Rock & Pop On British TV by Jeff Evans review

A tune with a view

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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.