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Introduction

 Musical Director: Harry Robinson
Dance Director: Leslie Cooper
Scripts: Trevor Peacock
Director: Rita Gillespie
Producer: Jack Good
An ABC Network Production
Broadcast by Associated TeleVision
on Channel 9

 

A fabulous unseen-for-over-40-years shot from the balcony of Cliff giving his all and making the girls scream with delight! The 'Oh Boy!' UK Television show first appeared as two trial broadcasts in the various ATV regions during June 1958, details are at the foot of this page.

The following September the show went nationwide and was televised each Saturday evening, live from the Hackney Empire, in direct competition to the BBC's '6.5 Special' show. Within the first 6 weeks, the show became a smash hit and the number of viewers doubled.

Many top British performers who went on to achieve international fame made their early TV appearances on the show. Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Shirley Bassey, John Barry, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury are some examples.

The cast listings read like a who's who of UK 'Hit Paraders' of the time and were household names - The Dallas Boys; Ronnie Carroll; The Vernons Girls; Emile Ford; The King Brothers; Lonnie Donegan; Vince Eager; Dickie Valentine and Alma Cogan.

The show was even blessed with appearances by non British acts: The Inkspots; Conway Twitty and Brenda Lee from the USA and the Marino Marini Quartet from Italy all appearing to promote their latest recordings.

[Right: A fabulous unseen-for-over-40-years shot from the balcony of Cliff giving his all and making the girls scream with delight!]

Jimmy Henney and Tony Hall took it in turns each week to compere the show.
 

[TONY HALL (on left) & JIMMY HENNEY (on right)]

In an interview for TV Times in 1958, Jimmy Henney explained how he came to be a compere for the show:

"I'd known Jack Good as a telephone voice for years, but I'd never actually met him. One day he came over to my house and, during our conversation, he asked: 'Why don't you do some TV?' I replied that if someone liked to ask me I'd be only too happy. Jack said he'd try and do something about that, and when this show came up he gave me a camera test." He added "I'd never done a show like this, and was a bit worried. But it was so exciting that I couldn't have felt happier once it started."

'Oh Boy!' was Tony Hall's TV debut. He was a jazz critic and in contrast to serious jazz enthusiasts deploring the vulgarities of rock'n'roll, Tony raved about it. In the same TV Times article, he also explained how he came to be a compere for a rock'n'roll TV show: "I saw the two trial shows and thought they were the most exciting things I've ever seen on television.

The lighting, the camera work was great, and I thought the music was swinging more than most of TV's attempts to present jazz. I applied for an audition and of course, I'm delighted to get this chance on television and extremely happy to be associated with Oh Boy! I only hope I will be able to match the pace."

One factor which made Tony so enthusiastic about the show was that many of the musicians on the programme were, on other occasions, leading exponents of British Jazz!

From TV Times, 5th September 1958 edition. (One week before the nationwide debut of 'Oh Boy!')

[Right: A wonderful early picture of Marty Wilde taken during a live 1958 broadcast of “Oh Boy!” An ebullient Jack Good can be seen in the wings, clapping to the beat of Marty’s song. The atmospheric stage lighting captures the balcony of the Empire Theatre, Hackney, where 200 lively teenagers who made up the audience each week were seated. Note also the TV set and monitoring equipment to the left of the stage, possibly recording the show for future posterity?]

The Pilot Shows:

Sunday 15th June 1958: 10:35 – 11:05 pm
The Dallas Boys, The John Barry Seven, Lord Rockingham's XI, Ronnie Carroll, Bertrice Reading, Marty Wilde, Cherry Wainer, Red Price, Neville Taylor and the Cutters, Dudley Heslop, Kerry Martin, The Vernons Girls

Sunday 29th June 1958: 10:50 – 11:20 pm
The Dallas Boys, The John Barry Seven, Jackie Dennis, Lord Rockingham's XI, Bertice Reading, Marty Wilde, Cherry Wainer, Red Price, Neville Taylor and the Cutters, The Vernons Girls.

 

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1 comment

  • REPLAY Lester Beck Lester Beck
    Saturday, 03 June 2017 19:48

    Sir, I have just recently stumbled on to this site as the previous one was closed down, I`d just like to say from what I have seen here, it is great!, a wealth of information about the series here. I am also pleased that a new show has been discovered. Can I ask, when will it be officially released?, apart from that keep up the good work!

    Regards

    Lester Beck

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