The weekend starts here!
Curiously Ready Steady Go! the legendary British TV rock show had almost exactly the same lifespan as the Bo Street Runners , 1963 to 1966.
Produced by Elkan Allen and directed by Daphne Shadwell, Robert Fleming, Rollo Gamble, Michael Lindsay Hogg and Peter Croft, it was first broadcast on 9th August 1963 from TV House, Kingsway, London in a half hour slot beginning at 7p.m. ( some regions transmitted it in a late evening slot at 10:40p.m. ) and the first live acts were Billy Fury and Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, performing in front of about 200 teenagers.
This Friday pop show with its slogan 'The Weekend Starts Here!' was co-hosted by the archetypical mod Cathy McGowan, Gay Singleton and Keith Fordyce with additional presenters David Gell, Michael Aldred and (twice) Dusty Springfield. Cathy McGowan was an office worker at the tv company when she answered an advertisement for a 'typical teenager' to act as advisor to the show and was thrust, without any previous experience, in front of the cameras as one of the main presenters. She was to become the icon for the programme.
What made RSG such an important and unmissable weekly event was the fact that instead of merely aping the weekly pop charts it was adventurous and innovative in its programming introducing barely known but important artists, particularly from the US, to a thirsty young public. Blues and soul performers such as John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding made their UK debuts on the show as did Jimmy Hendrix.
The original theme tune was 'Wipe Out' by the Surfaris which was soon replaced by Manfred Mann's classic '5-4-3-2-1'. In 1964 it moved to a 50 minute slot at 6:08 p.m.
The studio disco set allowed the general public onto the studio floor for dancing and mingling with the performers.
In 1964 the RSG magazine was launched, costing 2 shillings. Also in 64, a spin-off series featured the RSG team in a show called 'READY STEADY WIN', searching for new pop talent; the specific aim of the competition was to find the group that would replace the Beatles! The panel of competition judges changed for each of the heats and during the series included Brian Epstein, Bill Haley , Brian Matthew, Ringo Starr, Lionel Blair, Brian Jones and Mick Jagger.
Ready Steady Go! featured both new releases and existing hits plus off-the-cuff interviews with the artists, usually carried out by Michael Aldred or Gay Singleton. The Kingsway studio proved to be an inappropriate venue to cater for the hundreds of fans who always crowded around outside the building and it was eventually moved to the Wembley ( now Fountain ) Studios. This facility was not always available at the same time every Friday and so the show was pre-recorded, usually on Tuesdays. Direction of the show was shared by Peter Croft, Rollo Gamble, Daphne Shadwell and Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Resident full-time dancers on the show were Theresa Confrey and Patrick Kerr who demonstrated new dances alongside 'members of the public' ( whom they chose specially from their visits to the 'Sabre' club ), with a certain Paul Raven, better known in later decades as Gary Glitter, as warm-up man for the dancing 'public'.
April 1965 saw a temporary name change to 'READY STEADY GOES LIVE' when live transmission and artist performances began, the previous shows being pre-recorded with the acts miming to their records. The series ran until 23rd December 1966, the last show being titled 'Ready Steady Goes!'. Tapes of the shows are owned by Dave Clark International (Dave Clark of The DC5) who acquired them in the 1980s.
Go the next episode, Ready Steady Win
Video clips and external links
http://www.utubefunny.com/Otis-Redding-Ready-Steady-Go-Part-3__xi_7iBskm94.html Otis Redding video clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-XPgccjiqw&feature=related RSG Theme tune, 5,4,3,2,1 video clip
http://www.utubefunny.com/Jerry-Lee-Lewis-on-RSG__-hLfOIs4kvE.html Gerry Lee Lewis video clip