Decca Records Chief, Dick Rowe once wrote;
‘The Bachelors are perfect for television. Their performances are given with such precision, style and sincerity that you can’t help but love them.’
The Bachelors phenomenal broadcasting career kicked off with an appearance on BBC TV’s ‘6.25 Show.’ Singing the recently released ‘Charmaine,’ this went to air on New Year’s Day 1963. There then followed two appearances on the BBC in ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show,’ two further appearances on both the ‘6.25 Show’ and ‘A Swinging Time’ as the follow up’s to Charmaine were released.
The record successes of 1964 catapulted them onto the ‘must have’ list of every light entertainment producer in the country. Obviously they were a target for ‘Tops of The Pops,’ (see detail below) ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ and ‘Ready, Steady Go!’ because of the hit singles, but they achieved so much more.
Two appearances on ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium (SNALP)’ in April and May put the Decca pressing plant in overdrive! This was followed by guest appearances on ‘The Morecambe and Wise Show’ ‘The Billy Cotton Band Show’ The Ken Dodd Show’ ‘Crackerjack’ and ‘Blue Peter’and ‘Blackpool Night Out’ to name but a few. They had their own showcase for Granada TV (without an audience) which was broadcast in the autumn.
The TV highlight of 1964 was their appearance at the London Palladium on the Royal Variety Show.
They secured two top of the bill spots in the 1965 SNALP season, where some of their peeved showbiz peers asked ‘How come you get such a long time for your spot?’
“We only got 12 minutes, just like everyone else. Our secret was to draft in a producer and choreographer to make sure we could pack in as much as possible to give the public a fast-paced and entertaining set.
We always had new outfits for SNALP and we rehearsed ourselves to perfection. It was a BIG show and we were honoured to do it twelve times.”
For the remainder of the 60’s they appeared regularly on everything! TV credits as star guests include; ‘It’s Rolf Harris’ ‘Gadzooks’ ‘Open House,’ ‘Club Night,’ ‘Juke Box Jury,’ ‘The Ken Dodd Xmas Show,’ Royal Variety Show 1966,’’Billy Cotton Music Hall,’ ‘Blackpool Night Out,’ ‘The Val Doonican Show,’ ‘Dee Time,’ ‘The Vera Lynn Show,’ ‘ The Good Old Days,’ ’Morecambe and Wise.’ ‘Show of The Week’ (their own spectacular for the BBC) and to round off the decade ‘Pop Go The Sixties,’
As the top vocal act in light entertainment people often asked why they didn’t have their own series, the answer was simple; if you wanted to book The Bachelors for a TV series, you’d need to do it well in advance, so that time could be found in their diary!
In November 1968, they starred in their own TV spectacular for ATV which was a successful pilot for a further six half -hour programmes titled ‘It’s The Bachelors’ in 1969. The shows were taped with an audience at ATV Elstree. They had a comedy thread too, in the shape of the hilarious Freddie (Parrot Face) Davies.
Reaction and ratings for this show were so good that they were immediately signed for a further six one hour shows, each with ‘name’ guests such as Sacha Distel, Lulu, Roger Whittaker, Nina and Leslie Crowther. It was broadcasted over the whole ITV network in a ‘prime time’ slot on Saturday night in the spring of 1970 and marketed as an ‘extravaganza in colour, comedy and song.’
The pre-series publicity was extensive, including the much sought after front cover of TV Times.
In 1971 the boys recorded a pilot show for the BBC ‘Comedy Playhouse’ series.
Titled ‘Under and Over’ it had them cast as Irish labourers digging a tunnel in London and singing Irish folk songs in pubs for beer money. This was something completely different and following the pilot, a further five programmes were made.
Yorkshire TV’s popular ‘Stars on Sunday’ booked them 26 times between 1970 and 1976 and they continued to be favourites in all the top rated light entertainment and game shows.
They were ‘artistes of the month’ with four consecutive weekly appearances in ‘The Golden Shot’ with Bob Monkhouse in November 1974 and took the ‘top of the bill’ spots in BBC’s ‘Seaside Special’ as well as appearances in Granada’s ‘Wheeltappers and Shunters Social club.’
In the autumn of 1974 they were signed for a further six programmes for the BBC.
‘The Bachelors Show’ was recorded with an audience at the television theatre in Shepherds Bush and broadcast on BBC 2 on Sunday evenings in early 1975. This series was an excellent showcase for the boys continuing popularity and featured weekly contributions from a female trio ‘The Vernon’s’ and the loveable but ultimately tragic figure of Lena Zavaroni.
Bookings as ‘star guests’ continued to roll in for ‘The David Nixon Show’ Various episodes of ‘Seaside Special’ and ‘Summertime Special,’ ‘Vince Hill’s Musical time Machine’ ‘The Mike Yarwood Show.’ ‘Celebrity Squares’ ‘Give Us A Clue,’ and their own one hour special for ATV with Lena Zaveroni titled ‘You’re Never Too Old.’
They were caught by Eamon Andrews and his big red book in the spring of 1978. ‘This is your Life’ placed them among the show business greats, an accolade they thoroughly deserved.
The boys were appearing regularly on TV right up to the split. During their last year together they recorded guest spots on ‘Sunday Best’ ‘Greatest Hits’ ‘Unforgettable’ and their final TV appearance on Central’s ‘ Entertainment Express’ with Mike Reid.
As television performers they were prolific, possibly more so than any other vocal group to emerge from the 60’s.
Dec’s comment says it all;
“We appeared on Top Of The Pops and other shows so many times that we had our own wardrobe department at the BBC.”
Top of the Pops appearances
- 29 / 01 / 1964 | Diane
- 05 / 02 / 1964 | Diane
- 12 / 02 / 1964 | Diane
- 04 / 03 / 1964 | Diane
- 18 / 03 / 1964 | I Believe
- 25 / 03 / 1964 | I Believe
- 01 / 04 / 1964 | I Believe
- 10 / 06 / 1964 | Ramona
- 24 / 06 / 1964 | Ramona
- 19 / 08 / 1964 | I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World
- 24 / 11 / 1964 | I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World
- 10 / 12 / 1964 | No Arms Can Ever Hold You
- 17 / 12 / 1964 | No Arms Can Ever Hold You
- 08 / 03 / 1965 | True Love for Evermore
- 13 / 05 / 1965 | Marie
- 27 / 05 / 1965 | Marie
- 03 / 06 / 1965 | Marie
- 10 / 03 / 1966 | The Sound of Silence
- 24 / 03 / 1966 | The Sound of Silence
- 07 / 04 / 1966 | The Sound of Silence
- 02 / 12 / 1971 | Diamonds Are Forever
- 27 / 12 / 1973 | I Believe
Their broadcasting efforts were not limited to TV. The BBC light programme (later Radio 2) still produced pop music and variety shows until the mid-seventies and the group were an obvious choice for that medium. In 1963 alone they guested on 18 programmes including several spots on ‘Easybeat’ and ‘Popalong.’
Subsequent notable radio credits include countless listings on ‘Saturday Club,’ ’The Beat Show,’ ‘Pop Track,’ ‘Parade of the Pops,’ ‘The Golden Parrot Club (Freddie Davies),’ ‘Fanfare,’ ‘The Frank Chacksfield Hour’ and even ‘Does The Team Think!’
In 1969 they hosted their own Radio series on RTE (Ireland). ‘Hands across the Sea’ was a request show aimed at the Irish communities in the UK using their 1964 recording of ‘With These Hands’ as the intro. It worked very well.
In the summer of 1972 they recorded six one hour radio shows at the Paris Theatre in Regent Street for Radio 2. ‘The Bachelors Show’ occupied the prime mid afternoon Sunday slot (repeated the following Friday evening), when most UK families were relaxing after a large lunch! The shows followed the format of their stage productions with a comedy element in the shape of the Hull funny man Norman Collier and piano duo Rostal and Schaefer. It was classic light entertainment for radio. One lasting memory for me is The Bachelors rendition of a very old song titled ‘My Song Goes Round The World.’ The soaring harmonies were amazing and it’s a pity that it was never cut as a studio track.
The Bachelors also appeared on the big screen with a guest spot in Frankie Vaughn’s ‘It’s all Over Town,(1964)’ the 1964 British Lion Pop compilation ‘Just for You (Disk-O-Tec holiday in the USA),’ and speaking parts with two songs in the Billy Fury classic ‘I’ve Gotta Horse (1965).’ ‘Film track’ LP’s were issued for all three and are listed in the UK album discography.