Saturday 29 January 1966, 5.15-5.45pm
Panel: Spencer Davis, Maurice Kinn, Marion Ryan, Sara Leighton
Teenage casting vote panellist: David Rose
Producer: Travers Thorneloe
There Isn’t Anything – Gidian (Columbia) HIT
Sha-la-la-la-leee – The Small Faces – Decca
It’s All Right – The Hot Springs – Columbia
I’ll never Quite Get Over You – Billy Fury – Decca
You Baby – Jackie Trent – Pye
My Garden of Love – Benny Hill – Pye
There Isn’t Anything – Gidian – Columbia
Waiting Hero For Someone – Neil Landon – Decca
Teenage Failure – Chad and Jeremy – CBS
A Walk in the Black Forest – Salona Jones – Columbia
David Rose’s story of an appearance on Juke Box Jury
We are indebted to David Rose, a teenage casting vote panellist on an episode of Juke Box Jury in January 1966. Not only has he provided us with his story of that day, but also exceedingly rare photos of his appearance, taken by his grandfather, via tripod aimed directly at the family TV set. This was about the only way of getting a memento of a TV appearance in those days, well before home video and with no chance of subsequent video or DVD releases:
Presented by the very un-hip, slightly balding, 40-year-old David Jacobs, Juke Box Jury was panel show where four show business guests (the word “celebrity” had yet to be invented!) reviewed new record releases. David Jacobs would push a button on a juke box and a record would play whist the cameras randomly roved around the audience’s smiling faces, bored-looking panellists and various tapping feet and nodding heads – it was a pretty pedestrian show even by the standards of 60s telly. When the record was faded out after about a minute-and-a-half the four panellists would make inane comments and try to forecast whether it would be a “hit” or a “miss”. A hit was signalled with a “Ding” from a hotel porter’s bell, whilst a miss garnered a low farty noise from a hidden source under the desk. In the event of a tie the deciding vote was made by three members of the audience sitting in the front row who would each hold up a large circular disc with “Hit” on one side and “Miss” on the other.
So on 29th January we all – about 40 of us – met at the church hall, which was right behind the church, and while we were waiting for the coaches to arrive Pat, our organiser, said that the BBC had told them that for this new series instead of the three audience members holding up Hit and Miss discs, they were trying out having a young fifth panellist to give a “teenager’s view” and make the casting vote in the event of a tie – and, would they pick a member of our party to be that extra member of the panel.
A vote resulted in me being chosen to be the guinea pig. How that happened I can’t remember but I’m sure I didn’t volunteer. Maybe it was because I was dressed for the part — I was wearing a shirt from which I’d removed the collar and cuffs and dyed them black, whilst the body of the shirt I’d dyed purple. I stitched it all back together again – by hand! – and wore it with a yellow tie and my new first made-to-measure suit with twelve-inch flares and flared cuffs in a bright fawn corduroy with a bright red lining. I felt the bee’s knees! Sadly, it wasn’t colour TV in those days.
As soon as we arrived at the BBC TV Theatre (now the Shepherd’s Bush Empire) they asked me to fill out a release form with my name and contact details – and to write my name in capital letters on another sheet, before being whisked into the makeup room to emerge a few minutes later looking like I’d arrived fresh from the Bahamas.
In the green room I met my fellow panellists. There was Spencer Davis (of the Spencer David Group who had hit number one that week with “Keep on Running”); and Marion Ryan, a pretty blonde singer who had no hits but was still famous – probably because she was a pretty blonde singer. (She was also the mother of twins Paul and Barry Ryan who would be famous in their own right in the 1970s.)
Also in the green room I met Alan Freeman (one of the top djs on the BBC), Haley Mills (film star) and Marianne Faithfull – they were all there for the next episode of Juke Box Jury, which was to be recorded immediately after ours went out live.
I was ushered onto the stage to cheers of approval from the club and shook David Jacob’s hand before taking my seat behind my name, which they had obviously just put together from plastic letters slotted into a black velvet stand.
We then did a short run-through of a couple of records, chat and voting and then a man with a clip board and head set chatted to the audience about when to clap and to be “natural” and not to look into the camera if it was pointing at them – and then he counted down from ten, at 5.15 the theme music started – conveniently called “Hit and Miss”, performed by Ted Heath and his Orchestra.
During the programme I was called on several times to give my esteemed “teenage opinion” and vote – but the record that stood out for me was “I’ll Never Quite Get Over You” sung by Billy Fury. After some chat from the panel the record had two “Hits” and two “Misses”. The celebrity panel was split. My moment had arrived…
“So let’s see what our teenager makes of this one…” said David Jacobs, “over to you, David.”
I loved Billy Fury. Before the Beatles came along I wanted to be Billy Fury; then I wanted to be John Lennon – but, strangely, never Paul McCartney, Elvis or Cliff. I used to mime in my bedroom mirror “Halfway To Paradise” and “Jealousy” and I even sported a Billy Fury quiff. So it was a no-brainer. I said I loved the song, the orchestra, the words… and it would be a huge hit.
Meanwhile, back at home, my grandparents were watching the show. Grandpa set up his camera on a tripod and started to take photographs of the tiny TV screen. I contacted the BBC to see if the show exists in the archives but as the programme went out live, it seems no record of it exists – except my grandfather’s snaps.
David Rose, June 2020.