Rock & Pop On British TV by Jeff Evans review

A tune with a view

Cover art for Rock & Pop On British TV by Jeff Evans

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It’s a mighty long way from party frocked Alma Cogan (“the girl with a giggle in her voice”) on 1950s variety shows to Shaun Ryder’s expletive-riddled cover of Pretty Vacant on TFI Friday, and this book does a bang-up job of covering all bases.

The trial and error of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ early music shows on TV meant that even memorable pacesetters Six-Five Special and Oh Boy! lasted only a couple of years, but author Jeff Evans examines how television has been wary of pop’s creeping influence from the very start. Top Of The Pops and Ready Steady Go! heralded a full-on revolution, although ‘yoof’ music continued to meet with resistance from the high-ups.

Evans’s research and free flowing writing style takes the reader on a thrilling journey, celebrating a rich parade of iconic broadcasts, while picking over the internal politics that frequently threatened to scupper the whole business.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.