code completely erased.
13 episodes of 30 minute duration. ATV. 1973.
THE JO STAFFORD SHOW
One of the major female recording artists of all time, Jo Elizabeth Stafford (1917-2008) was an American singer of traditional pop music and jazz standards whose career ran from the late 1930s to the early 1960s by which time she had sold in excess of 25,000,000 records. Among her best sellers were Make Love To Me, Jambalaya, Temptation and You Belong To Me. On September 9, 1961 viewers caught their first glimpse of nine star-studded shows seen fortnightly. This was billed as the most ambitious series ever launched by a British television production company, the first international musical series incorporating artistes from Britain and America. Produced at ATV's Boreham Wood studios each show had a theme. The first show dealt with the basic difference in the English language as spoken in America and the UK. Guests in this show included Graham Stark and Peter Sellers. One show dealt with the subject of love and Stafford was joined by Ella Fitzgerald for a musical medley while Claire Bloom recited verse and Kathleen Harrison and George Benson performed in a sketch. Another show on travel starred Kenneth More who bought with him the vintage motor car 'Genevieve' as seen in the movie of the same name. Other guests included Roy Castle, Peter Lawford, Edd Byrnes, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope, Benny Hill, Harry Secombe and Mel Torme. Other themes included the four seasons, chivalry and big bands. One show was recorded at the London Palladium, starred Robert Morley, Stanley Holloway and Morecambe and Wise.
9 shows. ATV 1961
Simplicity was the keynote; place seasoned wits into a studio with a filing cabinet of funny stories, offer a card to one comedian and let him tell a joke. Then you tell the others that they must interrupt and finish the joke for the man who picked the card. Running for nine highly successful series, Jokers Wild was a lively, rapidly paced panel game in which two teams of top comics competed for laughs from the studio audience. Hosted by comedy Barry Cryer, the show’s line-up often read like a Who’s Who? of British comedy talent - John Cleese, Bob Monkhouse, Arthur Askey, Eric Sykes and Sid James being just a few of the famous players over the course of its six-year run. The first series, featuring Les Dawson, Ted Ray, Charlie Chester, Jimmy Edwards, Alfred Marks and Roy Hudd, originally screened in 1969, has been made avaialbe on DVD for the first time and includes the unscreened pilot episode.
Yorkshire Television 1969-1974
Adapted from R.C. Sheriff's successful play, Journey's End is set against the background of life in the trenches during World War 1 and concentrates on a group of officers behind British lines at St. Quentin, France. The characters live in a world of fear and disillusionment as they struggle to come to terms with the strain of each new attack order given from headquarters, while having to endure the German machine guns relentlessly sending out their messengers of death and destruction. The tale concentrates on the once brave and exhuberant Captain Stanhope now a mere shadow of his former self as he loses hope and sinks into desperation. Broadcast in 1937 this was the first time that an entire evening's programming was given over to one play. George More O'Ferrall condensed the script without sacrificing continuity and rythm. The play was broadcast, as all programming was in those days, live from Alexandra Palace but used filmed inserts from (reportedly) G.W. Pabst's 1930 feature fim 'Westfront 1918', which seems odd as Journey's End was filmed the same year. The film version starred Colin Clive and was directed by James Whale and just a year later director and actor teamed up once more for the classic Hollywood horror movie, 'Frankenstein.' This TV version starred Reginald Tate as Stanhope and was broadcast just once, on 11 November1937.
BBC TV. 1937
JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN
The seventeen episodes that made up 'Journey to the Unknown' were a mixture of psychological suspense, medical experimentation and science fiction with a little murder and mystery thrown in for good measure -So it's not surprising to learn that executive producers Joan Harrison and Norman Lloyd had previously worked on another TV series, with the master of suspense himself...Alfred Hitchcock. Hammer Films made the series in Britain although US filmmakers Twentieth Century Fox financed it to the tune of £70,000 per episode. This was Hammer's first venture into TV after establishing itself in the mid 1950's with cinematic retellings of such classics as Frankenstein and Dracula (although its first international success came in 1955 with 'The Quatermass Xperiment' -US title 'The Creeping Unknown'). The series premiered in the US several weeks prior to its UK debut (on ABC) but even then it was not afforded a steady run, being shown mainly in the London area with only sporadic viewings elsewhere. A steady mixture of American and British stars appeared and they included Michael Gough, Dennis Waterman, Milo O'Shea, Stephanie Powers, George Maharis, Joseph Cotton, Nanette Newman, David Hedison, Jane Asher, Bernard Lee, Roddy McDowell, Ingrid Pitt, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jack Hedley, and Paul Daneman. The 'Unknown' referred to in the title was the Human Mind.
17 episodes of 60 minute duration. 1968-69.
A boy riding on the back of a rhinoceros ended a talent hunt that reached round the world, according to ATV's 1959 Television Star Book. Producers of Jungle Boy had been looking for a youngster to play the title role in the planned filmed series for some time who could or would be prepared to learn how to handle the animals he would eventually have to co-star with. And with the advice of never work with children or animals ringing in their ears, most of the young actors were reluctant to take up the role. It was whilst searching locations in East Africa that one of the producers came across Michael Carr Hartley, the fourteen year old son of a famous naturalist and wild animal handler, Carr Hartley. Young Michael, who had lived in Kenya all his life was riding piggyback on a rare white rhinoceros, when first noticed. The understanding that Michael had with the animals made him a natural for the role of a boy who grows up in the wilds as an orphan, when the rest of his family is killed in an airplane crash. Filmed entirely on location in Kenya, East Africa, the regular cast featured Ronald Adam as Dr. Laurence and Jungle Boy's pet cheetah.Pre publicity for the series boasted that it was "quite unspolied by any 'trick' shots. All its scenes are real and have been filmed on the spot in East Africa."The series was shown in the USA as The Adventures of a Jungle Boy.
13 episodes of 30 minutes duration. ATV 1957.
Julia Standford (Margaret Lockwood), a well-known English barrister, is called to defend a boy charged with rape and murder - and reveals an evil that shatters the town, the courtroom and the boy. No one has any doubt where the evil lies when the case begins; it rests revoltingly in the character of 18-year old Allan Harper (Cavan Kendall), discovered by the side of a lonely road with the body of 16-year old Ann Laird. He has no defence, admits that he had gone to meet the girl and "cannot remember" clearly enough to say whether he killed her or not. The local police already have on record Ann's accusation of rape against the boy, and examination of the body confirms that she is pregnant. From the moment Julia agrees to take the case, sensing intuitively that Allan is innocent, the question that confronts the viewer is not whether she will get him off, but how. This one-off play, Justice is a Woman, by Jack Roffey and Ronald Kinnoch was adapted for television by stanley Miller and co-starred Iain Cuthbertson, Allan Cuthbertson and John Laurie. Made by Yorkshire Television it was broadcast on 4 September 1969. Two years later, Lockwood returned to the role, although her character's name was changed to Harriet Peterson, in the shorter titled series Justice. Forced to work as a barrister after her husband (William Franklyn) is sent to prison, Harriet is working on the northern court circuit. At the end of the first series she leaves for London, and this is where the story picks up in series two. In her private life Harriet has on-off relationship with Dr Ian Moody (John Stone, at the time Lockwood's real-life partner). The third and final series saw the introduction of the young, high-flying barrister James Eliot (Anthony Valentine). In the final episode, having already been made a QC and now head of chambers, Harriet accepts Moody's proposal of marriage (in real-life, Lockwood and Stone parted company shortly after the series ended). Scriptwriters on the series included Edmund Ward and James Mitchell.
39 episdoes of 60 minute duration. Yorkshire Television 1971 - 1974.
K9 AND COMPANY - A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND
To fill the longer-than-usual gap between seasons eighteen and nineteen of Doctor Who the BBC screened The Five Faces of Doctor Who, a series of repeats that featured each of The Doctor's incarnations (the first time a repeat was shown that didn't star the incumbent actor). The show's current producer, John Nathan-Turner, had also suggested to his BBC superiors, a spin-off programme (the first in the series history), featuring The Doctor's robotic computerised dog, K9, who had been dropped from the regular series in 1980. To give the would-be spin-off the best possible chance of success, Nathan-Turner also bought back one of fan's favourite companions from the show's history; Sarah Jane Smith as played by Elizabeth Sladen. Sarah, an intrepid reporter, returns from working for Reuters in the USA to visit her aunt Lavinia, but instead comes across Brendan, Lavinia's ward. Also in her aunt's house is a box sent by The Doctor. In it, she finds K9. When Brendan is kidnapped by a local coven of witches who want to use him in a sacrificial ceremony, it is up to Sarah and K9 to come to the rescue. The special was watched by a respectable 8.4 million viewers, but the option of a full series was never taken up. K9 finally returned to our screens in the post 2005 series of Doctor Who and finally got a full series, with full CGI graphic effects, in 2010. The series was made in Australia and aired on Disney XD - where it was best left.
THE KATHY KIRBY SHOW
1964 will long be remembered for the year of the Mersey sound and when The Beatles came to the fore as the pop icons of the 1960s. However, one of the fastest-moving careers in show business was as far removed from the lovable mop-tops and the Liverpool explosion as possible. It came to a new peak when Kathy Kirby starred for the first time in her own programme. In little more than a year the attractive blonde from Ilford, Essex made a name for herself as a recording artist with two huge hits; 'Dance On' and 'Secret Love' - selling almost a million copies. The show was produced by Ernest Maxin who said at the time 'Kathy has tremendous potential. In preperation for the show she has been working twelve hours a day learning dancing and the finer points of comedy, and I believe it will prove her a top-rank all-round entertainer.' Often compared to Marilyn Monroe, Kathy was only sixteen when she first sang in an Ilford dance hall with the Ambrose Band. The standard format created for Kirby in The Kathy Kirby Show, a mixture of song, dance, comedic sketches and special guest stars was copied in subsequent shows for Cilla Black, Lulu and Dusty Springfield. Kirby became one of the biggest stars of the early to mid 1960s, appearing in the Royal Command Variety Performance and this was the first of three television series for BBC-tv. During the 1970s Kirby's singing career was eclipsed by a turbulent personal life, she gave one last concert in Blackpool in 1983 and after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, she retired from showbiz. She passed away in 2011.
BBC 1964 - 1966
KEE AND LEVIN
Late night interview series from Associated Rediffusion in which Robert Kee and Bernard Levin set the questions to key political and current affairs figures. Kee started his journalistic career on Picture Post magazine in 1949 before joining The Observer newspaper for whom he was a correspondent during the Suez Crisis in 1956. By the time he joined ITV in 1965 he was already a seasoned television reporter having done a stint on the BBC current affairs programme Panorama. Levin, a reporter and political commentator had apperared regularly on BBC television's weekly late-night satirical revue, That Was The Week That Was (aka TW3), where he conducted interviews and delivered monologues to camera about his pet hates. Sometimes scathing and forthright in his opinions Levin was no stranger to controversy and was once punched in the face during a live broadcast by a male member of the audience who took exception to a severe and critical review of a show that Levin had commented on the week before. Apparently, the show starred the man's wife. Fortunately, Levin managed to finish the single series of Kee and Levin unscathed.
A young boxer's career is destroyed by a scheming woman (Jenny Laird) when she convinces him to murder her husband; a fight manager. Johnny Flanagan is played by Michael Medwin making his TV debut and Sid James (billed as Sidney James) stars as the Kid's promoter, Sharkey Morrison. This one-off (live) play based on Max Catto's novel was broadcast on BBC television on 1st August 1948 and produced by Joel O'Brien. In 1950, American producer Robert Lippert formed a business alliance with Hammer studios (to produce a number of b-movies) and in 1953, under the name of Exclusive, they produced a big-screen version called The Flanagan Boy (US title Bad Blonde). The blonde is played by US actress Barbara Peyton who plays up the femme fatale's sexuality more obviously than would have been seen in the TV production as she first seduces Flanagan and then convinces him to do the dirty deed. Sid James reprised his TV role for the movie.
BBC television. 1948
KNOCK THREE TIMES
Early Sunday evening presentation shown under the 'Heyday Theatre' banner. This four-part children's adventure series was a modern version of Marion St. John Webb's story (originally published in 1917), starring 15-year old 4ft 5in Jack Wild, by this time internationally famous as the Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart's musical 'Oliver!' Wild was teamed with young Sally-Ann Jones - three years his junior but the same height - to play twins Jack and Molly. Comedienne Hattie Jacques starred as their Aunt Nancy, a magical lady who lead the children off into a world of fun and fantasy. The serial started at the children's 12th birthday party, presided over by Nancy. Later, when the twins are in bed, Molly has a dream about one of her presents, a pin cushion, which turns into a walking "Grey Pumpkin Man" (played by diminutive character actor Norman McGleen). The rest of the serial was devoted to Molly's fantasy world, where she and Jack got involved in all sorts of adventures. Two stars from Please Sir! appeared in the series; Eric Chitty and Liz Gebhardt.
4 episodes of 30 minute duration. ITV. 1968