Special was a British television programme launched in
February 1957 when both television and rock and roll were in their
infancy in Britain.
3 See also
5 External links
It was the BBC's first attempt at a rock and roll programme, an
innovation and much imitated, even today. It was called Six-Five
Special because of the time it was broadcast – it went out live at
five past six on Saturday evening. It began immediately after the
abolition of the Toddlers' Truce, which had seen television close
between 6 and 7 pm so children could be put to bed.
Jack Good was the original producer.
Josephine Douglas and (initially)
disc jockey Pete Murray were its presenters, with Murray using the
catchphrase "Time to jive on the old six five". Its resident band was
Don Lang and his Frantic Five. The show opened with film of a steam
train accompanied by the programme's theme song, played and sung by
the Frantic Five, which began with the words "The Six-Five Special's
comin' down the line, The Six-Five Special's right on time ..."
BBC executives originally wanted a magazine format; however, Good
wanted a show with music and lots of movement. The original sets were
dispensed with and the empty studio space filled with the milling
audience and performers. Television at that time was completely live
as recording technology was limited, so once the programme started
everything ran in an impromptu way. The running order was sketched out
on Friday morning, and then only one complete run-through happened
immediately before transmission on Saturday evening.
The show was originally scheduled to last just six weeks but, as a
result of its popularity, the series became open-ended. The BBC
interfered with Good's vision of the show by including educational and
information elements, which Good wanted to drop, as they diluted the
music. The relationship between Good and the
BBC became strained, and
he resigned in early 1958.
Good joined the ITV company ABC to create Oh Boy!, the show he'd
wanted to make. It featured non-stop music and lost the
public-service-inspired elements as part of its more frenzied pace,
Special in the ratings. The BBC, never keen on the
show, took this as vindication and pulled it from the schedules. It
was to be half a decade before
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops restored
of contemporary popular music in general and "pop" in particular.
Among the artists on the show were Petula Clark, Jim Dale, Johnny
Dankworth, Terry Dene, Lonnie Donegan, Russ Hamilton, Cleo Laine, Joan
Regan, Finlay Currie, Freddie Mills, Wee Willie Harris, Jimmy Lloyd,
Marty Wilde, the Dallas Boys and Tommy Steele.
Comedy performers included Trevor Peacock, who was also a script
writer for the show,
Spike Milligan and Bernie Winters.
Freddie Mills was also a regular until 29 March 1958.
American Bandstand, US show from same era
Juke Box Jury
Ready Steady Go!
Later with Jools Holland
^ BFI article on Oh Boy! by Anthony Clark retrieved 9 December 2008
^ Davis, Clifford (1 April 1958), "2 More to quit the '6.5'", Daily
Mirror, p. 5
Special at Whirligig TV.
Special on IMDb
Special (1957–58) British Film Institute history
Special MSN Movies entry
Billy Fury.com has a section on Jack Good and the making of the Six
Five Special. Retrieved October 2008
"Six-Five Special" Clips at YouTube
Britain in a Box: 5 March 2008 (
BBC Radio 4 programme)