Archive for February, 2015

WPC 56 Series 3 – Episode Guide

An authentic 1956 station

A new set of stories from Brinford Police station start on Monday 9th March at 2.15pm on BBC One

Here is the much anticipated episode guide summary for the new series of WPC 56 which starts on BBC One at 2.15pm on Monday 9th March 2015.

The new WPC makes her arrival at the station

The new WPC makes her arrival at the station

Monday 9th March – A Different Beat (Episode One)

Brinford’s new WPC, Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie) is on the trail of a shady predator who is targeting contestants at a beauty contest. There’s a shock in store for Briggs (Mark Healey) and DI Sawyer (Oilver Rix) who are haunted by old foes and former wrongdoings.

Susie heads off to post her parcel

Tuesday 10th March – Walk the Line (Episode Two)

Annie’s involvement in a gruesome murder case causes a rift with her father (John Duttine). As Briggs struggles to be a good husband, Susie (Rachel Leskovac) continues to infuriate lovesick Sergeant Swift (James Barriscale). When an old colleague asks Fenton (Charlie De’Ath) for help he worries he’s no longer up to the job.

Wednesday 11th March – From the Shadows (Episode Three)

When DI Sawyer’s missing suspect makes a violent reappearance, events take a sinister turn. The net tightens around Briggs as Coulson (John Bowler) recruits Fenton to do his dirty work. Annie and Tommy (Liam Jeavons) play cupid to Susie and Swift.

Episodes 1 to 3 Directed by Lisa Clarke

Thursday 12th March – The Wayward Wind (Episode Four)

Briggs’ misfortune allows Coulson to reassert his power at the station, and DI Sawyer questions a suspect with a chilling wartime story to tell. When Gloria (Melissa James) is accused of a crime Tommy struggles to be professional, and Fenton makes a shocking discovery at a boarding house.

Oliver Rix & Claudia Jessie head back to the station

DI Sawyer & WPC Annie Taylor head back to Brinford police station

Friday 13th March – Requiem (Episode Five)

The team are forced to decide where their loyalties lie after news of a tragic event, but will they take a stand against Coulson? Annie and DI Sawyer are running out of time as they struggle to unlock the dark secrets of the Petra Project.

Episodes 4 and 5 Directed by David Beauchamp

Series One is available on BBC iPlayer

Series Two is repeated from Monday 2nd March 2015 at 2.15pm on BBC One.

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Big Centre TV – More Guests on The David Hamilton Show

Having thoroughly enjoyed watching the first shows of The David Hamilton show being filmed a few weeks ago, I again made the short trip into Walsall to drop in on the latest recording session of the former Radio One DJ’s chat show.

Arriving at the studios just before the scheduled 1pm start I was shown straight into the studio as the recordings were about to start, however, a few minor technical issues with the microphones and cameras and an extended soundcheck from the houseband, The Parnells, meant that recording did not get started for a further hour, still, at least the studio felt a little warmer than the last visit and the audience numbers bettered the seven people that were there two weeks ago, but only just!

I was pleased to find the same friendly and relaxed atmosphere of a few weeks ago but this time with some improved general organisation around the studio floor as the crew were clearly settling into their new roles. It was a real shame that a small number of technical issues interrupted the proceedings, creating a few stuttering starts, resets and retakes, as this clearly took the edge off what would otherwise have been a more confident and assured production.  That said, the crew and production team worked tirelessly to resolve the issues and managed the get another two shows recorded and ready for editing.

There were a few familiar faces from the first shows on set today, including John Henshall, who was again capturing the proceedings on camera and using his years of experience to provide ad-hoc support to the younger members of the crew.

Show One 

David Hamilton Show - Saturday February 21st 2015

David Hamilton appears to pray to the TV production Gods for an end to the initial technical problems.

Show host, David Hamilton, this week wearing a more conservative dark grey suit and pink tie, strode confidently onto the set to open the proceedings by introducing another medley of TV themes, again expertly played by The Parnells. Hamilton invited future TV viewers to send e-mails, tweets or post on Facebook the names of the themes, to addresses that will obviously appear on screen when the show goes out.

The first guest was auctioneer and valuer Mark Hannam, who also appears on the BBC2 show Flog It. Hannam, from Fieldings Auctioneers Ltd in Stourbridge, spoke about how his much younger self became interested in collectables and how he has built up his 25 years of experience in fine art and antiques. We also heard about how the internet has helped increase auction sales and how the online bidding process works for live auctions, where, as Hannam explained, the charisma and passion of the auctioneer alone can increase a selling price for an item.

Being a DJ, Hamilton soon highlighted Hannam’s specialism in music, of the mechanical kind, and they discussed the value of music boxes from Victorian days before chatting about the challenge and competition element of the Flog It show and how his involvement in the programme had come about. Finally we heard about his greatest and favourite find, an abandoned lead statue, and how he had used his vast experience to identify the makers, Bromsgrove Guild, as the same craftsmen that had made the cast iron gates of Buckingham Palace.

Stephanie de Sykes

Stephanie de Sykes on The David Hamilton Show

The second guest was singer/songwriter Stephanie De Sykes, who had a huge UK hit with Born With A Smile On My Face in July 1974. The conversation naturally started with this number two hit single and its appearance in the ATV soap, Crossroads. The initial discussion points covered the reasons why the song failed to reach the top of the charts, including the obvious George McCrae hit Rock Your Baby, and Holly Brown, the Crossroads character played by de Sykes, that had performed the song in the soap. The character of Holly Brown reappeared again at the 1975 wedding of Meg and Hugh Mortimer when she performed the number 17 hit We’ll Find Our Day (in a sequence filmed at Chateau Impney in Droitwich) which de Sykes also recalled during the discussion. Both songs and a third track, It’s Been A Long, Long Day, also featured in the wedding episode were written by the TV theme tune king Simon May.

The conversation then moved onto song writing and the two Eurovision songs that de Sykes had co-written with her then partner Stuart Slater. The first song, The Bad Old Days by Co-Co (featuring future Eurovision winner Cheryl Baker), did not fair well in the 1978 contest and finished 11th of 20 songs, making it the worst performance from a UK entry at that time. Undeterred the song writing duo returned to the contest in 1980 with, Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna (featuring another future Crossroads singer, Kate Robbins). The song finished a respectable third in the contest won by Ireland’s Johnny Logan’s with What’s Another Year

Another talking point of local interest was the ATV start-up song Odyssey which de Sykes performed with backing group Rain. For those too young to remember the days when TV was not a 24 hour machine, it will come as a surprise to find that channels actually shut down for the evening before restarting again the following morning. The accompanying video clip for the channel start-up song was fondly recalled by de Sykes as showing off the best the Midlands region had to offer, mixing countryside and cityscapes during the four minute track.

I felt the interview ended on a slightly awkward note with Hamilton questioning de Sykes about her nine year relationship with TV star Angus Deayton. Fidgeting a little in her seat she seemed a little uncomfortable speaking about their bitter break up and the host did not press this line of enquiry that much further.

Andy Park is Mr Christmas

David Hamilton meets Andy Park AKA Mr Christmas

Guest three required a quick redressing of the set, so out came the crackers, tinsel and Christmas hats, which were all carefully placed to welcome Andy Park, the self-appointed Mr Christmas. Bouncing onto the set Park (or should I call him Christmas – I’m not sure) was full of energy and joined Hamilton on the set to perform a short boogie to the Christmas entrance music supplied by The Parnells. Dressed in a Christmas tie and hat and sporting a spring of mistletoe on his jacket lapel; Park was every inch the eccentric you’d expect from a man that has celebrated Christmas every single day since July 1993, and as the conversation progressed he confirmed this was the actual case.

The electrician explained how he has mince pies for breakfast and turkey for dinner before settling down to watch the Queen’s Christmas Day message, on tape obviously, but at 3pm prompt and of course with a tipple of sherry, every single day of the year. He explained that it started in July 1993 when he felt quite sad and decided to cheer himself up by getting out his Christmas decorations and cooking himself a Christmas dinner. It cheered him up so much that he’s now done it daily for nearly 23 years. He even writes himself Christmas cards and posts them through his own door, he has no other option as who else would be sending him Christmas cards in the middle of August?

He lovingly spoke about his pet turkey, who he has named Tinsel, quoted some ridiculously large numbers when talking about how many sprouts and mince pies he has eaten during his daily celebrations and detailed the response he got from Buckingham Place to his kind invite offering Her Majesty The Queen the use of  his home in Melksham, Wiltshire to record her annual Christmas message.

I must admit that whilst he was entertaining, mainly due to his quirky and cheery persona, I was struggling to find a connection that placed him on this particular show. Just as I was about to give up all hope of working it out, the missing link was finally revealed. It transpired that Hamilton, along with fellow DJ Mike Read and Slade guitarist Dave Hill, had visited Mr Christmas at his home to record a video to a novelty Christmas charity song under the name of the Shooting Stars. The 2009 song, My Christmas Card To You raised money for the Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice but failed to make the UK Top 40 charts.

The show ended as the final interview had begun, with Hamilton and Park jiving away as The Parnells played them out.

Show Two

David Hamilton

David Hamilton awaits the start of Show Two

After a short break and a quick change of suit and tie, David Hamilton was back and introducing another Parnells medley of TV theme tunes, but this time they were all aimed at a younger audience. Amongst the many tunes played I did catch a familiar burst of the Roobarb and Custard theme, and again the viewers were invited to send in their own guesses to the shows themes that were included (So those that have read this in advance will now have a slight advantage).

The TV themes played were a link to the first guest of the second show, former television producer and director, Clive Doig.

Doig explained his TV career with the BBC started in the fifties and that by 1963 he’d work his way up to the role of vision mixer on a new show called Dr Who. No one knew back then that the show would be the huge success we know it for today but the nation quickly took to the sci-fi series and Doig was right there at its inception.

The David Hamilton Show - Clive Doig

David Hamilton interviews Clive Doig

He explained that after that he’d progressed into the children TV section of the BBC and he directed the Vision On series with Tony Hart. He spoke about producing the shows The Deceivers and Eureka, both collaborations with Jeremy Beadle and spoke about how his friend was often misunderstood due to the ‘prank’ style shows where he made his name. He went on to explain his ‘repertory company’ approach to his TV shows and named a few of the regular actors and actresses he’d regularly worked with on a number of shows, one of which we would meet later in the show.

He described in detail the now legendary Beadle’s About alien spacecraft stunt, that he devised, was meticulously created and set up to fool the ‘victim’ but also carefully planned to protect and care for the ‘victim’ to ensure she was not affected by the scale of extraterrestrial events. Once the show aired, it made a farmer’s wife, Janet Elford, the talk of the nation after she had sung and offered a cup of tea to the alien life form that had emerged from the spacecraft that has crash landed on their land.

Madeline Smith

Former Bond Girl, Madeline Smith

As the final guest of the day shimmied seductively across the studio to join Hamilton, The Parnells belted out the James Bond theme and the audience were about to be find ourselves in the presence of a genuine, bona fide, Bond girl.

Madeline Smith had been cheerfully chatting to the other guests for much of the afternoon and had already shown that she was a charming and cheerful lady with an interest and plenty of time for everyone she enthusiastically chatted with.

Her joyful charm continued once she sat in the blue chair and she openly discussed her childhood, accompanied with pictures provided by John Hensall and how she started off in acting.

Leaving the obvious Bond discussion for later, Hamilton started with questions about Smith’s early career in Hammer Horror, Carry On Matron and Frankie Howerd. I’m not sure how many clips will be aired on the TV edited version of the interview but in the studio we got to see Smith’s brief scene in Carry On Matron, with Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor (Smith plays Mrs Pullitt in a scene that starts around eight minutes into film) as well as a brief excerpt from the film short The Passionate Pilgrim, Eric Morecambe’s last screen appearance before his death in 1984. We also heard about the shows that Smith had worked on as part of Doig’s repertory company, making a nice and easy link to the previous guest for this particular show.

The conversation moved onto the Two Ronnies serial, Hampton Wick, which Smith revealed was written by Ronnie Barker and not the credited G. Wiley and A Gentleman, and she seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed working with Messrs Barker and Corbett.  A brief section was recorded about the 1972 Lionel Jeffries film, The Amazing Mr Blunden, which starred Diana Dors, but at the time of recording it was unclear if clearance would be obtained to show the clip so that may be cut from the TV show by the time it airs.

Finally we heard about that famous scene from Live And Let Die and the secret of the ‘magnetic watch’ and the zipper on that blue dress, and the three days spent in bed with Roger Moore. I was disappointed that, given the local appeal, the 1974, Birmingham based, Cliff Richard movie Take Me High was not discussed; in which Smith played Cliff’s girlfriend, Vicki. I did speak to Madeline about it briefly afterwards and she told me she had to ‘always tell Cliff off’ during their scenes together, but didn’t elaborate on the exact reasons why.

Madeline Smith was the perfect guest to finish a great days entertainment with and she quite happily stayed around to signed autographs and pose for pictures with the audience. I shall be interested to see how these two shows have been edited when broadcast as all guests had interesting tales to tell but unfortunately some of it will need to be cut to keep within the time allowed, which is a real shame.

Meeting a Bond Girl

Former Bond Girl Madeline Smith happily poses for a photo with me after the show, kindly taken by John Henshall.


Finally, I got my own souvenir of the day, thanks to John Henshall who took this picture for me.

The David Hamilton Show will air at 8pm on Tuesday evenings, starting from 3rd March of Big Centre TV, on Freeview channel 8.

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WPC 56 returns, but changes are coming…

With WPC 56 making a welcome return to our TV screens this week, it’s worth a quick review of how the staff of Brinford Police Station have changed over the last three years. Series three is scheduled to start on Monday 9th March, with Sgt Sidney Fenton the only survivor from the group photo from the first series.  So here is a collection of promotional images that show the changes in personnel since we first visited Brinford in 2013.

Series One

A repeat of series one of the BBC Birmingham produced drama WPC 56 began at 2.15pm Monday 23rd February on BBC One.

The drama set in the 1950s shows the battles that WPC Gina Dawson has being the first female police officer at the Brinford police station in a male dominated profession. If you missed episode one it will be available on BBC iPlayer for the next month and the remainder of series one airs daily at 2.15pm for the rest of this week (23rd – 28th February 2015).

Series One Cast - 2013

WPC 56 Series One Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Pratt (Gerard Horan), Cathy Sinclair (Justine Cain), PC Eddie Coulson (Chris Overton), WPC Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques), DI Jack Burns (Kieran Bew) , Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Inspector Roger Nelson (John Light).

Image Source: BBC Birmingham PR Twitter.

Series Two

Series two repeats from Monday 2nd March 2015 and introduces us to a number of new characters to the Brinford beat, but still features the same edgy and gritty story lines that we saw in series one. Series two features a large number of on location scenes filmed at The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

WPC 56 Series Two Cast

WPC 56 Series Two Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Constable Arthur Coulson (John Bowler), Chief Inspector Walter Briggs (Mark Healy), WPC Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques), PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons), DI Max Harper (Ben Turner), Sgt John Swift (James Barriscale), Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac).

Image Source: BBC WPC 56 Programme page

Series Three

Series three has now been confirmed as starting on Monday 9th March and BBC Birmingham PR have released this image of the team that will lead us through the next series of five episodes of life in and around Brinford. Some clues to the characters we’ll see, story lines and locations can be found elsewhere on this site.

WPC 56 Series Three Cast

WPC 56 Series Three Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Constable Arthur Coulson (John Bowler), Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac), Sgt John Swift (James Barriscale), DI Harry Sawyer (Oliver Rix), WPC Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie), Chief Inspector Walter Briggs (Mark Healy), PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons).

Image Source: BBC Birmingham PR Twitter.



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The David Hamilton Show – New Recording Date

The new Birmingham and Black Country TV channel, Big Centre TV, has announced the next dates for the recording of The David Hamilton Show in their Walsall studios.  The next shows are being filmed on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd February 2015 at The Goldmine Centre, 14a Lower Hall Lane, Walsall WS1 1RL. Doors open at 1pm, there are no tickets required and it’s free entry.

It’s another eclectic line-up of guests with a wealth of great stories to share about their long careers in entertainment so it should be another interesting set of shows. Confirmed guests for either of these forthcoming recordings include the following;

PJ Proby

The 76 year old American born singer and actor, who now resides in Evesham, Worcestershire, has been in the music business for over 50 years. PJ Proby notched up four UK top ten hits in the mid-1960s with songs such as Hold Me, Maria and Somewhere. He has toured with The Searchers, The Troggs and The Who and was friends with The Beatles, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley.

His career is, however, not short of controversy either. Following his infamous trouser splitting shows in 1965, he was banned by BBC TV and ABC Theatres. He filed for bankruptcy in 1968 having claimed to have spent his fortune on cars, jets, yachts, women and alcohol. In the early 1970s he spent three months in jail for an attempted shooting and in 1978 was fined for attacking his secretary with an axe. When his music career waned he supported himself on social security, emptying dustbins, sweeping up in Tescos, and mucking out stables and picking up the odd royalty cheque. Having suffered four heart attacks on 1992, he’s now put his heavy drinking days behind him and has recently been back on the road on the Sixties Gold tour with The Searchers and Gerry and The Pacemakers.

Jess Conrad OBE

The 79 year old actor and singer made his name on ‘Oh Boy’ before being signed to Decca records. He was voted England’s Most Popular Male Singer in 1961 in the NME poll and has toured with rock ‘n’ roll greats such as, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Billy Fury.

In the 1970s and 80s he made the transition from pop star to stage musicals and appeared in the shows Godspell and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He has appeared on a number of shows with comedian Jim Davidson and has also joined him on tour in Sinderella as well as appearing in many other regular pantomimes.

His extensive TV & Film career includes roles in Crossroads and Are You Being Served as well as a cameo in The Sex Pistols movie The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. He was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his charity work

Tony Christie

Born in South Yorkshire, 71 year old, Tony Christie is now a resident of Lichfield in Staffordshire.  His 1970s hits included I Did What I Did For Maria, Is This The Way To Amarillo and the theme from the ATV series The Protectors, Avenue and Alleyways.

While his UK hits were mainly confined to the early 1970s, he has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, with huge success in Germany and Europe.  In 1976 he lost out to The Brotherhood of Man in a bid to represent the UK in that year’s Eurovision Song Content, which they went on to win.

He returned to the charts in March 2005 with a re-release of ‘Amarillo’ which was selected as the Comic Relief single following it’s use in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights TV show. Peter Kay was credited on the track but didn’t sing on the release, he did however appear in the songs video. The song topped the UK charts for seven weeks, giving him the biggest hit of his career to date.

In 2011 Tony Christie celebrated 50 years in the music business with a special concert in his adopted hometown of Lichfield.

Jane Rossington

Derby born Jane Rossington, now aged 71, should need no introduction to people of a certain age, especially those from Birmingham. As the character Jill Richardson she famously spoke the opening lines “Crossroads Motel, good evening, Yes, we do, For which night?” and a new TV series was launched. She played the same troubled character for 24 years (albeit under different surnames of Chance and Harvey) which made her a household name and she not only opened the first episode but also spoke the very last words as Crossroads closed it’s doors in 1988.

She was the subject of the final Eamonn Andrews This Is Your Life filmed in 1987 in an episode codenamed Oak, a cloaked reference to the Crossroads series that made her name.

Jane Rossington has been the main patron of the Crossroads Appreciation Society since 1988.

Madeline Smith

65 year old Madeline Smith starred in three Hammer Horror movies in the 1970s with stars such as, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Ingrid Pitt, but also ventured into bawdy comedy with roles in the movies Up Pompeii, Up The Front and Carry On Matron.

Having had a role in the 1971 TV series The Persuaders, with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, she was recommended, by Moore, for a role in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die where she was, Miss Caruso, the Italian girl in the blue dress who had her zip undone by Bond’s magnetic watch. The following year saw her play Vicki in Cliff Richard’s musical movie Take Me High which was filmed and set in Birmingham.

She appeared in a large number of TV shows in 70s and 80s as well as having a successful stage career.

In the 1980s she featured in the Clive Doig (see next guest) and Jeremy Beadle created show Eureka! before disappearing from TV screens for nearly 15 years. She returned with a brief appearance in TV series Dark Knight in 2000 only to immediately take another extended TV break for a further 11 years. She last seen on our TV screens in a 2011 episode of the BBC Birmingham show Doctors.

Clive Doig

You may know the name but can’t quite place why or where from. Clive Doig began his BBC career working as a vision mixer on the William Hartnell era Doctor Who show in the sixties. He worked his way up through the BBC ranks and was behind shows such as Vision On, Jigsaw, We Are The Champions and Wizbit.

He worked on a number of different shows with the same presenters or actors, including Jeremy Beadle, Sylvester McCoy and Mark Speight. Clive was also behind some successful game shows, including Puzzle Trail, Lucky Numbers, Turnabout and Beat The Teacher.

Here is a BBC video explaining the art of vision mixing on You Tube

The Big Centre TV channel launches on 28th February 2015 on Freeview Channel 8.

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Big Centre TV – The David Hamilton Show

For those that don’t know, Big Centre TV is the new local channel for Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and the Black Country.  The channel launches, on Freeview Channel 8, 28th February 2015 (You can retune your Freeview TV from 2nd February) and is co-owned by former ATV and Central TV presenter Mike Prince and former teacher and Classic TV archivist Chris Perry.

On Saturday 31st January, I was one of the lucky few to witness the recording of The David Hamilton Show, one of their first studio recordings at their new Walsall base.

With the average age of the show guests and presenter calculated at 75 you might question my interest in the programme, but the line-up of the new chat show promised some great stories and there were a couple of musical guests that promised to liven up the proceedings, so I contacted a friend and we went along to see a little piece of local TV history being made.

Arriving at the Goldmine studios in good time, we waited in reception until we could find someone to tell us where we needed to go. Peeking through the studio doors we were treated to a keyboard playing Jona Lewie, knocking out a boogie-woogie style jam with the show’s houseband and it sounded great. The show host, ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton was easy to spot in his shocking blue jacket, plain black trousers and that ever familiar face that never seems to look any older, he must use a great moisturiser.

By the time we were shown into the fairly sparse studio by Chris Perry our audience numbers had doubled and the four of us took our seats, carefully laid out by Chris, this really was a well kept secret. Before filming commenced our quartet was almost doubled as another three people joined us and so in front of an audience of just seven the recording of the first show commenced.

I spent most of the first hour of the recording desperately trying to recall where I knew one of the cameramen from. I’m great with recognising familiar faces but hopeless at remembering where I know them from and even worse with matching the face to a name, so I was constantly distracted as I tried to place the face. Eventually, and after a quick scroll through my phone contacts I’d got it. It was Lee Bannister from the ATVLand in Colour team, who were extremely friendly and I was very grateful for the help they gave me when I was gathering information for my first TV Locations walking tour back in 2012.

We were told that the show would be playing some archive clips of the guests, but we unfortunately would not see the clips today, they would be cut into the footage for broadcast in March, so we had to use our imagination and applaud the clips after each one had been ‘played’.

Show One

As the tight houseband belted out the shows theme tune, David Hamilton, now wearing shocking blue trousers to match his jacket, strode confidently to centre stage and introduced the show, which was to be themed around Top of the Pops. After medley of TV themes, expertly played by the band, the first guest was introduced, the legend of TV pop shows and former radio DJ, now 89 years old, Pete Murray. Chatting openly about his days on Radio Luxembourg, Six-Five Special and of course Top of the Pops, Murray was an interesting guest with a fantastic memory for detail that defied his senior years. Being one of the first group of ‘Pops’ presenters, along with Alan Freeman, David Jacobs, and Jimmy Savile, it lead David to ask some expected questions about the later which Pete handled quite well, however it will be interesting to see which of his comments actually makes the final cut as the subject matter is an obviously difficult legal minefield. Murray was charming and still full of fun, jiving along in his seat to the music from the band and it was clear that he and Hamilton were dear friends, which made the interview a pleasure to witness.

Guests of the David Hamilton Show - Saturday 31st January 2015

The David Hamilton Show from Big Centre TV Left to Right: Pete Murray, Mike Morton, David Hamilton, Ed Stewart. Source: Mike L Morton – Kaleidoscope Facebook page

Next up was another former ‘Pops’ presenter and Radio DJ, Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart, who began by revealed the origin of his nickname by lifting his shirt and rolling his ‘Stewpot’ stomach. Fortunately, TV viewers are unlikely to witness this spectacle as a problem with microphones forced a retake of his show entrance and wisely Hamilton did not go down the same avenue of questioning a second time. Stewart spoke fondly of his memories of his radio show Junior Choice and the TV show Crackerjack (“Crackerjack” – was the muted reply from the seven strong studio audience, but reply we did). He even name-checked the short lived Ed and Zed TV show before speaking about Top of the Pops. Stewart’s brief part in the 1973 Lynsey De Paul hit Won’t Somebody Dance with Me was discussed as he fondly remembered the talented singer-songwriter who sadly died in October 2014.

The interview ended with Stewart revealing he keeps his wallet on a chain, which was prompted by Hamilton questioning if he’d ever paid for a drink in the bar. As Stewart pulled a crisp £20 from his wallet, claiming it had been there since Christmas, it was obvious that it was not just the houseband who were tight. This was another good humoured and interesting interview with the former colleagues exchanging jokes and sharing memories of their times together in radio and TV.

Unfortunately the planned musical guest for show one, Tina Charles, had been snowed in and was unable to travel to Walsall to record her slot on the show. This was a real shame as we were sure she’d have been singing her 1976 number one hit  I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance) as well as reducing the overall average age for the show by a couple of years to just 73.

Musical guests Jackie Trent and Jona Lewie

Jackie Trent & Jona Lewie at The David Hamilton Show recording on Saturday 31st January 2015. Source: Mike L Morton – Kaleidoscope Facebook page

The third guest had also recorded a number one hit single and performed it on Top of the Pops, when Where Are You Now (My Love) knocked the Beatles’ Ticket to Ride off the top of the chartsJackie Trent, one half of the hugely successful songwriting partnership with her husband Tony Hatch, was the final guest of the first show. During their prolific songwriting careers, Trent and Hatch were known as ‘Mr & Mrs Music’, and they wrote hits for some huge stars. Trent shared tales of meeting Elvis Presley, getting phone calls from Frank Sinatra and of course discussed some of the many hits they wrote for Petula Clark. Hamilton revealed that Trent has a busy year ahead with a musical based on her life opening in Stoke and her autobiography due to be published, both of which were discussed during their chat. I couldn’t help feel that Trent’s writing career had a lot more stories to share but the limited time allowed meant that we we left wanting more, but I guess it will be in the book if we want to know.

At the break between the shows the freezing January temperatures had chilled the huge studio space and my friend and I were treated to a much welcome cup of hot chocolate from two of our fellow audience members which just about warmed us up enough to stick around for show two.

Show Two

After a quick break and a change of suit, this time in pale blue, the ever cheery Hamilton was striding back into the studio to introduce another medley of TV themes from the house band, before continuing the Top of the Pops theme from show one with another couple of guests connected to the show.

The first guest was John Henshall, former ‘Pops’ cameraman and photographer. Henshall worked at the BBC for many years and worked on a variety of shows, including Top of the Pops. He’d come prepared with props and photographs to share with the TV audience (as well as the seven gathered in the studio) from his long career in television and video production. His main story revealed the facts around the ‘lost’ David Bowie performance of Jean Genie from 1973 which he had kept a copy of since recording the performance using one of his custom made fish-eye lenses. He also demonstrated one of his kaleidoscope lenses and shared some experiences of his foray into the work of the pop music video, working with artists such as Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Kate Bush, as well as many others. Being the only person I’d not seen on TV, having spent most of his career behind a camera, Henshall was a pleasantly interesting guest with some great anecdotes to share. It was a lengthy interview so I’m not sure how much will get broadcast, but I hope it gets some reasonable airtime as I found him fascinating to listen to.

As any lasting feeling finally ebbed out of my toes and fingers, Hamilton introduced the final guest for today’s recording, Jona Lewie. As you may recall, we’d seen Lewie sound checking earlier in the afternoon, when he was dressed in grey tracksuit trousers and a grey hooded top. We assumed that he would be off to make-up and wardrobe before his appearance on the show, but as he emerged from behind the curtain and strode confidently towards the chairs in the middle of the studio it was evident that this WAS his wardrobe for the day. It may have been an odd choice for many, but Lewie looked comfortable in his attire and, you know what, I was glad he wore it as it’s part of his eccentric character which makes him so likeable. He’s not conforming with the modern clean cut pop image, he’s his own man and a very talented musician to boot, so we should allow him his comfortable gear and hear what he has to say. What he does say is very interesting. He talks about his musical background and style and his biggest hit, and no it’s not the one you are thinking of right now. Back in 1972 he had a hit called Seaside Shuffle with a group called Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs, which reached number two in the charts (Stop the Cavalry only peaked at number three), so this was the initial discussion point, before Hamilton moved him onto the 1980 solo hits that his name is more often associated with. After another interesting discussion about a career in music it was time for Lewie to take to the keyboards for three songs, although unsure if all three will make the final cut as he was only scheduled to play two.

Jona Lewie performs with the David Hamilton Show house band.

Jona Lewie and the David Hamilton Show house band Source: Mike L Morton

We were treated to performances of the oddly named Rearranging The Deckchairs On The Titanic, a title which Lewie carefully explained the origins of, You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties, the song that is now known for being the tune of the recent IKEA advert and a final track introduced simply as Kaleidoscope Boogie. As the final note faded out I couldn’t help think I’d experienced something a little bit special. Not only was this a brilliant musical performance by Lewie, excellently backed by the house band, but the first two shows of this new local TV show were in the can, well possibly a digital memory card but you know what I mean.

This is an very exciting time for local TV and I wish this enthusiastic group of TV makers every bit of success as they venture into a new era of Birmingham TV production.  There are further recordings of the David Hamilton show in February and March so once I know the details I’ll share them here and hopefully they will have to break out just a few more rows of chairs for the next batch of recordings as it’s worthy of a much larger audience and extended  support.

The first show of the series will be broadcast at 8pm on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 on Freeview Channel 8, Big Centre TV.

All Photos copyright Mike L Morton, used with permission
The images displayed are directly from the Facebook source and no copies of them are hosted on this site, therefore I cannot guarantee their availability.

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