Stand by for take-off: Ready, Steady, Go!


TVTimes looks at preparations for the first ever ‘Ready Steady Go!’

The Metropolitan Police have been alerted. Security officers are standing by. Nurses are on call to render first aid to anyone injured in the crush.

From the TVTimes for 4-10 August 1963
Article from the TVTimes for 4-10 August 1963

A Royal occasion? An assassination scare? Visit from an astronaut?

No, the cause is Associated-Rediffusion’s new series starting on Friday, Ready, Steady, Go!, which will bring pop and film stars to Television House, in Kingsway, London.

And the fan-control precautions will be taken as a result of a paragraph in TV Times John Gough column a few weeks ago, asking if any teenagers wished to attend a trial run of the show.

Requests for tickets came in from all over the country!

Ready, Steady, Go! is a “pop-pourri” of records and films, packed with exciting, unconventional ideas. An audience of 200 young people will kick off their weekend watching and listening to and appearing with their favourite stars.

The programme presents problems for the administration staff of Television House, for Ready, Steady, Go! has fan action on three separate fronts. And in this, Associated-Rediffusion are bringing to light entertainment a production policy they have perfected covering big national events — cameras will be at three different spots.

  • In the studio, Keith Fordyce will introduce and interview personalities before an audience of 150 that will completely surround him
  • In the lobby, David Gell will introduce youngsters who will be dancing to the music of the show, relayed on monitor sets.
  • And outside Television House, scores of fans will throng to watch proceedings in the lobby and perhaps catch a glimpse of their idols arriving or leaving.
Compere Keith Fordyce works up a glow twisting with the so-hip fans
Compere Keith Fordyce works up a glow twisting with the so-hip fans

Said director Bill Turner: “We want to capture the immediacy, the pace of modern show business. And we want to be informal and have an audience that will participate actively.

“The audience will have a chance to meet performers, get an autograph, maybe even dance with them.

“For instance, David Gell will ask individuals for their Top Fifty pop requests which we will play at once. He’ll ask why they like it and if they’ve bought it.


If you're gonna twist you gotta get down to it to be WITH IT. On the right, David Gell
If you’re gonna twist you gotta get down to it to be WITH IT. On the right, David Gell


“There’s an amateur disc jockey spot. Another member of the audience will take all the Top Fifty records home, play them and return the following week with the record he or she considers best. We will try to discover exactly what appeal that particular record has.

Billy Fury is so serious at rehearsals
Billy Fury is so serious at rehearsals

“Three audience members will be blindfolded each week and asked to identify a pop record and artist as we superimpose the name of the record and artist on a monitor set.”

Ready, Steady, Go! will be staged in the heart of London at 7 p.m. so it will give stars a chance to drop in between matinees and evening performances.

Besides music and film clips, Keith and David have a quick-fire, American-style news-spot, bringing all the latest information from the world of show business.

Keith told me: “We shall try to keep pace with teenage trends by working on the Top Fifty records. That chart is the barometer of teenage musical taste. But it’s not only youngsters we’re aiming to please. I firmly believe all the family enjoy pop music in some form or other.”

Canadian David Gell’s main task is selecting and interviewing members of the audience.

He told me: “There will be no special way of selection. I shall rely on my own judgment to pick fans who appear lively and bright. Hair styles, jewels or flashy clothes won’t attract me.

“My main problem will be disentangling the microphone lead from all the legs around me!”


Hit parade stars, Brian Poole (left) and the Tremoloes ruffle Keith Fordyce's hair at the Royal in Tottenham
Hit parade stars, Brian Poole (left) and the Tremoloes ruffle Keith Fordyce’s hair at the Royal in Tottenham

About the author

Dave Lanning (1938-2016) wrote features for the TVTimes for over 28 years, was a regular darts commentator on ABC/LWT's 'World of Sport' and was a television critic for the Sunday People.

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