Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1961-1966)

Thank your luck stars (TYLS) was commercial television’s answer to 'Juke Box Jury,' and screened in the same Saturday slot. It was made by ABC Television, and broadcast on ITV starting in 1961. Phillip Jones was the first producer and had previously made music programs for Granada and Tyne Tees. He was also the Program Controller for Radio Luxembourg before TYLS, and wanted to develop the teenage music program format. The show’s original presenter was Keith Fordyce who later moved on to front 'Ready Steady Go,' thereafter other DJ's appeared with varying degrees of regularity. Amongst these were, Jimmy Saville, Pete Murray, Alan Dell, Sam Costa, Barry Alldis, Kent Walton, Jimmy Young and Don Moss.

To match Juke Box Jury, the producers introduced 'Spin a Disc,' with Don Moss in the David Jacobs' role. Trendy teenagers were chosen to make up the panel of three and comment on the latest releases. They would mark these out of five. When 16-year-old, Janice Nicholls from Wednesbury, Staffs appeared (along with her beehive Mabel Simpson hairdo) she endeared herself so much to the audience with her broad Black Country accent she was given a permanent slot. Her comment "Oi'll give it foive" became a national catchphrase.

Brian Matthew (1928-2017) remains the DJ most associated with the program and during his residency at TYLS, had the best UK and US acts of the time.

Most acts did one song but occasionally some were allowed to sing both sides of their latest release. The Beatles and the Stones were so popular they were able to perform four numbers.

Another show which brought peak viewers (6 million) was a Mersey Sound special which featured The Searchers, Lee Curtis, The Big Three, Kenneth Cope and the Breakaways, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Vernon Girls and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

The programs were all pre-recorded in front of a live audience with most of the acts miming to their latest hits. This met with much criticism from the Musicians' Union who lobbied long and hard to keep music live. Once the popularity of Beat Groups ebbed the program lost its high viewing figures and was eventually taken of air in 1966. TYLS had two theme tunes; the first was Peter Knight & The Nightriders 'Lucky Stars.'

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