Lift Off with Ayshea

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Lift Off & Lift Off with Ayshea
Genre Music Children's
Created by Muriel Young
Starring Ayshea Brough
Wally Whyton
'Ollie Beak'
'Fred Barker'
Graham Bonney
Theme music composer Roy Wood
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 144
Production
Producer(s) Muriel Young
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Granada
Distributor ITV
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3 ratio
Audio format Monaural
First shown in November 1969 - December 1974
Original airing 5 November 1969
Chronology
Related shows Shang-A-Lang, Get It Together

"Lift Off with Ayshea" is a British TV show, produced by Granada Television for the ITV network, which ran for 144 editions spanning eight series, between November 1969 and December 1974.[1]

Preceded by the show Discotheque which had been hosted by Dianne Greaves,[2][3] the replacement was originally entitled "Lift Off" and was aired in the children's programming schedule, but was seen by many as ITV's junior answer to the BBC's Top Of The Pops. Ayshea Brough (aka Ayshea) had appeared on the earlier Discotheque in March 1969[4] and was one of the first women of Asian heritage to front a TV series on British TV, initially co-hosting the show with Graham Bonney and later singer Wally Whyton. The series was produced by Muriel Young, who went on to produce Clapperboard, Shang-A-Lang and Get It Together for ITV Granada.

The premise of the show was to showcase music requested by viewers writing in to the series. The requests were interspersed with performances of either new releases or current hits. Generally, only two or three guest acts would appear each week; the majority of the songs were performed by Ayshea herself or would be played into the studio and a dance troupe would choreograph the track. The main dance ensemble were known as 'The Feet'; identical twin sisters Teresa & Lesley Scoble, who were concurrently appearing in the ITV children's drama Timeslip throughout the 1970 run.[5] For one series, a resident band known as 'The Pattern' sang selected tracks each week. Series 5 featured Guy Lutman, Lynn Garner and Chris Marlow as the resident singers. Later series featured the puppets Ollie Beak and Fred Barker as co-hosts.

During the series' run, Ayshea contributed a column to the magazines Look-In and Disco 45. She also teamed up with Roy Wood to record his composition Farewell, which was released as a single and used as the show's theme tune. Wood's band Wizzard often appeared on the series and Brough appeared on Top Of The Pops, backing Wizzard on several occasions. When performing with Wizzard, Wood often sported a white star with the initial 'A' in the centre of his forehead, while Brough wore the same make-up featuring a 'W'. This led to some media speculation that the two were involved in an unconfirmed relationship, with many reports claiming they were engaged. Although the track failed to chart, Ayshea performed the song on the rival Top of the Pops on BBC1.

Of the 144 episodes made, it is only confirmed that three have survived in the ITV archives. The show was replaced by a similar format series Shang-A-Lang, hosted by The Bay City Rollers, which in turn was replaced by Get It Together hosted by Roy North, Linda Fletcher and later Megg Nichol; all produced by Muriel Young.

List of episodes[edit]

Series 1: 5 November 1969 – 28 January 1970. 13 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: Long John Baldry, Lou Christie and Millie Small.

Series 2: 7 October 1970 – 30 December 1970. 13 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: The Tremeloes, Mike D'Abo, Roger Whitaker, Julie Felix, Black Sabbath, Pickettywitch, Dana, Labi Siffre, Ken Dodd, The New Seekers, The Sweet & Herman's Hermits.

Series 3: 10 August 1971 – 12 January 1972. 23 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: The Sweet, Ken Dodd, The Tremeloes, The Move, The Marmalade, The New Seekers, Tony Blackburn, Vanity Fare, Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Gene Pitney, Tony Christie, Charlie Drake & Gilbert O'Sullivan.

Series 4: (Renamed: Lift Off with Ayshea). 12 April 1972 – 5 July 1972. 13 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: Colin Blunstone, The Move, Roy Wood, Gene Pitney, Jack Wild, The Bay City Rollers, Peter Noone, The Barron Knights, David Bowie & Slade.

Series 5: 11 October 1972 – 3 January 1973. 14 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: 10cc, Lonnie Donegan, The Fortunes, Middle of the Road, Slade, The Sweet & Lieutenant Pigeon.

Series 6: 27 April 1973 – 29 June 1973. 10 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: Wizzard, Roger Whitaker, 10cc, Gene Pitney, Vanity Fare & Wayne Fontana.

Series 7: 17 October 1973 – 9 January 1974. 13 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included Gary Glitter and Lynsey de Paul (14 November) and T.Rex,Hector, (19 December).

Series 8: 1 July 1974 – 17 December 1974. 44 episodes.
Directors: Dave Warwick & Baz Taylor.
Guests included: Slade, The Flirtations, The Scaffold, The Settlers, Mud, Paper Lace, The Glitter Band, Alvin Stardust, The Wombles, Stephanie de Sykes, Showaddywaddy, Limmie & the Family Cooking, Kiki Dee, Hector, Polly Brown, David Essex & Barry Blue.

Episodes numbered 86-108 are unaccounted for in any known broadcast details. They may form a longer series 6, or are a stand alone season between series 6 and 7.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lift Off". Homepage.ntlworld.com. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  2. ^ Cridland, James (14 October 2013). "Don't be a girl DJ!". Retrieved 20 October 2013.  (Name sometimes spelt Diane)
  3. ^ Diane Greaves at the Internet Movie Database (Name sometimes spelt Dianne)
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "The Official Website". Timeslip. Retrieved 2014-05-20.