While BBC TV Centre gets its own documentary as it finalises its closure, the real music memories come from round the corner in Lime Grove. It was there in the Sixties that everyone who was anyone in the pop world – or a selection of them – gathered once a week (from memory it was a Wednesday) for “Top of the Pops”. Transmitted live, I seem to remember it worked on the same formula as editor Ray Coleman operated for the weekly music paper where I spent five happy years, “Disc and Music Echo”. This was that it featured the artist or group every alternate week provided their single was still going up the charts. This was the heyday of British pop, just pre progressive, post Beatles and littered with groups (not bands) and soloists who made the dressing rooms (into reception, past the desk on the right, turn left, then right down the corridor) the once a week daytime music hangout. I was still (and probably remained so throughout my life) the somewhat green behind the ears cub reporter, sent there to see who was around, maybe with a mission to talk to Dave Dee, or Lulu, or Sandie, or The Herd, Tremeloes, Marmalade, Tom, Engelbert, Solomon King – Solomon King? Well that will date it – 1968. Initially I went through the right channels to be allowed in, but after a few trips I knew exactly where everything was so adopted the approach of a cheery “all right then?” to the liveried man on the desk as I breezed in and followed the above described route! As with all TV, it was a tedious afternoon leading up to the 7.30 transmission, so most folk were happy to answer the inane questions that satisfied our readership, if only to pass the time. In the scheme of things, “Disc” was a lowly magazine compared to NME and Melody Maker, but we were in colour and Ray Coleman’s routine of alternate week interviews reflected the huge importance of the singles chart in those days. Ray, who was a great (but at that time hugely frustrated) journalist was probably pretty uncomfortable editing this lightweight pop mag, though his friendship with The Beatles provided the occasional opportunity for his pen. As far as Top of the Pops was concerned, he’d done a masterstroke deal with Harry Goodwin, the TOTP official photographer, for our colour cover shots. I therefore also had Harry as an ally, should any uniform wonder what I was doing there. Harry also provided the afternoon entertainment – blue movies – which went down well with what was then still a predominantly testosterone-stoked gaggle of musicians and singers.
So, yes – farewell TV Centre, but a special thought too for Lime Grove, please!!
The link, if it works is Harry reminiscing about those days