Friday, 27 May 2011

Ready Steady Go! The Weekend Starts Here!

Ready Steady Go! The week-end starts here! This catch phrase was familiar to all the 60’s Mods. The early 60’s was a cultural dry grey desert as far as the youth of the day was concerned. The BBC ruled the radio and TV waves, and the programmes they served were as dull as boiled cabbage. And then as if in a mirage appeared RSG!  It was the brain child of Elkan Allan, head of Rediffusion TV. The programme was a hit from the word go, it related to the youth movement of the time as no other media product did.
The show was first aired from the Rediffusion London studios based in Kingsway, close to the west end with its clubs and theatres. The show’s first host was a familiar face of the time Keith Fordyce. The producers were not happy with Fordyce’s BBC style of presenting; it did not fit with the audience they were attracting, so an advert was run for "a typical teenager" as advisor; from the many that answered one girl stood out Cathy McGowan. Initially working in the background Cathy soon found her self, first co-hosting the show, and then shortly after, its main presenter! Cathy’s shy unrehearsed way of speaking to the stars, and audience alike soon made her a popular figure on the Mod scene; we felt she was one of us, of course the press, who love to title people, were soon calling her ‘The Queen of the Mods’.

It was many a Mod’s dream to be part of the audience, and each Friday afternoon there would be a large crowd of youngsters at the studio doors, trying their best to get in. The audience though, for the major part, were chosen from ‘auditions’ held in Wembley. If your face and style fitted the ‘casting’ producer’s mood, you were in.  I appeared a few times on the show. I was very lucky to have some good mates, Trevor Johnson, Derek Malcolm, and Junior Booth, who were regulars on the show; they were on first name basis with most of the shows production team, including Cathy McGowan, so they got me in-easily!  The shame of it all is that most of the tapes of the show have been wiped clean or destroyed, ( a disastrous habit of past media companies, for many other shows, such as TOTP, have suffered the same fate), but Dave Clark, of The Dave Clark Five fame, managed to salvage and buy  the last remaining lots. But I can’t for the life of me find a scene with me in it! This does not mean I don’t have tales to tell- they will be following in future posts, so stay tuned in!

The above clip is of the 'Stones' and Cathy miming Sony and Cher's 'I got you babe', the man in the fur 'parka', is Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones's manager at the time.
The show, with its fashion and music related gossip, was a major force in spreading Mod culture through out Britain, and dare I say the World. The show ‘died’ just as fast as it had been born, and going out on a high always tends to create a legend.

If you have enjoyed this post, please be so kind and  press my Face Book like button on the top right hand side of this page. Thank you. Warmest wishes, Alex Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Very cool article! Give us more stories from the Mod days. Looking forward to read the next episode. Thanks.