Edward Woodward Double Whammy – Callan and The Equalizer repeats to air shortly on TPTV and Forces TV

Edward Woodward as Callan

Fans of Edward Woodward (or indeed anybody who enjoys good archive drama) have two reasons to celebrate – as Callan is set to air on Talking Pictures TV (Sky 328, Virgin 445, Freesat 306, Freeview 81)  from early next month and The Equalizer will be coming soon to Forces TV (Sky 181, Virgin 277, Freesat 165, Freeview 96).

Both channels have stealthily been increasing their rota of archive television over the last year or two.  TPTV has given the likes of Gideon’s Way and Public Eye their first rebroadcasts for decades, whilst Armchair Theatre is another item of interest newly added to their schedule.

Over at Forces TV, UFO, the Thames era Special Branch and Never The Twain have all caught my eye (the latter especially, as the DVDs are long OOP).  Indeed, my one wish for the future is that we see some deeper digging into the archives from all channels, so that series which are unavailable on DVD are given another airing ….

I’ve written extensively elsewhere on the blog about each surviving episode of Callan.  Short summary? It’s unmissable.  Woodward is perfect as the world-weary state-sponsored assassin with a conscience.  Friendless, apart from a social outcast called Lonely (Russell Hunter – who, like Woodward, essayed a career defining role) each week Callan has to negotiate his way through a series of moral dilemmas, which are punctuated with flashes of violence.

During the first two series (made in black and white and sadly incomplete in the archives) Callan reported to a rotating group of superiors all called Hunter (beginning with Ronald Radd). By series three, with the show now in colour, William Squire had assumed the role of Hunter (apart from a brief hiatus during the fourth and final series, when Callan found himself in the hotseat …)

There are very few disappointing stories from the four series run, although Amos Green Must Live is one which hasn’t aged well (its attempt to tackle racial politics looks rather crude today).  As for excellent episodes there’s an embarrassment of riches  – Let’s Kill Everybody, Death of a Hunter, Suddenly – At Home, Breakout, That’ll Be The Day, Call Me Enemy, etc, etc.

Although initially reported in some quarters as a remake of CallanThe Equalizer was a very different series – although it did have certain callbacks (given Woodward’s involvement, that possibly wasn’t surprising). Mind you, if David Callan found leaving the Section to be tricky, then Robert McCall strolled out of the Company in the first episode with nonchalant ease.

There’s something very appealing about watching the middle-aged Woodward (impeccably dressed and accented) walking through the mean and dirty New York streets dispensing summary justice as and when required.  Whilst a less tortured and questioning individual than David Callan, Robert McCall did have his spasms of self-doubt and it’s on those occasions that Woodward really stepped up to the mark.

It’s an obvious comment, but neither series would have had the same impact if Edward Woodward hadn’t been front and centre.  And whenever he was given a particularly meaty script, the sparks would fly.

Star-spotting is a good game to play when watching The Equalizer.  Already established names such as Jim Dale, Linda Thorson, Telly Savalas, Robert Mitchum and Adam Ant pop up (as does Meat Loaf in a brief cameo) whilst there’s early appearances from John Goodman, Christian Slater and Bradley Whitford amongst many others. There was also a strong family feel with Michele and Roy Dotrice appearing in different episodes (Roy Dotrice had a memorable turn in Trial by Ordeal – my personal favourite).

Kudos to Talking Pictures TV and Forces TV for taking the decision to air these, as they’ve been off British television screens for far too long.  It’d be lovely to think that both series could develop a new audience – this would also hopefully spark some people into investigating what other archive treats might also exist.  And there’s quite a few ….


25 Years of Rock – 1975 – 1979



Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

John Ehrlichman and Bob Halderman jailed. Interview with John Stonehouse

Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan

John Stonehouse and Sheila Buckley returned to Britain to face trial. Vietnamese war orphans arrive in Britain.

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Industry Secretary Eric Varley puts government funds into British Chrysler. Vietnam War ends. People airlifted out of Vietnam.

SOS – Abba

South Vietnam formally surrenders to the Viet Cong. Arthur Ashe wins men’s singles title at Wimbledon. Ilie Nastase gets disqualified

Come Up and See Me Make Me Smile – Cockney Rebel

Cricket pitch vandalised by “Free George Davis” campaigners

Young Americans – David Bowie

Patty Hearst’s kidnappers arrested. Symbionese Liberation Army take hostages in Greenwich Village. John Lennon allowed to reside in the USA

Pick Up the Pieces – the Average White Band

Evel Knievel injured while attempting to jump over fifteen buses

Autobahn – Kraftwerk

IRA bomb pub near Caterham Army Barracks. Interview with barmaid Kitty Stone. Ross McWhirter shot dead by IRA

One of These Nights – the Eagles

Balcombe Street Siege. Edward Heath sacked by Conservative Party. Margaret Thatcher becomes new leader.

Lady Marmalade – LaBelle

Sex Discrimination Act passed. Interview with feminist campaigner Ruth Lister.

Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette

Fleet Street wine bar challenges Sex Discrimination Act

Remember – the Bay City Rollers

Bay City Rollers concerts disrupted by hysterical fans. Interviews with fans.

Bay City Rollers Are the Best – Bay City Rollers fans

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley and the Wailers

Harold Wilson calls referendum on Britain’s membership of the Common Market. Interview with Anthony Wedgewood Benn. BBC News theme. Majority of British vote to remain in Common Market.

I’m Not in Love – 10cc

Assassination attempt on President Ford. Foreign Secretary Jim Callaghan flies to Uganda to prevent execution of British lecturer Denis Hills.

Dreamer – Supertramp

Apollo-Soyuz link-up. Laker Airways launch Skytrain

Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac

Newsbeat interview with Alex Hughes, aka Judge Dread

Big Six – Judge Dread

Magic Roundabout – Jasper Carrott

Funky Gibbon – the Goodies

Jive Talkin’ – the Bee Gees

Third Cod War begins

Sailing – Rod Stewart

Chris Drake reports from Lebanese Civil War

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Inflation in Britain

It was very clever the way that they used Bohemian Rhapsody to bookend this programme. Bohemian Rhapsody was really the climax of mid-seventies pop music.
This is the only programme in the series to feature the BBC New theme, when it was used for the referendum results. The biggest news story was the end of the Vietnam War. Other big news stories were the Apollo-Soyuz link-up, and Margaret Thatcher becoming Conservative Party leader.

There’s a good selection of records in this programme (although the Tammy Wynette song was recorded long before 1975, but it did get rereleased and got to number one that year). There are some innovative records, the Bee Gees brought disco music into the mainstream, Kraftwerk were pioneers of electronic music. David Bowie had a change of image and musical style. And of course it was the year of the Bay City Rollers. By the time this programme was repeated in 1981 No Woman No Cry had been in the charts again as a tribute to Bob Marley.

There was a trio of comedy records by Judge Dread, Jasper Carrot and the Goodies. Richard Skinner said it was going to be Radio 1’s only broadcast of Judge Dread’s Big Six, but it wasn’t because they repeated it on 25 Years of Rock.


So It Goes – Nick Lowe

Jimmy Carter runs for US president. Harold Wilson resigns as prime minister

If You Leave Me Now – Chicago

Jim Callaghan becomes prime minister. Denis Healey cancels visit to Hong Kong following country’s financial problems

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John and Kiki Dee

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden separate

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

Jeremy Thorpe resigns as Liberal Party leader following scandal. Interview with Norman Scott. David Steele becomes new Liberal leader.

Livin’ Thing – Electric Light Orchestra

John Curry wins gold medal for ice skating at Winter Olympics. Southampton win FA Cup James Hunt wins World Drivers’ Championship

Convoy – CW McCall

Palestinian terrorists hijack plane in Uganda. Chaim Herzog addresses United Nations. Interview with Idi Amin.

Blinded By the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

Margaret Thatcher responds to journalists who described her as “The Iron Lady”.

Tonight’s the Night – Rod Stewart

New Rose – the Damned

Government job creation scheme. Interview with unemployed young man.

You Should Be Dancing – the Bee Gees

Ian Smith says there will be no black majority rule in Rhodesia. Black protesters shot by police in Soweto, South Africa. Nigeria boycotts Olympics. Nadia Comaneci wins three gold medals for gymnastics

Dancing Queen – Abba

Bjorn Borg wins Wimbledon men’s singles. Government passes drought bill as Britain has driest summer since records began

Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder

Viking 2 lands on Mars. USA celebrates its bicentenary. Queen visits the USA.

Bicentennial – Loudon Wainwright III

Jimmy Carter on peanut farming

Why Not the Best? – Oscar Brand

Gerald Ford runs for re-election

Show Me the Way – Peter Frampton

Jimmy Carter elected US president. Chairman Mao Zedong dies

More Than a Feeling – Boston

Women in Belfast start Peace Movement

Night Moves – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Thirteen mercenaries tried in Luanda, Angola. Four of the mercenaries executed.

Love and Affection – Joan Armatrading

Howard Hughes dies. Interview with Ron Kessler.

Take It to the Limit – the Eagles

Richard Skinner interviews the Sex Pistols

Anarchy in the UK – the Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols swear on live television. Bill Grundy suspended. Bill Haley says punks are carrying things too far.

When this programme was first broadcast 1976 was the start of the current era. Margaret Thatcher was already Conservative Party leader, Jim Callaghan became Labour leader and prime minister, David Steele became the Liberal Party leader, and Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States. And it was the start of the punk explosion, the last truly original youth cult and the most outrageous, which paved the way for the then current rock scene.

So It Goes wasn’t a big hit at the time, but it was the first record on Nick Lowe’s own Stiff Records label which would play an important part in the punk/new wave scene.
Convoy was almost a forgotten record by 1980, and I don’t think Loudon Wainwright’s response to the American bicentenary celebrations had been heard much in the UK. But much of the music in this programme consists of ‘safe’ acts such as Abba, Chicago, the Eagles, Elton John and Kiki Dee.

Rather incongruously New Rose by the Damned appears somewhere in the middle of the programme, but it should have been the second to last record. The programme ends with Radio 1’s interview with the Sex Pistols and the third record that changed everything forever.


Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. Jimmy Carter visits Britain for G7 summit meeting

Rocking All Over the World – Status Quo

Delegates arrive at G7 summit meeting. Great Lakes blizzard

Hotel California – the Eagles

Gary Gilmore executed

Gary Gilmore’s Eyes – the Adverts

Interview with Johnny Rotten. Sex Pistols fired by EMI. Interviews with Sir John Reid and Malcolm McLaren.

EMI – the Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols fired by A&M

God Save the Queen – the Sex Pistols

John Peel defends God Save the Queen. Queen celebrates Silver Jubilee

Fanfare For the Common Man – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Queen’s Jubilee walkabout

Heroes – David Bowie

Manchester United beat Liverpool in FA Cup Final. Liverpool win European Cup.

Night Fever – the Bee Gees

IRA bomb goes off in London disco. Black Muslim extremists take hostages as protest against film The Message

Short People – Randy Newman

Skateboarding craze

Road Runner – Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

Jimmy Carter urges Americans to cut down on fuel

2-4-6-8 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band

National Front march in London causes riot

White Riot – the Clash

Black people complain about police racism. Two senior police officers found guilty of accepting bribes from pornography dealers

Watching the Detectives – Elvis Costello

South African students arrested at protest over the death of Steve Biko. Interview with Alex Haley, author of Roots

Float On – the Floaters

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

Virginia Wade wins ladies’ singles title at Wimbledon

Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs

Victor the giraffe dies

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina – Julie Covington

Marc Bolan dies in car crash. Members of Lynard Skynard killed in plane crash. Elvis Presley dies

Way Down – Elvis Presley

Funeral of Elvis Presley

Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll – Ian Dury and the Blockheads

EEC butter mountains. British Leyland workers calls for Day of Action

Get a Grip on Yourself – the Stranglers

Jim Callaghan and David Steele form Lib-Lab Pact. Firemen’s strike

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – Devo

President Anwar Sadat of Egypt visits Israel. Tony Greig stripped of captaincy of England Cricket team. Interview with Tony Greig. Geoff Boycott scores one-hundredth century. Interview with Geoff Boycott.

Pretty Vacant – the Sex Pistols

Scotland win British Home Championship. Football hooligans invade pitch.

Mull of Kintyre – Wings

The programme begins with Fleetwood Mac and ends with Wings, so punk didn’t change everything. There is punk from the Clash, the Stranglers and the Adverts. (Surprisingly there are no interviews with punks, as they did with teddy boys, mods and rockers in the fifties and sixties programmes.) There was already new wave music coming out of the punk scene, with Ian Dury and Elvis Costello, and there are some rarities like Jonathan Richman’s Road Runner and Devo’s version of I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Disco music was also popular.

But once again the highpoint of the programme is the Sex Pistols. God Save the Queen was banned by the BBC in 1977, but three years later it was included on 25 Years of Rock.
God Save the Queen leads neatly into the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, when everyone looked back at the fifties, sixties and seventies. When Jimmy Carter became president of the USA it was as much a breath of fresh air as President Kennedy’s presidency sixteen years earlier. 1977 was also the year of the skateboarding craze.

The news stories in these programmes aren’t played in chronological order. For example Elvis Presley (who I don’t think had even been mentioned since the 1961 programme) died in August 1977, Marc Bolan died in September, and the Lynard Skynard plane crash was in October, but in the radio programme they left Elvis Presley’s death until last because it was the biggest news story.


Rat Trap – the Boomtown Rats

Clip from Star Wars

Theme from Star Wars – John Williams

Star Wars premieres in Britain

War of the Worlds – Jeff Wayne (narrated by Richard Burton)

The neutron bomb

I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass – Nick Lowe

Leon Spinks beats Muhammed Ali in world heavyweight championship. Interview with Muhammed Ali.

Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits

Religious cult led by Rev Jim Jones commits mass suicide. California holds referendum on Proposition 13. Speech by Howard Jarvis.

Le Freak – Chic

California makes tax cuts after Proposition 13 goes through. Vox pops on quangos

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden get divorced. Roddy Llewellyn makes a record.

Jilted John – Jilted John

If the Kids Are United – Sham 69

Nottingham Forrest win Football League. Argentina win World Cup. Willie Johnston sent home from World Cup, and banned from playing for Scotland after failing drug test. Michael Parkinson interviews Geoff Boycott. Steve Ovett wins gold medal at European Championships

You’re the One That I Want – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

Interview with Olivia Newton-John

Roxanne – the Police

Oil tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground in France. Vietnamese boat people arrive in Britain

I Don’t Want to Go to Chelsea – Elvis Costello

Jimmy Carter arranges for Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin to sign Camp David Accords

Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

Ambassador Andrew Young tells French newspaper that American jails have political prisoners.

Follow You Follow Me – Genesis

Muhammed Ali regains heavyweight title. Times newspaper strike

Miss You – the Rolling Stones

Pope Paul VI dies. Pope John Paul I elected.

By the Rivers of Babylon – Boney M

Pope John Paul I dies. Pope John Paul II elected.

Forever Young – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan plays in London. Interviews with Bob Dylan and fans. Eric Idle in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash

I Must Be In Love – the Rutles

Jim Callaghan announces he will not be calling an early election. Interviews with Margaret Thatcher and Denis Healey.

Denis – Blondie

Debbie Harry announces Radio 1’s new wavelength

Radio Radio – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello announces Radio 1’s new wavelength. Newsbeat review of the year

Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush

Interview with Kate Bush. Interview with Sid Vicious. Sid Vicious charged with the murder of Nancy Spungen. Newsbeat interviews Father Abraham

The Smurf Song – Father Abraham and the Smurfs

Do You Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart

Jeremy Thorpe charged with conspiracy to murder Norman Scott

YMCA – the Village People

Ian Smith makes Internal Settlement with African nationalist leaders Demonstrations against the Shah of Iran

Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf

It’s 1978 and punk’s not dead. Some punk groups, such as Sham 69, made their breakthrough after the main punk explosion. The programme begins with Rat Trap by the Boomtown Rats, but it should have been the last record as the first new wave record to get to number one actually topped the charts towards the end of the year. Other new wave acts who made their breakthrough in 1978 included Blondie and the Police.

As well as obvious classic pops songs like Wuthering Heights (which should have been the first record played) and Baker Street, there are some ephemeral records by Jilted John, the Rutles and the Smurfs.

One of the most memorable events of 1978 was the murder of the Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, but surprisingly that wasn’t included in the programme. Neither was the death of Keith Moon.

1978 is remembered as the year that we had three popes. We hear the news report about the election of Pope John Paul I, and then after the next record we hear the news of his death. This was also the year of the Camp David Agreement. And three years after the end of the Vietnam War the repercussions were still being felt.


Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury and the Blockheads

Winter of Discontent: Britain hit by industrial action

Brass in Pocket – the Pretenders

Jim Callaghan calls general election after vote of no confidence. Margaret Thatcher becomes prime minister

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Shah of Iran deposed. Ayatollah Khomeini takes over Iran.

Dance Away – Roxy Music

Dancin’ Fool – Frank Zappa

Interview with Frank Zappa

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

Radiation leak at Three Mile Island nuclear generating station. Interviews with residents.

The Logical Song – Supertramp

Lord Mountbatten murdered by IRA. Airey Neave murdered by INLA. Sid Vicious dies. Interview with Steve Jones and Paul Cook.

My Way – Sid Vicious

Anthony Blunt exposed as member of spy ring. Interview with Anthony Blunt. Jimmy Carter signs Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty

Pop Muzik – M

Pope John Paul II visits Poland, Ireland and USA.

Rapper’s Delight – the Sugarhill Gang

Ambassador Andrew Young resigns after meeting with PLO

We Don’t Talk Anymore – Cliff Richard

Interview with Cliff Richard

Video Killed the Radio Star – Buggles

Skylab returns to Earth

I Don’t Like Mondays – the Boomtown Rats

DC-10 crashes at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago. Federal Aviation Authority cancels all DC-10 flights.

Message in a Bottle – the Police

Interview with the Police

Walking on the Moon – the Police

Interview with Trevor Francis. Nottingham Forrest win European Cup. Interview with Brian Clough.

Lucky Number – Lene Lovich

Chas Smash Introduces… One Step Beyond – Madness

Teacher Blair Peach dies after National Front clash with Anti-Nazi League in Southall.

Eton Rifles – the Jam

Abel Muzorewa elected prime minister of Rhodesia. Jimmy Carter intend to stand for re-election

Gangsters – the Specials

Eleven fans killed at Who concert in Cincinnati, Ohio

Are Friends Electric? – Tubeway Army

Jeremy Thorpe found not guilty

Heart of Glass – Blondie

Interview with Debbie Harry. Police receive message from man claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper

My Sharona – the Knack

Iranian students hold staff at American Embassy as hostages Soviet Union Invade Afghanistan

Ayatollah – Steve Dahl

Ayatollah Khomeini bans western pop music

Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd

Various quotes from the past twenty-five years

Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley and the Comets

(The selection of quotes and the reprise of Rock Around the Clock were omitted from the 1985 repeat.)

When this programme was first broadcast this was the music and events from last year.

It was the year that the new wave finally got into the mainstream, and most of the records featured are records which got into the upper reaches of the charts and are still well remembered.

Somewhat incongruously the second record played, Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders, was a number one hit early in 1980. (If the series had been made later Brass in Pocket would probably have been included in the 1980 programme.) Two-tone music was big in 1980, and this programme includes early hits by Madness and the Specials. So the last episode of 25 Years of Rock really was up to date with the current pop scene.

This the last programme in the series to feature cinema newsreel clips, British Movietone News stopped making them in 1979.

There are two stories that stand out. Firstly there’s the tape from a man claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper. When Peter Sutcliffe was caught it turned out that the message was a hoax. And the other story is Anthony Blunt being exposed as a spy. In the first programme there was a clip of Kim Philby denying that he was part of the same spy ring, so the first programme had a news story from twenty-five years ago and the last programme had a related story from last year.

In 1955 American and Russian scientists were planning the first space satellite, in 1979 Skylab returned to Earth. In 1955 there were nuclear tests in Nevada, in 1979 there was a nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. In 1955 Eisenhower met Krushchev at a summit in Geneva, in 1979 Carter and Brezhnev signed a treaty in Vienna. In 1955 Juan Peron was ousted, in 1979 the Shah of Iran was ousted. In 1955 Winston Churchill resigned, in 1979 Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

Two of the last stories in the programme were the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The latter led to the United States boycotting the 1980 Olympics which took place while 25 Years of Rock was being broadcast, and both event played against Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.

The programme plays out with Another Brick in the Wall (album version) and a creaky recording of Rock Around the Clock.

25 Years of Rock still stands up very well. My only criticism is the various records and events which were omitted, but then they did only have an hour to include what they did.

The series proved popular enough for Radio 1 to give it a repeat run in 1981, but then the programme was dated in as much as it now only went up to two years ago. However there was an updated version of the series a few years later ….
winter of discontent.jpg

25 Years of Rock – 1970 – 1974



After the Gold Rush – Neil Young

Apollo 13 expedition abandoned

All Right Now – Free

Chicago Seven tried for inciting riots

Ball of Confusion – the Temptations

President Nixon send troops into Cambodia. Four students at Kent State
University, Ohio shot dead by national guard

Ohio – Neil Young

Interview with father of dead student

Fire and Rain – James Taylor

Nigerian Civil War ends

Dead Parrot Sketch – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Black Night – Deep Purple

Storms and flooding in Belfast. Bernadette Devlin on trouble in Northern

Let It Be – the Beatles

Apple deny reports that Paul McCartney has left the Beatles. Beatles film Let It Be released. Paul McCartney releases solo album.

Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney

Germany beat England in World Cup quarter final Tony Jacklin wins US Open golf

I Want You Back – the Jackson Five

Harold Wilson calls general election. Voting age lowered to eighteen. Interview with first time voter. Edward Heath becomes prime minister, and forms new cabinet.

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell

Isle of Wight Pop Festival. Interviews with attendees, and Caroline Coon from
Release. Anti-drug message from Mark Farner of Grand Railroad Funk.

In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry Rag

Mama Rag – the Band

Government introduces industrial relations bill. Interviews with Robert Carr and Vic Feather.

Question – the Moody Blues

Jimi Hendrix dies

Voodoo Chile – Jimi Hendrix

Janis Joplin dies. Palestinian guerrillas hijack aeroplanes

Ride a White Swan – T Rex

President Nasser of Egypt dies

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

Aleksandr Soltzenitsyn wins Nobel Prize for Literature

The beginning of the first half of the thirty part series.

It’s interesting to hear the 1970s editions of Twenty-five Years of Rock now. At the time the music of the early to mid seventies was too old to be up to date, but not old enough to be nostalgia, and with the later seventies
editions some records and events included in the programmes would be now long forgotten, while other records and events would be conspicuous by their absence.

1970 was the tail end of hippy era. A lot of the music is folk rockby people like Neil Young, Jon Mitchell, James Taylor and the Band, or heavy rock by Free and Deep Purple. It was the year that the Beatles split, and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died (although they didn’t play any of her music in the series).

It was also the start of the seventies. If the 1960 programme gave little indication of the type of music that was coming in the next decade, the 1970 programme features two influential new acts. T Rex had one of the first
glam rock hits, and there’s the Jackson Five, featuring Michael Jackson who was still a big star long after the seventies.

Britain got a new Conservative government, and the programme includes a newsreel clip of Edward Heath’s new cabinet, which included Margaret Thatcher.

But Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch was definitely first broadcast in 1969. Surprisingly there’s no mention of the death of General De Gaulle, or the skinhead craze.


Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Edward Heath applies for Britain to join the Common Market.

Imagine – John Lennon

Beatles’ split official. Interview with John Lennon.

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

Earthquake in California

Your Song – Elton John

Postal workers strike. Britain changes to decimal currency Mick Jagger marries Bianca de Macias

Brown Sugar – the Rolling Stones

England win the Ashes. D B Cooper robs plane over Seattle. Arsenal win FA Cup and
Champions League Cup

Hot Love – T Rex

Rolls Royce gets into financial difficulty

Get It On – T Rex

Princess Anne presents Society of Film and Television Arts Awards. Clip from Dad’s Army. Anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Washington erupts into violence

Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes

Jim Morrison dies in Paris

Riders on the Storm – the Doors

Edward Heath on trouble in Northern Ireland. Pub bombed in Belfast. Minister of Home Affairs announces internment order.

It’s Too Late – Carole King

Homes bombed in Derry. Civilians attack British troops.

Won’t Get Fooled Again – the Who

Black Panther George Jackson shot dead while escaping from prison

Yours Is No Disgrace – Yes

Attica State Prison riot

Black Magic Woman – Santana

Oz editors charged with obscenity and jailed. Richard Neville, Felix Denis and Jim Anderson interviewed.

Hors D’Oeuvres – Sid Phillips Band

Women’s Liberation Movement in Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner.

Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke

Hot pants. Clockwork Orange released. Festival of Light rally in Trafalgar Square

Get Down and Get With It – Slade

Voting age in the USA lowered to 18. School leaving age to be raised to 16. Interview with education secretary Margaret Thatcher

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh following civil war

Bangla Desh – George Harrison

Milton Obote of Uganda ousted in military coup led by General Idi Amin. President Nixon announces he will visit China in 1972

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

The Beatles’ solo careers started. The Oz magazine trial was another sign that the sixties were over. The Rolling Stones started their own label, and Rod Stewart and Elton John made their breakthrough. The glam rock movement was taking off with Marc Bolan having more hits, and Slade joining the glam scene. The American
rock scene was getting more mellow.

Britain was entering another new era with the changeover to decimal currency, parliament voting for Britain to join the Common Market, and the rise of the feminist. But the troubles in Northern Ireland, and the anti-war protests and racial tensions in America got worse.


All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople

Students’ Union protest in London

School’s Out– Alice Cooper

Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhoff arrested. Miners’ strike leading to energy crisis in

Heart of Gold –Neil Young

Miners return to work

Vital Transformation – John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra

Trident crashes in Staines, Middlesex. Japanese terrorists, recruited by PLO, shoot passengers at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv

Without You – Harry Nilsson

British soldiers shoot 28 unarmed civilians in Derry. Interview with Father Edward Daly, and other witnesses.

Lady Eleanor –Lindisfarne

IRA bomb parachute regiment headquarters. Edward Heath announces plans to solve troubles in Northern Ireland.

Big Eyed Beans From Venus – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band

Silver Machine – Hawkwind

Racial tension in Alabama. Governor George Wallace shot.

Do It Again – Steely Dan

Gravelly Interchange, aka Spaghetti Junction, opens

Spam – Monty Python

Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull

Karin Janz, Olga Korbut, Mark Spitz win medals at Munich Olympics

Goodbye to Love – the Carpenters

Palestinian terrorists murder Israeli athletes at Olympic village

American Pie – Don McLean

One million people unemployed in Britain. Interview with Anthony Barber over “floating the pound”.

Money Programme sketch – Monty Python

I Saw the Light – Todd Rundgren

George Best suspended by Manchester United

Mama Weer All Crazee Now – Slade

Bobby Fischer interviewed after beating Boris Spassky in World Chess Championship

Ziggy Stardust – DavidBowie

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

George McGovern runs for president. Break-in at Democrat Party’s Watergate office. President Nixon re-elected.

Merry Xmas War Is Over – John Lennon

Vietnam War statistics. Last American infantry unit leaves Vietnam. Henry Kissinger negotiates end for Vietnam War.

Virginia Plain – Roxy Music (The original broadcast also included Rock n Roll by Gary Glitter.)

The 1971 programme ended with President Nixon announcing he would visit China in 1972, but we don’t hear about his visit in the 1972 programme. He did manage to get re-elected that year, but news came out about the Watergate break-in that would lead to his downfall.

1972 also saw the start of the industrial unrest in Britain that would lead to Edward Heath’s downfall. Bloody Sunday should have been included in the introduction in the first programme as the troubles in Northern Ireland was one of the main news stories of the seventies. The 1972 Olympics are remembered for the wrong
Three years after his Space Oddity David Bowie re-emerged as one of the leading lights of the glam rock era. As well as his own hits he wrote a song for Mott the Hoople. Roxy Music followed to Bowie style, while glam rockers like Gary Glitter and Slade drew on old style rock n roll. The biggest glam rock star from America was Alice Cooper.


Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan

Nixon states that he is not a crook. Britain joins Common Market. Interview with Edward Heath. President Nixon’s inauguration. Six men charged over Watergate break-

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

USA ends its involvement in Vietnam War. Train drivers’ strike

Part of the Union – the Strawbs

Edward Heath announces wages squeeze

Money – Pink Floyd

Red Rum wins Grand National

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Bob Halderman and John Ehrlichman resign over Watergate. Sam Ervin presides over Watergate hearing. Interview with John Dean.

Stuck in the Middle With You – Stealers Wheel

Nixon denies involvement in Watergate break-in. Watkins Glen Rock Festival

Jessica – the Allman Brothers Band

Interview with organiser Jim Koplik, and festival attendees

Ramblin’ Man – the Allman Brothers Band

Northern Ireland referendum. IRA bombings in London. Tu-144 crashes at Paris Air Show

Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy

Clashes between Protestant extremists and British army in Northern Ireland. Uri Geller demonstrates fork bending

Papa Was a Rolling Stone – the Temptations

Sioux Indians take hostages and demand rights for Red Indians. Academy Awards.
Marlon Brando refuses Oscar for The Godfather.

Long Train Runnin’ – the Doobie Brothers

Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan

Gerald Ford becomes Vice President

Hocus Pocus –Focus

Blockbuster – the Sweet

Princess Anne marries Captain Mark Phillips

Get Down – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Nixon interviewed over Watergate scandal

Desperado – the Eagles

Cod War between UK and Iceland. Marjorie Wallace, Miss USA, is crowned Miss World. Fashions news, including coloured hair

Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed

Yom Kippur War

Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield

Fuel shortages in USAand Europe. Edward Heath meets Arab oil ministers. Nixon asks Americans to cut down on fuel for heating.

Angie – the Rolling Stones

Edward Heath announces three day week

Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade

Radio 1 review of the year. Interviews with Emperor Rosko and David Hamilton.

Let Me In – the Osmonds

Eclipse – Pink Floyd

“It’s 1973, and a very happy New Year to everyone.”

Britain joined the Common Market on New Year’s Day, but the story that dominates this programme is the Watergate scandal. America finally got out of the Vietnam War, but more wars started in the Middle East, leading to a fule crisis in the USA and Europe, and more industrial unrest in Britain.

In Britain 1973 is also remembered for the royal wedding. There are some memorable records from Stevie Wonder, Thin Lizzy, and Lou Reed, but You’re So Vain was
definitely a hit in 1972. There’s not as much glam rock in this programme as you might expect. Glam rock group reached its peak in 1973, but then glam was overshadowed by punk for a long time.

Country rock was big. The Watkins Glen Rock Festival was, at the time, the biggest rock festival ever held, but it’s less well remembered than Woodstock. The programme ends with an extract from Radio 1’s review of the year. It mentions that 1973 was the year that
Radio 1’s Newsbeat started, and Newsbeat was still going strong in the early eighties.

Since this programme was made Jessica became the theme tune to Top Gear, and Stuck in the Middle With You has become synonymous with Reservoir Dogs.


You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Britain suffers from fuel crisis and industrial disputes. South Eastern Gas Board recommends couples share baths. Interview with Joseph Kinsey.

Rebel Rebel – David Bowie

Edward Heath calls general election. Speeches by Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and Jeremy Thorpe.

Election Night Special – Monty Python

Waterloo – Abba

Richard Skinner presents election edition of Newsbeat. Harold Wilson becomes
prime minister

I Can Help – Billy Swan

Three day week ends. IRA bomb in Tower of London. Martial arts craze

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Rugby match disrupted by streaker. Marcus Lipton MP urges Home Secretary to deal firmly with streakers.

The Streak – Ray Stevens

President Nixon visits Leonid Brezhnev for peace talks Aleksandr Soltzenitsyn
expelled from Soviet Union

This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both of Us – Sparks

Patty Hearst kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army.

Killer Queen – Queen

Message from Patty Hearst. Interview with Randolph Apperson Hearst. The Exorcist banned by several councils after boy dies after watching the film.

Remember You’re a Womble – the Wombles

Sugar shortage ends

I Shot the Sheriff – Eric Clapton

Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham bombed by IRA. DC-10 crashes in Paris

Cajun Moon – J J Cale

President Nixon on Watergate investigations. Impeachment process against President Nixon

How Long – Ace

President Nixon resigns

The Show Must Go On – Leo Sayer

Gerald Ford becomes president and pardons Richard Nixon

Gonna Make You a Star – David Essex

Muhammad Ali regains world heavyweight title. Court Line goes bankrupt, leaving British holidaymakers stranded

Y Viva Espana –Sylvia

Package Holiday sketch – Monty Python

The Joker – the Steve Miller Band

Lord Lucan disappears. Harold Wilson calls second election. Labour wins again.

The Wall Street Shuffle – 10cc

Pound falls to its lowest ever level. Vox pops on what people want to see in 1975

Down Down – Status Quo

Can’t Get Enough – Bad Company

John Stonehouse disappears, and later is found and arrested in Australia

Band on the Run – Wings

1974 is remembered as the year the President Nixon resigned. In Britain it was the year that we had two general elections. But the Monty Python sketches were definitely earlier than 1974.

Another news story here is the IRA pub bombing in Birmingham. As with the pub bombing in Guildford the same year, it transpired over a decade later that the people who went to prison for this crime were innocent.

This is the first programme in the series to feature a song from the Eurovision Song Contest. Queen also had their first hit. There are several records in this programme based on the crazes of the year such as kung fu, streaking and the Wombles, the last of these being one of the most successful novelty acts. The programme plays out with Wings’ Band on the Run, one of the first concept singles.


Les Misérables (BBC, 1967) – Simply Media DVD Review

There have been countless film, stage and televison adaptations of Victor Hugo’s epic 1862 novel (indeed, a lavish BBC1 adaption has just finished its run on Sunday nights). This 1967 BBC Classic Serial might have been mounted on a fairly modest scale, but where it scores – as these serials so often did – is in the quality of the actors, their performances and the fidelity of the adaption to its source material.

Frank Finlay is mesmerising as Jean Valjean. A former convict, Valjean has forged a successful new existence as a pillar of society – a mayor and magistrate – but remains haunted by his past experiences.

It’s such a shame that the original film inserts are long gone, as the opening episode has some remarkable film work (courtesy of director Alan Bridges).  The somewhat grubby telerecordings are obviously preferable to nothing (a fate which has sadly befallen so many 1960’s television programmes) but to have seen these impressionistic sequences in a pristine state would have been fascinating.

Frank Finlay

At first, Finlay is barely recognisable (the haunted Valjean when released from fifteen years hard labour is a bedraggled and violent soul)  but by the second episode he’s undergone a remarkable transformation into a cultured man who dispenses charity and understanding to all.

Anthony Bate, as Inspector Javert, is a fine match for Finlay. Javert is the direct opposite of Valjean (Valjean dispenses compassion, Javert cold justice). This sort of role – icy, detached – was one that Bate played time and again, so as you might expect he’s incredibly good value. The clashes between the two are a key part of the story (initially uneasy allies, in the fourth episode Valjean admits his true identity in open court and flees, with Javert dogging his footsteps thereafter).

Excellent performances abound. Michele Dotrice, for example, as the increasingly wretched Fantine. A rapid downward spiral sees her forced to sell everything she has – hair, teeth – in order to provide for her daughter.  Dotrice throws herself wholeheartedly into the role and makes an indelible impression across these early episodes.

Michele Dotrice

Clifford Rose’s monologue in episode four – Buried Treasure – is another early highlight (he plays Champmathieu, a man accused of being the notorious Jean Valjean). It’s a role far removed from the later ones for which he’s best remembered for (Callan, Secret Army).

Coincidence tends to play a part in many novels from the nineteenth century and Les Mis is no exception. Having been unable to save Fantine, Valjean (now an outcast once more) just happens to run into Cosette (Lesley Roach), Fantine’s young daughter.

Left in the cruel care of an innkeeper called Thenardier and his wife (splendidly evil turns from Alan Rowe and Judy Parfitt), Cosette becomes the latest waif to be taken under Valjean’s wing. Finlay’s cool self-control as Valjean faces down the grasping Thenardier is expertly played. Yet another coincidence sees them run into each other years later, when it appears that Thenardier has gained the upper hand.

At the start of episode seven, Cosette has suddenly grown up into a beautiful young woman (like Fantine, played by Michele Dotrice). It seems odd that Valjean seems not to have aged compared to his adopted daughter, but this isn’t uncommon in serials of this type.

The last batch of episodes relocates the action to Paris and introduces some key new characters – like Marius (Vivian MacKerral) – as various plots and counter-plots come to fruition. Revolutionary Paris might only be glimpsed in snatches, but this isn’t a disappointment. On the contrary, the serial’s low budget ensures that character drama remains at the forefront right until the conclusion.

As previously discussed, the picture quality is somewhat variable. It looks pretty much like you’d expect an unrestored telerecording from the late 1960’s to look – there’s intermittent film damage, dirt and tramlining. But anybody familiar with archive television of this era should know what to expect and the occasional picture issues didn’t impair my enjoyment.

Running for ten 25 minute episodes (five each across two discs), this version of Les Misérables boasts a series of excellent performances and comes warmly recommended.

Les Misérables is available now from Simply Media. It has a RRP of £24.99 and can be ordered directly here (quoting ARCHIVE10 will apply a 10% discount).

The Two Ronnies – Sid & Lily, George and Edie


Trawling through the British Newspaper Archive on a separate research project, I stumbled across this interesting article from the Daily Mirror, dated the 29th of October 1979.

It reported how the death of Freddie Usher (who wrote the Lily & Edie segments of these joint sketches) might mean the characters wouldn’t be seen again  (John Sullivan was responsible for writing the Sid & George parts).

Whenever I watch these sketches I’m always conscious of the fact that I enjoy the segments with Sid & George much more than Lily & Edie’s contribution.  I’d previously thought that this was down to the fact that the Rons in drag never quite convinced (at least outside of their barnstorming musical numbers).

Certainly compared to the masters of the genre during the seventies – Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough – the Rons never seemed totally at ease during the Lily & Edie sketches, with the laughs (such as they were) being somewhat muted.

But this new nugget of information about the different writers could explain the disparity between the two halves.

I’d love to have a complete breakdown of the writing credits for The Two Ronnies but (unless anybody knows differently) there’s not one in circulation. A fair few sketches can be credited (most of Ronnie Barker’s contributions for example and various others, such as David Renwick’s Mastermind) but a fair few are less certain.  Even identifying which sketches were penned by the Pythons isn’t clear cut.

Moving back to Sid & Lily, George and Edie, it’s interesting that their slot in series seven (broadcast between December 1978 and February 1979) is right in the middle of the programme, exactly where – in previous series – the film serial would have been.  Since inflation was biting and budgets were being cut, I can only assume that this year the Rons weren’t able to afford the type of lavish serial they’d previously enjoyed.

So this cheap studio sketch had to suffice (the running time of each episode tended to be about five minutes shorter than previous years as well).

A last point – if there’s one thing that’s always irked me, it’s the fact that the doubles of Barker and Corbett (seen in the opening titles) look nothing like them.  The double of Barker is somewhat on the thin side whilst the faux Corbett seems a little tall.  Never mind, one day I’m sure I’ll get over it ….

25 Years of Rock – 1965 – 1969

viet prot.jpg


Vietnam War

Eve of Destruction – Barry McGuire

Lyndon Johnson announces decisions to bomb North Vietnam, and to raise the draft call.

Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation – Tom Paxton

Ways to avoid the draft

My Generation – the Who

US Marines fire on Viet Cong. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Sir Winston Churchill dies. Richard Dimbleby provides commentary for Churchill’s funeral. Richard Dimbleby dies.

Catch the Wind – Donovan

Martin Luther King leads civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling – the Righteous Brothers.

Riots in Los Angeles, Watts District

We Gotta Get Out of This Place – the Animals

Help! – the Beatles

Beatles perform at Shea Stadium. Paul McCartney introduces…

Ticket to Ride – the Beatles

Interview with the Beatles

I’m Down – the Beatles

Beatles interviewed after receiving MBEs. Objection to Beatles reciving MBES.

I Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher

Diana Rigg joins The Avengers. PJ Proby ordered off tour after trouser ripping incident. The mini skirt

I’m Alive – the Hollies

Ronnie Biggs escapes from prison

Subterranean Home Sick Blues – Bob Dylan

President Johnson’s State of the Union address

The Last Time – the Rolling Stones

Edward Heath elected leader of the Conservative Party

Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan

Interview with Mick Jagger

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – the Rolling Stones

North Sea oil rig Sea Gem. Northeast power cut affects parts of USA and Canada

Go Now – the Moody Blues

Conservatives win Leyton by-election. Rhodesia declares UDI

For Your Love – the Yardbirds

Ed White makes the first walk in space. Gemini 7 and Gemini 6A make first rendezvous in space

Mr Tambourine Man – the Byrds

Anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Washington. Robert McNamara predicts increase in American military efforts. Vietnamese villagers rendered homeless.

Yesterday – the Beatles

Beatles’ Christmas Record

The main new story in this edition is the Vietnam War. In Britain 1965 is remembered as the year that Winston Churchill died.

Pop music was becoming more sophisticated. The Beatles’ music was becoming more sophisticated (although I don’t think it was a good idea to have another programme ending with a Beatles’ Christmas record). The Rolling Stones were writing their own songs, and the Who made their breakthrough. Surprisingly James Brown, the pioneer of soul music, wasn’t included. There was already a hippy sound coming into pop music, and in America the folk-protest music scene lead by Bob Dylan was really taking off, but then there was a lot to protest about.


The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

England wins the World Cup. Kenneth Wolstenholme’s commentary.

England Swings – Roger Miller

Carnaby Street fashions

Dedicated Follower of Fashion – the Kinks

Radio London jingle. Vitalis shampoo commercial. Radio Caroline marooned. Radio Caroline jingle.

Wild Thing – the Trogs

Edward Short, postmaster general, presents white paper outlawing pirate radio, but allowing local radio stations

Paint It Black – the Rolling Stones

Over five hundred billion dollars spent on Vietnam War. Bombing in Vietnam continues. Interview with President Johnson.

The Ballad of the Green Berets – Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler

Charles Whitman shot dead by police after shooting spree at University of Texas

Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

Eight students murdered in Chicago. Hendrik Verwoerd stabbed to death. Indira Ghandi elected prime minister of India. Mao Zedong’ Cultural Revolution

For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

John Lennon gets into trouble after saying the Beatles are more popular than Jesus

Eleanor Rigby – the Beatles

Calls for sanctions against Rhodesia. Speech by Ian Smith.

Summer in the City – the Lovin’ Spoonful

The Man From UNCLE – Montenegro

David McCallum visits Britain before making film in Italy

River Deep Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner

Muhammad Ali refuses to join US army on religious grounds

Reach Out I’ll Be There – the Four Tops

You Keep Me Hangin’ On – the Supremes

Safari park opened at Longleat. Chi Chi the panda sent to Moscow Zoo to be mated with An An

Good Vibrations – the Beach Boys

Interview with juvenile delinquents

California Dreamin’ – the Mamas and the Papas

Ronald Reagan becomes governor of California. Lurleen Wallace succeeds her husband as governor of Alabama. Edward Brooke becomes first black senator. Labour wins general election

Taxman – the Beatles

Harold Wilson opens new Cavern Club in Liverpool

Rainy Women – Bob Dylan Doctor

Timothy Leery appeals against sentence for drug offences

Eight Miles High – the Byrds

Timothy Leery describes LSD experience

Tomorrow Never Knows – the Beatles

Psychedelic craze

1966 was a transitional year. The Beatles stopped touring. This is the fifth consecutive edition of Twenty-five Years of Rock to end with the Beatles, but the song is nothing like anything they recorded before. The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys joined the psychedelic bandwagon, as did new acts like Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield.

1966 was the year that the phrases ‘Swinging Sixties’ and ‘Swinging London’ were coined, and it was an optimistic time for Britain with Britain leading the worlds of pop music and fashion, England winning the World Cup. The programme even includes a couple of animal stories.

The US mid-term election results included the former actor Ronal Reagan (surname pronounced incorrectly in the new report) being voted governor of California. A few months after this programme was broadcast he was elected president of the United States.


Magical Mystery Tour – the Beatles

Last Train the Clarksville – the Monkees

The Monkees perform in Britain

Theme from The Monkees – the Monkees

Interview with Davy Jones

I’m a Believer – the Monkees

Israel fights Arab nations in Six Day War

A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum

Race riots in Detroit

Light My Fire – the Doors

Anti-Vietnam War protests

Al Capone – Prince Buster

Che Guevara killed in Bolivia. SS Torrey Canyon runs aground and creates massive oil spillage

Waterloo Sunset – the Kinks

Hi Ho Silver Lining – Jeff Beck

Interview with American visitors to Carnaby Street. Interview with Twiggy.

Let’s Spend the Night Together – the Rolling Stones

Interview with Mick Jagger after controversy over lyrics of Let’s Spend the Night Together. Mick Jagger and Keith Richard avoid being jailed for drug offences.

We Love You – the Rolling Stones

British Medical Journal warns of dangers of taking LSD. Flower people have love-in at Woburn Park. Interview with Duke of Bedford.

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

Ed Stewart appeals to listeners to save Radio London

Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

Radio London Jingle. Radio London closes down.

We Shall Overcome – Pete Seeger

Johnnie Walker on Radio Caroline. Radio One is launched

Radio One is Wonderful – Kenny Everett

Beefeaters – Johnny Dankworth

Tony Blackburn introduces…

Flowers in the Rain – the Move

Radio One – Jimi Hendrix

Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix

Till Death Us Do Part

See Emily Play – Pink Floyd

Interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Brian Epstein dies. Interview with the Beatles.

Within You and Without You – the Beatles

Third phase of LSD

Cliff Richard says Paul McCartney was wrong to admit to taking LSD, and will be giving up show business career for the church.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – the Beatles

Harold Wilson announces devaluation of the pound. Coronation of the Shah of Iran. Steve Race goes behind the scenes on Beatles’ latest record…

All You Need is Love – the Beatles

Doctor Christian Barnard carries out first heart transplant. Canada celebrates centenary, and hosts Expo ’67. Charles De Gaulle supports Quebec separatists.

Itchycoo Park – the Small Faces

Beatles open Apple Boutique. The Fool play at the opening party.

White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

This was the middle episode of the original twenty-five part series.

Rather incongruously the programme begins with Magical Mystery Tour which was the Beatles’ Christmas special. It was a mixed year for the Beatles, they made their most celebrated album, and their most famous tv appearance, but they lost their manager.

There are a lot of anthems here from the hippy/psychedelic era by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Scott McKenzie, the Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Jefferson Airplane and others. Jimi Hendrix should have featured in the introduction in the first programme.

Al Capone was probably included because it was the inspiration for the Specials’ then recent hit Gangster.

1967 was the year that Radio 1 started, and the programme includes the station’s opening moments. In 1987, to mark Radio 1’s twentieth anniversary, this edition only was repeated under the title The Year in Rock.


Lazy Sunday – the Small Faces

Government cuts. Harold Wilson endorses “I’m Backing Britain” campaign.

Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

US sends warships to North Korea following capture of USS Pueblo. Viet Cong launch Tet Offinsive

Dance to the Music – Sly and the Family Stone

Student demonstrations in Paris

Revolution – the Beatles

Anti-Vietnam War protest in London turns into riot outside American Embassy. Student unrest in Berlin following assassination attempt on student leader Rudi Dutschke

Fire – the Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Malcolm Muggeridge resigns as rector of Edinburgh University over students taking drugs

Jumpin’ Jack Flash – the Rolling Stones

Brian Jones fined for possession of cannabis resin. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful bailed for drugs charges. Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy run for Democratic presidential candidate. Lyndon Johnson announces he will not stand for re-election.

All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

Martin Luther King assassinated

We’re Going Wrong – Cream

Bobby Kennedy assassinated. Edward Kennedy speaks at his brother’s funeral.

Hey Jude – the Beatles

Demonstrations outside Democratic convention. Hubert Humphrey becomes Democratic presidential candidate.

Fire Brigade – the Move

Sabre Dance – Love Sculpture

Soviet troops invade Czechoslovakia

Alabatross – Fleetwood Mac

Protests against government’s immigration policy. Enoch Powell makes “Rivers of Blood” speech.

On the Road Again – Canned Heat

Ian Paisley speaks out against nationalist march in Derry.

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Men of the Year Lunch. Melody Maker Readers Pop Poll Awards

This Wheel’s on Fire – Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity

Richard Nixon becomes Republican candidate, with Spiro Agnew as his running mate. Nixon elected president.

With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

Jackie Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis

Everlasting Love – Love Affair

Apollo 8, the first manned orbit of the Moon

Nights in White Satin – the Moody Blues

Vietnam peace talks in Paris become deadlocked

In 1968 the hippy movement went from love-ins to protests. It was a violent year with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the continuing Vietnam War, protests against the Vietnam War, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the start of the troubles in Northern Ireland. The best news of the year was the first manned orbit of the Moon, another stage closer to getting men on the Moon.

The music in this programme is almost the start of the early seventies rock and pop scene. The main charts were moving from rock to pop, the Rolling Stones had jumped on the psychedelic bandwagon but quickly returned to their rhythm and blues style, Sly and the Family Stone were making funk music, and Cream and Can were the roots of prog rock. It also marked the start of a new era in American politics.


Something in the Air – Thunderclap Newman

President Nixon on first Moon landing. London School of Economics closes after students break down protective gates. London Street Commune in Piccadilly, interviews with squatters. Ronald Reagan imposes curfew at University of Berkley

Street Fighting Man – the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones give free concert in Hyde Park and pay tribute to Brian Jones

Honky Tonk Woman – the Rolling Stones

Prince Charles invested as Prince of Wales

Je t’Amie Moi No Plus – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

Charles de Gaulle resigns. Bernadette Devlin becomes Britain’s youngest ever MP. British Troops sent into Northern Ireland

Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival

Concorde’s maiden flight. Boeing launches 747.

Get Back – the Beatles

Paul McCartney marries Linda Eastman. John Lennon marries Yoko Ono and stages bed-in for peace

The Ballad of John and Yoko – the Beatles

Interview with John Lennon

Give Peace a Chance – Plastic Ono Band

Reports of atrocities in South Vietnam. Second Lieutenant William Calley court martialled following My Lai Massacre.

Also Sprach Zarapthrustra – Richard Strauss

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become first men on the Moon

Space Oddity – David Bowie

President Nixon speaks to Apollo 11 astronauts

Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix

Country Joe McDonald addresses audience at Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Interviews with attendees at Woodstock.

Soul Sacrifice – Santana

Country Joe McDonald introduces…

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die – Country Joe and the Fish

Nixon announces plan to withdraw American troops from Vietnam

I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Rolling Stones fan stabbed to death at concert in Altamont, California

Sympathy For the Devil – the Rolling Stones

Charles Manson and five followers charged with the murder of Sharon Tate

Hare Krishna Mantra – Radha Krishna Temple

Pinball Wizard – the Who

The Who perform their rock opera Tommy. Edward Kennedy interviewed after Chappaquiddick incident

Oh Well – Fleetwood Mac

Melody Maker Readers’ Awards

Living in the Past – Jethro Tull

Benjamin Spock addresses largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Washington

A Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

Something in the Air sets this programme up very nicely for the last year of the sixties (and the end of the first half of the thirty part series). It was a bad year for the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones died and the Altamont concert ended in tragedy. The Who broke new ground with the first rock opera, and Oh Well by Fleetwood Mac was the theme tune to Twenty-five Years of Rock. But the biggest pop music event of 1969 was Woodstock, and we hear performances by Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Country Joe McDonald and the Fish.

If the 1960 programme gave little indication of the type of music that was coming in the next decade, the 1969 programme features two influential new acts. The programme plays out with Led Zeppelin who were a major influence on some of the rock bands of the early seventies, and there’s David Bowie who would be a major influence in the seventies and beyond.

Space Oddity ties in with the biggest news event of the year, the first Moon landing. Oddly the series doesn’t include any of the other Moon landings apart from the failed attempt in 1970. Meanwhile back on Earth President Nixon pledged to end the United Sates’ involvement in Vietnam, but it would be a slow process.

25 Years of Rock – 1960 – 1964



Cathy’s Clown – the Everly Brothers

Sergeant Elvis Presley leaves the army and starts a career as a film actor.

Interview with Elvis Presley.

It’s Now or Never – Elvis Presley

Cassius Clay wins gold medal at Rome Olympics. Commentary by Eamonn Andrews.

Tell Laura I Love Her – Ricky Valance

Eddie Cochran killed in a car crash. Gene Vincent injured.

Three Steps to Heaven – Eddie Cochran

Francis Powers captured by Soviets after U2 crash lands in USSR

Apache – the Shadows

Francis Powers sentenced to ten years in prison

Only the Lonely – Roy Orbison

Queen and Prince Philip attend Royal Variety Performance

Walk Don’t Run – the Ventures

Italian suits and college boy haircuts

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini

Stay – Maurice Williams

Sharpville massacre. Hendrik Verwoerd survives assassination attempt. Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change Speech”.

Chain Gang – Sam Cooke

Britain’s first Traffic wardens

Sweet Nothin’s – Brenda Lee

Investigations into payola scandal. Lady Chatterley’s Lover published

Poetry in Motion – Johnny Tillotson

Pioneer 5 and Discoverer 11 launched. USS George Washington fires first Polaris missile

Shakin’ All Over – Johnny Kidd and the Pirates

Nikita Kruschev makes speech on 66th birthday. Kruschev hits desk with his shoe at United Nations session. Guiseppe Bianco, aka Brother Emin, predicts end of the world

Please Don’t Tease – Cliff Richard

Birth pill becomes available in USA. Caryl Chessman executed.

Good Timin’ – Jimmy Jones

Princess Margaret marries Anthony Armstrong-Jones. Beatnik wedding in Soho

You’re Sixteen – Johnny Burnette

Two planes collide at Idelwild Airport, Brooklyn

Save the Last Dance For Me – the Drifters

Floyd Paterson regains work heavyweight title

Hit and Miss – John Barry

John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon run for US president. Kennedy wins election.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – the Shirelles

In 1960 people were still listening to Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the Everley Brothers, Eddie Cochran who died in 1960, and Elvis Presley who was changing direction musically after coming out of the army. There were some good new acts, such as Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and the Shirelles, but they were mostly following in the style of the older acts.

1960 was the start of a new era in American politics. Funnily enough three of the news stories, Kruschev’s birthday speech, the Discoverer 11, and the death of Eddie Cochran, happened during Easter. I liked the way that they contrasted Princess Margaret’s wedding with the beatnik wedding. Was that Cliff Michelmore looking at young people’s fashions?

But there was no excuse to include to include Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini.


President Kennedy’s inaugural speech

Runaway – Del Shannon

President Kennedy’s inauguration

The Twist – Chubby Checker

New dance craze called the twist. Teddy boys, modernists, beatniks, ravers and squares

FBI – the Shadows

Tottenham Hotspur win League Challenge Cup and FA Cup. Danny Blanchflower thanks the supporters.

Mary Lou – Ricky Nelson

Yuri Gagarin becomes first man in space

Blue Moon – the Marcels

President Kennedy pledges to get men on the Moon. Virgil Grissom becomes second American in space. Freedom Riders protest against segregation on buses. South Africa leaves the British Commonwealth

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – the Tokens

Chuck Berry convicted

Runaround Sue – Dion

Teenage girl interviewed about going out with boys

Don’t Treat Me Like a Child – Helen Shapiro

Helen Shapiro voted best female singer in New Musical Express poll. Barricade erected in Berlin

Wild Wind – John Leyton

US sends troops into Vietnam

President Kennedy on nuclear fallout shelters

Civil Defence – Beyond the Fringe

Beyond the Fringe tour America

Take Good Care of My Baby – Bobby Vee

Rudolph Nureyev requests political asylum

Stranger on the Shore – Acker Bilk

Interviews with jazz fans

Take Five – the Dave Bruebeck Quartet

Bertrand Russell sentenced to prison after anti-nuclear demonstration. Ban the Bomb demonstration in Trafalgar Square.

Hit the Road Jack – Ray Charles

Polaris submarines stationed in Britain. Dag Hammarskjold killed in plane crash

Ebony Eyes – the Everly Brothers

United States supports bid to overthrow Fidel Castro. President Kennedy on Bay of Pigs incident.

Who Put the Bomp? – Barry Mann

Tony Hancock in The Blood Donor

Calendar Girl – Neil Sedaka

Berlin Wall goes up

Wooden Heart – Elvis Presley

Variety Club luncheon. Cliff Richard returns from tour of Australia and attends premiere of his latest film

The Young Ones – Cliff Richard and the Shadows

Speech by President Kennedy

There are some memorable records in this programme from Del Shannon, the Marcels and the Tokens. (I was surprised that Stand By Me wasn’t played, but then it became more famous later when it was used in a film of the same name and a pretentious jeans advert.)

As Cliff Richard pointed out in an interview in the next programme, the music scene had moved from rock n roll to pop, although some young people preferred to listen to the rock n roll records from a few years earlier, and others preferred jazz. And of course Chubby Checker popularised the twist.

This is one of the few programmes in the series to begin with spoken words rather than music. Outside the world of pop music the sixties were starting to take shape as John F Kennedy was sworn in as the new United States President, the USSR and the USA sent their first men into space (although oddly they played a clip of Virgil Grissom’s space flight rather than the first American space flight by Alan Shepard), and the Beyond the Fringe team kicked off the satire boom.

On a less happy note the Berlin Wall went up and the United States sent their first troops into Vietnam.


Talkin’ New York – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan emerges from New York folk scene. Princess Margaret attends Cliff Richard concert.

The Young Ones – Cliff Richard

Interview with Cliff Richard

Wonderful Land – the Shadows

John Glenn makes first manned orbit of the Earth

Let’s Twist Again – Chubby Checker

Twist marathon in Harlow, Essex

Twistin’ the Night Away – Sam Cooke

Twist banned in dance halls. Interview with Mary Quant

Come Outside – Mike Sarne

Andy Warhol paints pop art

James Bond Theme – John Barry Orchestra

William John Vassall imprisoned for spying. Francis Powers released in exchange for Vilyam Fisher. President Kennedy attends Atlas missile launch. Nuclear shelters made in Britain

It Might As Well Rain Until September – Carole King

Marilyn Monroe dies

A Picture of You – Joe Brown

Communications satellite Telstar launched

Telstar – the Tornados

Vice President Johnson speaks to Frederick Kappel via Telstar

The Locomotion – Little Eva

Black student tries to enrol at all-white Oxford College, Mississippi

Oxford Town – Bob Dylan

He’s a Rebel – the Crystals

Plymouth mail robbery. Thalidomide tragedy

Twist and Shout – the Isley Brothers

Liberal Party win Orpington by-election. Communists demonstration in Paris against French government policy on Algeria. Escape tunnels dug under Berlin Wall

West of the Wall – Toni Fisher

Cuban missile crisis

Booker T and the MGs – Green Onions

Cuban Missile Crisis continues

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Bertrand Russell sends messages to Kennedy and Kruschev. Kennedy calls for end to missile crisis

Talkin’ World War III Blues – Bob Dylan

Atomic Survival Instructions

Nut Rocker – B Bumble and the Stingers

Kruschev calls for withdrawal of missiles in Cuba. Richard Nixon loses bid the become governor of California

Crying in the Rain – the Everly Brothers

The Beatles perform in Hamburg

Twist and Shout – the Beatles

EMI signs up the Beatles

Love Me Do – the Beatles

A lot of people regard 1962 as the real beginning of the 1960s. Andy Warhol and Mary Quant made their breakthrough into the worlds of art and fashion, the James Bond films started, and there were two ground-breaking pop acts, starting off with Bob Dylan.

The biggest news story was the Cuban Missile Crisis, but then it was the year of the Cold War, with missile tests, people preparing for nuclear war, spy scandals, and the Berlin Wall. When former Vice President Richard Nixon lost a bid the become governor of California some people thought his political career was over. How wrong they were.

The twist became even more popular. Someone said the most famous twist record was Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker, the best twist record was Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke, and the most influential twist record was Twist and Shout by the Isley Brothers. The last of these was covered by a group called the Beatles, and the programme ends with the second record that changed everything forever.


Please Please Me – the Beatles

Britain has one of its coldest winters

Surfin’ USA – the Beach Boys

Cassius Clay versus Henry Cooper

Come On – the Rolling Stones

Peace treaty between USA, Britain and USSR signed in Moscow. Speech by President Kennedy.

Fingertips – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder and Murray the K plug Big Holiday Show at Brooklyn Fox Theatre. WMCA radio jingle. South Coast Broadcasting Company campaign for independent radio. Saturday Club is one of BBC’s most popular radio shows.

He’s So Fine – the Chiffons

Medgar Evers assassinated. Martin Luther King prays for Evers.

Only a Pawn in Their Game – Bob Dylan

Interview with white supremacist. Civil Rights march in Washington. Martin Luther King has a dream.

We Shall Overcome – Pete Seeger

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers

I Like It – Gerry and the Pacemakers

That Was the Week that Was – Millicent Martin

David Frost on Britain’s remaining colonies

Surf City – Jan and Dean

John Profumo resigns after affair with Christine Keeler

Do You Want to Know a Secret – Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas

Harold Wilson on becoming leader of the Labour Party

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

Doctor Beeching announces closure of British stations and railway lines. Harold Macmillan resigns and appoints Alec Douglas-Home as successor. Interview with new prime minister.

Wipeout – the Sufaris

Da Doo Ron Ron – the Crystals

Great train robbery. Cleopatra premieres in New York

Big Girls Don’t Cry – the Four Seasons

Lord Stansgate renounces his peerage and becomes Anthony Wedgewood Benn. Vietnamese Buddhist priest burns himself to death President Kennedy visits West Berlin

From Me to You – the Beatles

Interview with Beatles fans. Interview with the Beatles.

She Loves You – the Beatles

President Kennedy assassinated

Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan

Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural speech. Lee Harvey Oswald shot dead by Jack Ruby

Be My Baby – the Ronettes

Record companies sign Liverpool groups following success of the Beatles

Please Please Me – the Beatle

Beatles wigs. Interview with Beatles fans. Beatles’ Christmas record.

I Want to Hold Your Hand – the Beatles

Two names dominate this programme, the Beatles and President Kennedy.

Apart from the Kennedy assassination, one of the biggest news stories of 1963 was the rise of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.” speech. In Britain 1963 is remembered for the Profumo affair, which along with Harold Macmillan’s controversial decision to appoint Alec Douglas-Home as his successor led to the Conservative part losing the following year’s election.

The Radio Times article on Twenty-five Years of Rock mentioned that Pope John XXIII died in 1963, yet this new story didn’t appear in the programme.

Following the success of the Beatles other Liverpool groups such as Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas had hits. From America there was folk music, a proliferation of female vocal groups, and the surf sound, although we only hear a tiny bit of Wipe Out. But the programme ends with an extract from the Beatles’ first fan club Christmas record.


I Get Around – the Beach Boys

I Want to Hold Your Hand – the Beatles

The Beatles tour America. Interview with the Beatles.

Can’t Buy Me Love – the Beatles

Beatles dominate US pop charts. Breathalyser test. Rolling Stones play in Hull

Not Fade Away – the Rolling Stones

Great train robbers sentenced. Charles Wilson escapes.

You Really Got Me – the Kinks

Carnaby Street fashions

All Day and All of the Night – the Kinks

Needles and Pins – the Searchers

BBC2 launched. Dennis Tuohy introduces belated opening night. Shindig! starts on ABC tv.

Where Did Our Love Go? – the Supremes

Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton. Mods and rockers clash on British beaches. Interview with mods.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street.

Interview with rockers.

Leader of the Pack – the Shangri-Las

Radio panel discussion on mods and rockers. Pirate station Radio Caroline goes on air, including Simon Dee programme.

As Tears Go By – Marianne Faithful

Tony Blackburn on Radio Caroline

Bits and Pieces – the Dave Clark Five

Tokyo Melody – Helmut Zacharias

Ann Packer wins gold medal at Tokyo Olympics

A Hard Day’s Night – the Beatles

Interview with John Lennon after writing his first book. Cassius Clay become world heavyweight champion. Cassius Clay recites poem. Cassius Clay converts to Islam and changes his name to Muhammad Ali. Sportswriters’ dinner and awards.

It’s All Over Now – the Rolling Stones

Labour win general election. Harold Wilson becomes prime minister. Nikita Kruschev deposed

House of the Rising Sun – the Animals

President Johnson denies that USA is planning an attack on North Vietnam. Barry Goldwater opposes US intervention in Vietnam

The Times They Are a Changing – Bob Dylan

Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson run for president. Johnson re-elected. Robert and Edward Kennedy elected to the Senate.

5-4-3-2-1 – Manfred Mann

Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Manfred Mann

Harold Wilson supports the Beatles

I Feel Fine – the Beatles

Ringo Starr has his tonsils out

Eight Days a Week – the Beatles

The Beatles went from strength to strength, with a successful tour of America and their first film. In the interview with John Lennon he says that he doesn’t care if he’s remembered or not after he’s gone, and that was more poignant when the programme was repeated the year after his death.

There was a proliferation of British groups known as the British Invasion. A lot of groups such as the Searchers and the Dave Clark Five were very Beatles influenced, but one group who were distinctly different were the Rolling Stones, although in 1964 they were mainly a cover versions band. Britain in 1964 saw the rise of pirate radio and the mods and rockers. They mention the launch of the American pop show Shindig!, but not the launch of the longest running pop show Top of the Pops.

One of the main news stories was Labour winning the general election, and most of the social reforms in Britain in the sixties happened under Harold Wilson’s government.