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Oh Boy! (1958-59)


Main image of Oh Boy! (1958-59)
ABC for ITV tx. 15/6/1958 - 30/5/1959
40 x 30 min editions, black & white
ProducerJack Good
DirectorRita Gillespie
ScriptsTrevor Peacock
Dance DirectionLeslie Cooper
Musical DirectionHarry Robinson

Presenters: Jimmy Henney, Tony Hall

Show full cast and credits

A host of pop and rock'n'roll acts - including Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury - perform before an enthusiastic audience.

Show full synopsis

Jack Good, producer of the BBC's 'teen' series Six-Five Special (1957-58), had tried to persuade the broadcaster to play down the show's sports and general interest content and focus more on music, rightly believing that this was what its audience wanted. The BBC's rejection of the proposal frustrated Good, who resigned at the start of 1958, taking his programme concept with him to ITV, where he met a warmer reception.

The resulting show, Oh Boy!, initially appeared as two trial broadcasts in the Midlands region, before getting a network slot early on Saturday evening. It quickly confirmed that Good was right - its speed and energy proved extremely popular with an audience that had experienced nothing quite like it before.

The chance to see as well as hear top British stars such as Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury was a major part of Oh Boy!'s success, and the fact that it was broadcast live added an extra energy to the proceedings. The programme also attracted some top US acts including The Inkspots, Conway Twitty and Brenda Lee, who helped up its cachet with an audience increasingly familiar with American music.

Jazz critic Tony Hall, who alternated as presenter with Jimmy Henney, told TV Times in 1958: "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."

Backing for the performances was provided by Lord Rockingham's XI - of which there were 13 members - a group put together specially for the show by Good and music arranger Harry Robinson, who named the band as a play on the words 'rocking 'em'. Before confirming the line-up of musicians, Robinson locked himself away in a seaside caravan with a pile of American records in an attempt to understand and replicate their sound. His efforts paid off; Lord Rockingham's XI sounded authentic and their muscular performances helped add to Oh Boy!'s appeal.

Anthony Clark

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Video Clips
1. Opening medley (3:11)
2. Cliff Richard - Turn Me Loose (1:16)
3. Cliff, Marty and Dickie - Three Cool Cats (1:49)
Billy Fury (1959)
Good, Jack (1930-)
Richard, Cliff (1940-)
Pop Music TV