Ready Steady Go!

The sets, title sequences and consumers of Ready Steady Go! 1963 – 1966

Popular Design and Entertainment, eds. Christopher Frayling and Emily King, Manchester University Press


“Ready Steady Go!” was a television pop music programme that captured the spirit of a period and transmitted the consciousness of a generation—visually, aurally and emotionally.1 From the date of its first broadcast at 7.00 p.m. on August 9, 1963 to its demise on December 23, 1966, the programme was poised on the pinnacle of Pop.

The dates of “RSG!’s” rise and fall coincide with the era that historian Nigel Whitely has identified as “high Pop.”2 This three-year period saw the most concentrated expression of the attitudes and concerns of a nascent British youth culture to date. It was also the culmination of a more protracted domestication of European Modernism and its cultural imperatives. With its distinctive music, set design, and title sequences, “RSG!” provided a unique space for the convergence of an intellectual renegotiation of Modernist design on the part of its creators and the immediate responses to the intensified condition of modernity on the part of its targeted teenage audience.

While “RSG!’s” mission was neither satirical nor political, the pop programme was certainly part of a larger, and specifically generational, anti-establishment movement.3 In a precarious balance that lasted three years, it fused the preoccupations of a rebellious and elitist Avant-garde with aspects of modern unselfconscious popular culture in a configuration that transgressed deep-set divisions between the elite and the mass, creative production and passive consumption.

New producers, new consumers

By 1963, when “Ready Steady Go!” was first broadcast, the pop music show existed as a format distinct from other light entertainment productions on British television. With the growth of the record industry during the 1950s and the compilation of the charts on the basis of record sales, rather than of sheet music, pop-record-based radio programmes flourished. It wasn’t long before the BBC and the new independent television companies began to exploit the potential of this genre through a succession of programmes.

These programmes were modelled on the experience of a big band concert and used the conventions of the music hall. Transmitted at teatime on Saturday, they were aimed at a family audience. Yet still they incited critics’ fears about the effects on the young of manipulative and distasteful American pop music. For example, in 1960, The Council for Children’s Welfare issued a report on early evening television programming that included a section devoted to the permissive attitudes and values espoused by the ten BBC and nine ITV music and variety shows on the air at that time: “Both TV channels now run weekly programmes in which popular records are played to teenagers and judged. While the music is performed the cameras linger savagely over the faces of the audience. What a bottomless chasm of vacuity they reveal. Huge faces, bloated with cheap confectionery and smeared with chain-store make up, the open sagging mouths and glazed eyes, the hands mindlessly drumming in time to the music, the broken stiletto heels, the shoddy, stereotyped ‘with it’ clothes: here, apparently, is a collective portrait of a generation enslaved by a commercial machine.”4

While belonging to this condemned class of programming, “RSG!” was dissimilar from its predecessors and competitors in several key respects. No attempts were made to disguise the fact that the pop programme was broadcast from a television studio: cameras emblazoned with the RSG! logo were nearly always in shot, as were its cameramen, technicians and floor managers. All the elements instrumental to the generation of a television image were revealed in what amounted to a celebration of modern communications technology. “RSG!” then, in a spectacular fusion of sound and image, its material and its means, can be seen to have crystallised a broader tendency amongst the practitioners of Pop to achieve simultaneity in the creation of surface and meaning.

Elkan Allen, the head of Associated Rediffusion’s entertainment department, was “RSG!’s” executive producer and his role highlights the ambivalent relationship between control and spontaneity that characterised the programme. Despite efforts to model himself upon more genuine pop magnates such as Phil Spector, described by Tom Wolfe, as “the first tycoon of teen,” a generation divided the 42-year-old Allen from his audience and, as executive producer, his interest in the programme was commercial rather than personal.5 Other members of the team, however, especially certain directors of the show including Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and the teenagers Vicki Wickham, Michael Aldred, and Cathy McGowan, could claim a much closer affinity with the idiosyncratic spirit of the programme and with the fickle musical preferences of its audience.6

“RSG!” fed directly from the sexually liberated demeanours of urban American blues singers and the British bands that emulated them. A viewer remembers that, “all the most interesting performers appeared, their presentation was more direct and aggressive, less condescending and diluted with easy listening than that of other pop programmes.”7 The use of American stars such as The Supremes, James Brown and Otis Redding, seemed to fly in the face of the Establishment, epitomised by the BBC, where the Postmaster General had issued a ban on U.S. records.8 “For me, its glory was the music,” says another viewer of the programme. “Live performances by Charles and Inez Foxx, Eric Burden…’RSG!’ offered the best selection on TV, reflecting what was really ‘in’ and aimed at a young audience.”9

Cathy McGowan, of Streatham, began as teenage adviser to the programme and went on to become its co-host. She endeared herself through her frequent mistakes that verified her genuineness to a viewing audience of urban and suburban working class teenagers. She became Melody Maker’s female personality of the year in its 1965 pop poll. Her social mobility mirrored the rise of pop stars from anonymity to stardom that composer and music critic Frank Cordell described: “The transition from ‘unknown’ to ‘star’ takes place in that vague area where the common myth is shared: Although our garage-hand is now a ‘star’ he is still an ‘available’ type identifiable with the mass and as his press agent will underline, he still retains the tastes and allegiances of his group.”10

In their role as comperes, Cathy and Keith Fordyce introduced each group and their songs, sometimes in combination with a quick interview. “When they hired me as compere for ‘RSG!,’” wrote Fordyce in the 1964 RSG! Annual, “they told me to keep it moving faster than any show there had ever been […] interviews hardly ever last for longer than a minute.”11

The directors endeavored to eliminate any sense of distinction between star and fan, stage and audience. “There was no great agitation or excitement about seeing the performers—they would do their set and then dance in the audience,” recalls a viewer. Singers had to walk through the crowds and, when they did stand on rostra that were scattered about the studio, their heads were only just cleared for the cameras. Most other pop shows kept their performers, quite literally, on pedestals, and their well-behaved audiences seated. Elkan Allen’s decision to decrease the reliance on miming, in 1965, also accentuated the raw performance of the singer. Allen believed that “seeing a mimed show—and the BBC still puts them out—is like hearing music through plate glass.”12

The audience members in the “RSG!” studio were as much a part of the show as the performers; their clothes, gestures, poses and dances were integral to the design of the programme. Derek Boshier and Pauline Boty, two of the artists featured in Ken Russell’s 1962 TV film Pop Goes the Easel, often danced in the audience. Mostly, dancers were carefully selected from clubs such as The Scene, on Great Windmill Street (well known for its choice of bands and its play-list of rare American records) by the production team who informally auditioned teenagers for their dancing ability and fashion sense.

“RSG!’s” most avid followers were teenagers known as mods.13 Discerning, narcissistic and relentlessly modern, mods were a small subculture of working class teenagers readily identified by their closely cropped hairstyles and meticulously tailored outfits, and who lived mainly in London and the New Towns of the South. Among the main foci of expenditure amongst this new demographic were records, hair styling and clothes. Wearing the right clothes with the right cut, from the right tailors, was a fundamental prerequisite for being a mod. Being knowledgeable about a particular fashion, initiated by a stylist and which may have only lasted for a week, necessitated a rapidity of dissemination that a weekly television programme like “RSG!” certainly helped to achieve.

Mod appropriation of clothing was largely related to the subtle art of body management. Tablets of drynamil cost around 6d each and were sold in brown envelopes or wage packets. This hard currency of amphetamine increased the heart rate, enlarged the pupils and contributed to an angularity of stance and over-alertness that fed new non-partner, mod-specific dances, such as “The Block.”

Dancing was only one aspect of the mod body language that could be read from the audiences of RSG! There were specific poses, codes of gesture and walks which were more subtle, but essential to the overall image. Photographers such as Terrance Donovan, David Bailey, and Brian Duffy would go to London’s East End to observe the design of movement among teenagers.14 In an article entitled “Gesture Goes Classless,” pop critic George Melly identified a detached coolness and “anti-elegance” among the young, transmitted through photography in magazines and television that could cut across social boundaries and class barriers but not across generational ones.15


The “RSG!” studio space

From 1964 onwards the background flats in the studio where “RSG! was filmed were designed by Nicholas Ferguson, a graduate of Chelsea School of Art and of Painting and Theatre Design at the Slade. When executive producer Elkan Allen explained his vision for the way the programme should look (“He wanted it to look un-designed”) Ferguson realised he would be able to draw on his own experience and interests, derived from high culture rather than the street.16 “I knew completely what he meant because of my theatre experience, my knowledge of Brecht and his rejection of stage illusion,” recalls Ferguson.17 Ferguson, who saw the Royal Shakespeare Company’s groundbreaking English production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle in 1962, employed Brechtian-infused techniques to draw attention to the artificiality of the stage and auditorium—an approach that was still novel in British theatrical set design.18

The minimal nature of “RSG!’s” set design, however, was informed as much by economic necessity as it was by the ideological and aesthetic preferences of its creator. Ferguson’s predecessor had exhausted the production budget, leaving a restrictive weekly allowance of £13.12 shillings Ferguson found that certain scenic devices, such as painted backcloths, were not charged to his budget.19 He used these cloths to create dynamic collages, finding his inspiration in mainstream Neo-Dadaist artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Dada collagists such as Kurt Schwitters.20 Ferguson’s collages were made using typographic and photographic fragments torn from newspapers and a profusion of new pop magazines such as Teen Beat, Pop Shop, Fabulous, New Musical Express and Pop Weekly.

Ferguson’s approach to collage epitomises a renegotiation of the philosophy and practice of collage, montage and assemblage that was popular in 1960s Britain. The Dadaist and Cubist deployment of brutally torn and roughly cut fragments of paper had been charged with a political and moral purpose specific to their historical context. Collage provided a shared visual idiom for these artists to express some of the anxiety and excitement of the experience of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation in early twentieth century Europe, as well as a means to make political critique.21 By the early 1960s, however, the political resonances of collage were diluted. Polish poet and publisher Stefan Themerson described it thus: “Modern Collage is not much interested in what its materials were before, nor where they came from. If it is photos of Brigitte Bardot etc. this is because BB has some mythological significance for the Sixties—no more. Most people would be able to read Schwitters as ‘innocent aesthetic arrangements’ because in the 60s surely, ANTI-ART has finished: the personal protest has finished…anti-art is third programme material.”22

If the original purpose and meaning of collage was consigned to the dusty halls of high culture—the old guard of BBC radio programming—as Themerson suggests, then the aesthetic potential of the art form was wide open for investigation by a new breed of depoliticised artists, designers and typographers working in the commercial sphere.

The autonomy of the individual artist was, even at Rediffusion, tempered to some extent by its administrative agencies. Ferguson had not realised that the photographs he was manipulating were subject to such legal niceties such as copyright and, once the company lawyer spotted this aberration, Ferguson was forced to use more staid publicity stills obtained from the artists’ agents, those that, in Frank Cordell’s words, “generally show (the performer) leaning out of the frame extending the glad hand and big smile to the consumers, or posed in an attitude that unambiguously invites adulation.”23 To avoid this restriction, and to achieve a surface and texture that evoked Pop, Ferguson began to rely more heavily upon typographic samples in his collages. In ways that prefigured an increasingly interdependent relationship between the hitherto discrete activities of set design and title design, Ferguson used pieces of artwork, such as the logo for “RSG!,” produced in the graphic design department. The interdisciplinary exchange was reinforced when the title sequence designers used for subject matter Ferguson’s sets and even the process of their construction.

The artwork Ferguson completed at the beginning of each week was photographed, enlarged and pasted onto flats measuring 10 by 8 feet, ready for transmission that Friday evening. Each week new montages would be wallpapered over the last like posters on an advertising hoarding. Ferguson remembers “the smell of those flats and their thickness after a while.”24 Their ephemeral nature signaled Pop and so did the immediacy of their content; topical elements could be added up until the last minute. The week before the parliamentary election, the face of Sir Alec Douglas Home appeared crowned by a Beatles haircut made from a Spaghetti advertisement, for example. And once, the Associated Rediffusion lawyer made Ferguson paint out his depiction of an atom bomb explosion which was to provide the backdrop for a performance of the song “Here Comes the Rain” even while the programme was on air. By extracting what artist John McHale had termed “a replaceable, expendable series of ikons,” from magazines and newspapers Ferguson was dealing with the very substance of mass media, which was again reproduced by the television cameras.25 Thus he was participating as both a consumer and producer of mass communications.

Ferguson’s flats—painted in black and white, with the notable exception of signal red which had a grey tonal equivalent when filmed in monochrome, and was purely for the benefit of the studio audience, technicians and performers—were intended to be glimpsed peripherally. “The paintings are only supposed to be seen quickly in the background,” explained Ferguson in the 1964 RSG! Annual. “I just aim to get shapes and symbols that are relevant to a Pop programme.”26

“RSG!” belonged to a breed of scenography that was idiosyncratic in many respects. It was not part of the tasteful design revolution that, since the mid-1950s, Richard Levin had been leading at the BBC; neither did it find a direct counterpart amongst independent television’s other pop music shows, characterised by their gestalt Pop emblems and streamlining. When Ferguson says of Tony Borer, the designer at “Top of the Pops,” “He was the forerunner of the type of design that is still going with its cyclorama shapes; mine is not still going,” he intimates that a true visual realisation of Pop such as his own would never have had such staying power.27

Ferguson tried to reflect the type of music being played visually, demonstrating a painterly concern with patterns, textures and tones of surface. The “difficulty of resolving images created in the mind through hearing, and the associations which are formed by a purely visual stimulus,” that Levin perceived, provided Ferguson with what he regarded as an “intellectual challenge.”28 His blown-up flats, tailor-made to fit the featured stars of each week’s show contained visual references, incongruities, puns and resonances that simultaneously celebrated and satirised, reassured and confused.

When subjected to the two dimensional format of the television screen, the featured pop stars, became interchangeable components with their own pictorial and photographic representations on the montaged sets behind them. Sound design, too, played its part in this newly ambiguous relationship between foreground and background. Frank Cordell noted that, by using a microphone, “a singer’s voice is brought well forward in the sound perspective, on a separate plane to the accompaniment. This effect of aural close up, like its visual counterpart in movies, enables the audience the pleasure of the performer’s presence.”29

Even more disjunctive than the lacerated textural flats used in “RSG!,” then, was the way in which the programme was filmed to reveal the structure of the studio and the technologies of its transmission. George Melly coined the term “new telly brutalism” to describe the situation where the technical artillery of cameras and lighting along with their operators were casually in evidence.30

Four cameras were used in the transmission of the programme. The introduction of the zoom lens had revolutionised television broadcast by allowing the same camera to track the action while zooming in on it. Bill Metcalfe, one of “RSG!’s” cameramen, was responsible for experimenting with staggered 8:1 zooms which captured the beat of the music, like a visual equivalent of electronic feedback.31

The language of close-up shots was unfamiliar to television viewers in the early 1960s. Performers were more usually seen as mid-shot busts. “RSG!’s” confrontational presentation of singers, therefore, seemed to aptly reflect the raw energy of the music being played. It corresponded more with the techniques used in films such as Dick Lester’s 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night—that, according to George Melly, “altered the whole concept of how to deal with pop on both film and television.”32

The mediation of imagery via the close-up can be seen as a metaphor for a widespread shift in relation to visual technology on the part of the consumer. As the “long front of culture” extended, the ideal of a “critical distance” began to erode.33 Viewers were able to confront and to immerse themselves in imagery—a phenomenon excitedly evoked by the theorist Marshall McLuhan: “in television, images are projected at you. You are the screen. The images wrap around you. You are the vanishing point.”34


Kinetic graphics

The graphic design department at Associated Rediffusion afforded its designers great freedom. Michael Yates, head of the department from 1956 to 1968, aimed to create a space in which designers could operate to their fullest potential, free from the constraints of administration and bureaucracy. Like his mentor Richard Levin at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Yates believed in creating “a state of organised anarchy’ in which the “freedom of the individual is not hampered.”35

In August 1960, the German magazine Gebrauchsgraphik devoted eight pages to the programme promotion cards produced by the graphic design department at Rediffusion, concluding that “In all these designs the television graphic designers show an outstanding originality which probably results from the unusually great artistic freedom which they are granted,” a view which is reinforced by the designers’ memories of their informal working environment.36 When Arnold Schwartzman directed a live-action skateboarding sequence for RSG!, cut to The Who’s “My Generation,” he edited the footage so that the images would succeed one another as fast as possible, even though anything under a three-frame cut was considered subliminal and, therefore, illegal by the Television Act of 1964.37 It is doubtful how forcefully such a rule would have been observed, as none of the designers at Rediffusion could remember having a title sequence turned down by a producer or director. Schwartzman recalls a “strange freedom,” and Sidney King says, “Directors would only look at things just before transmission. Even if they didn’t like something they did not have time to say no.”38

The Associated Rediffusion music services department was situated on the same floor as the graphic design studio, and well out of earshot of “the bridge,” from where ex-naval captain Tom Brownrigg managed the company. Clive Arrowsmith, a young designer, would play the new releases unceasingly as he worked on the programme’s title sequences. Among the graphic designers there was a familiarity with, and sensitivity to, pop music, and especially the distinctive sound of new British Beat and American Rhythm and Blues and Motown, that enabled the titles to embody most emphatically both the essence of the programme and the visual, social and cultural concerns of an era. In their search for new modes of graphic expression suited to such sounds, the designers sought recourse to an eclectic spectrum of film, art and graphic influences in the contemporary visual environment as well as those plundered from a historical reference bank of styles, imagery and techniques.

When “RSG!’s” surviving title sequences are arranged chronologically, an evolution of content and form is discernible. The title sequences made in 1963 and 1964 tend to embody a sensibility and references derived from the practice of magazine art direction; while those from the latter years of the programme reflect their creators’ increasing involvement in film direction.39

A sequence crudely animated with a Rostrum bench camera to the specially commissioned Manfred Mann tune “5,4,3,2,1,” of late 1963, represents a realisation and extension of the kinetic potential of the magazine medium in two ways. Firstly, the speed of the staggered zoom towards the letterforms increases in parallel to the rising tempo of the music until the words fill the whole screen and burst beyond its framing capacity, furthering the explosiveness of full-bleed in a print context. Secondly, the title sequence accelerates the activity of turning over the sequenced pages in a magazine. Tom Wolsey’s syncopated pagination of Town, for example, juxtaposed pictorially and typographically dominated layouts and carried elements across the page turn.40

Furthermore, the experience of watching a television set of the period was a conscious act. With its poor reception and 405-line resolution, the set would have functioned less as a window for viewers to look through, and more as a frame for the mosaic mesh of ceaselessly scanning dots to be looked at.

Another Rostrum-animated sequence, used during the summer of 1964, and underscored by another Manfred Mann tune, “Hubble Bubble,” reveals a more sophisticated interaction with screen space than before. While previously the screen was treated like a contained editorial spread, within which photographs and illustrations were manipulated; now the screen could be engaged with as a selected viewpoint in a continuous field of action. It provides a marked contrast with the traditional methods of lettering and use of centred caption cards that had characterised graphic design for television since its inception, and that were still widely practiced. Graphic activity tended to be confined to what the television design manuals called the “safety area”—originally necessitated by the poor quality of television reception and perpetuated by producers who sent requisition forms to the designers with lists of credit information neatly typed and squarely centred.

The“Hubble Bubble” sequence presents the face of a woman moving on horizontal and diagonal axes and then beyond the limits of the framed white space. The movement is so fast that the black of her hair leaves a strobe-like trail in the wake of each swishing movement. “Strobing,” as defined and discouraged by The Guild of TV Producers and Directors in The Grammar of TV Production 1966 is “a streaking juddering effect caused by the camera and the subject moving too fast in relation to one another.”41

The face comes to rest in the centre of the screen and a new working surface is created by the camera zooming into the simple Op-art forms of a pair of circular sunglasses. A selection of bizarre and incongruent Victorian engravings appears in succession upon the circular lenses. The images—which the sequence’s designer Schwartzman sampled from the Weaver Smith collection of engravings, that, from 1961 onwards, was situated in Rediffusion’s library adjacent to the design department on the fourth floor—can be seen as part of a widespread revival of interest in Victoriana within many areas of art and design production and consumption at this time.42 This non-reverential sampling of Victorian artifacts and ephemera for surreal effect is probably best exemplified by Terry Gilliam’s graphics for the “Monty Python” BBC Television Series in 1969 and was part of a larger impetus in which the iconography of the Imperial past and an absurd renegotiation of militaria was used to satirise the Establishment.

A title sequence produced in the summer of 1966, marks a departure in content and form, not only from the genre of contemporary television title sequences but also, from those that had been used to introduce “RSG!” to date. While the early sequences celebrate surface (through use of archetypal pop symbols such as the target) this one introduces a more hallucinatory vision of reality, beginning to show the influences of Psychedelia and the questioning impulse of an emergent Underground. It features two pieces of film—one a piece of archival footage of jitterbugging dancers and the other of Cathy McGowan shot in a pastoral location—cut to the Atlantic Records soul track “Land of 1,000 Dances,” by Wilson Pickett.

Instead of the profusion of pop images that characterised previous sequences, this one is minimalist in its concentration upon a limited range of repeated shots and images creating patterns, redolent of experimental film of the 1920s. Jump cuts that disrupt the continuity of Cathy’s turning head resonate with an informality of direction and movement associated with the use of hand-held camera work, found in the French Nouvelle Vague films of Jean Luc Godard and François Truffaut. Additionally, the use of high and low angles rather than a reliance on centred shots implies the director was seeing with a cinematic rather than a graphic eye.

The content and messages of this sequence, too, mark a distinct shift in mood from that of earlier sequences. This change is played out in a concentrated form through a conflict between two oppositional modes of behaviour. Cathy is shown as passive, fluid and trance-like, repeatedly covering her face with her hands. Interspersed with these shots are scenes of jitterbuggers who are energetic, angular and excitable. She is shown sitting in a field, a possible reference to the emergence of student “sit-ins” as a form of political protest. Her location may also suggest a rejection of the values implicit in a consumerist, materialist Western society, values that had been celebrated, or at least promoted emphatically, in previous title sequences. Her silent scream is suggestive of the fine line between dream and nightmare, good and bad trip, the “nyktomorph” of Christopher Booker’s The Neophiliacs.43 It hints at some great and unseen horror such as the atrocities of the Vietnam war, and presages a retreat into meditational silence and an exploration of the inner spaces of time, memory and imagination that would dominate the next phase of 1960s visual production.

The transition, traced within these “RSG!” title sequences, from a reliance on a graphically oriented idiom to an exploration of a filmic medium, reflects the way in which the preoccupations of their creators had shifted. The experience and contacts that Arnold Schwartzman and Clive Arrowsmith had gained from designing this programme provided them with a route from the practice of graphic design in a television company to the direction of commercials and ultimately to the direction and production of feature film and documentaries.44


From the margins to the mainstream

Fittingly, stories of the Beatles’ imminent retirement were published the same week as the announcement that the last transmission of “RSG!” would take place on December 23, 1966. Daphne Shadwell, who was called to help direct this final show, explains, “the programme had become too big and smooth; it was getting like ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’…its spontaneity and wildness were getting lost.” On a more practical level, she remembers, “it was getting too expensive to present the bands live.”45 Complaints voiced by the Musicians Union, whose members were not getting enough work led, in June 1966, to the introduction of an all-out ban on television shows which allowed artists to mime to their records. “RSG!” had employed this non-miming policy on an informal basis since 1965, but the official ruling and the escalating popularity of the featured groups began to put excessive strain upon the programme’s budget.

Photographic images in the national press of the bank holiday disturbances at seaside towns during 1964, gave the mods a widespread visual tangibility and a label that entered the contemporary lexicon.46 Similarly, by seeking to represent the verbal and visual codes of the mod subculture, “RSG!” had rendered it recognisable and, therefore, imitable. By 1966, the mod movement, according to cultural theorist Dick Hebdige, began to fracture under the pressures “of the media, market forces and internal contradictions—between keeping private and going public…”47 So “RSG!,” through its very success as a disseminator of the nuances of a mod lifestyle, played a major part in destroying its target audience. Like a quintessential pop product with concomitant expendability and built-in obsolescence, it created the conditions for its own demise. “Not only was ‘RSG!’ in advance of its time,” observed Melly, “it knew when its moment was over. It was true to Pop even in this.”48


1 For broader discussions of the period under consideration see for instance A. Marwick’s The Sixties (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998) and R. Hewison’s Too Much: Art and Society in the Sixties, 1960-75 (London: Methuen, 1986). 2 N. Whiteley, Pop Design, Modernism to Mod (London: The Design Council, 1987), p.6. 3 John Lawton has described the notion of an establishment as one based on ‘the English constitution and the group of institutions and outlying agencies built around it for its protection’. J. Lawton, Five Hundred Days, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1992), p.21. 4 A. Higgins, A. Holme, M.Masheder (eds.), Family Viewing—A Study of Early Evening Television, (London: The Council of Children’s Welfare, 1960). 5 T. Wolfe, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, (New York: Pocket Cardinal, 1966), p.47. 6 M. Aldred, “Our Neighbours Hate Us,” RSG! Magazine, (London, 1964), p.23. 7 For more details of the questionnaires sent to RSG! viewers and interviews carried out with the individuals quoted in this chapter see A. Twemlow, “Ready, Steady, Go!: the evolution of a televisual pop-graphic language 1963-66,” unpublished RCA/V&A History of Design M.A. dissertation (London: Royal College of Art, 1996). 8 B. Sendall, Independent TV in Britain, 1958-68, Vol 2, (Macmillan, 1983). 9 Questionnaire 4 from “RSG!” viewer. For details see Twemlow, “Ready, Steady, Go!.10 F. Cordell, “Gold Pan Alley: A Survey of the Popular Song Field,” Ark, (London: The Royal College of Art, 1957), p.21. 11 K. Fordyce, “Putting Zip into the Show,” RSG! Annual, (London: Associated Rediffusion, 1964), p.21. 12 P. Oakes, “Let’s Go with Elkan Allen,” The Sunday Times Colour Magazine, (19 September 1965), p.39. 13 Scholarship centering on this period in Britain identifies the mods as a significant subcultural force. Examples include Hall, S. and Jefferson, T., Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-war Britain (London: Hutchinson, 1975); Hebdige, D., Subculture: The Meaning of Style (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1979), and J. Green, All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture (London: Jonathan Cape, 1998). 14 “The Modelmakers,” The Sunday Times Colour Magazine, 10 May, 1964. 15 G. Melly, “Gesture Goes Classless,” New Society, 17 June, 1965, p.26. 16 Interview with Nicholas Ferguson, 22 September, 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady, Go!.” 17 Ibid. 18 Aldwych Theatre, 1962, directed by William Gaskill. 19 Interview with Nicholas Ferguson, 22 September, 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady, Go!.” 20 A Robert Rauschenberg exhibition took place at the Whitechapel gallery, London, during February 1964 and a Kurt Schwitters exhibition was at The Marlborough Gallery, London, March–April 1963. 21 For Dada and Surrealist artists such as Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters and Hannah Höch, the use of collage and photomontage techniques was a way of introducing fragments of the real world into art. Born out of Picasso and Braque’s early experiments with ‘synthetic’ cubism these artists produced disturbing avant-garde works by the juxtaposition of diverse material including scraps of newspaper, sheet music, anatomical diagrams, commercial packaging and photographs. As David Hopkins has observed, such strategies represented a departure from earlier more formalist notions of ‘autonomous’ art and a new attempt to examine the very nature of modern experience. In this respect, the collages that were produced were intended to serve as commentaries on contemporary life rather than as narrow expositions on art. See D. Hopkins, Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 4. 22 S. Themerson, “Kurt Schwitters on a Time Chart,” Typographica 16, (December 1967). 23 Cordell, “Gold Pan Alley—A Survey of the Popular Song Field” 24 Interview with Nicholas Ferguson, 22 September, 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady, Go!.” 25 J. McHale, “The Expendable Ikon,” Architectural Design, (February 1959), p.82. 26 N. Ferguson, “Pop Goes the Artist,” Ready Steady Go! Annual, (London: TV Publications Ltd., 1965). 27 A cyclorama is a curved, stretched sky-cloth giving the impression of infinite distance, when lit. 28 R. Levin, Television By Design (London: Bodley Head Ltd.,1961). 29 Cordell, “Gold Pan Alley—A Survey of the Popular Song Field,” pp. 20-23. 30 G. Melly, Revolt into Style—The Pop Arts in Britain, (London: Penguin Press, 1970), p.167. The approach may have derived, in part, from the BBC’s satirical news programme “That Was The Week That Was” which, before it ended in December 1963, had a five-month overlap with “RSG!.” 31 Ready Steady Go! Annual, (London: TV Publications Ltd, TV House, 1965). 32 Dick Lester’s revolutionary use of jump-cut editing, unusual camera angles, extreme zooms, and fast and slow motion sequences in Hard Day’s Night are described in detail in G. Melly, Revolt into Style—The Pop Arts in Britain, (London: Penguin Press, 1970), p.167. 33 L. Alloway, “The Long Front of Culture,” Cambridge Opinion 17 (1959), pp. 25–26. 34 M. McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage, (London: Penguin Press, 1967), p.125 35 Interview with Michael Yates 28 October 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady Go!.” 36 Gebrauchsgraphik, (August 1960), pp. 26–34. 37 This fear of subliminal influence was part of a wider anxiety generated by McCarthyism in the USA and a rash of publications on the subject, most notably, Vance Packard’s emotive text The Hidden Persuaders, first published by David McKay in New York in 1957, and first published in Britain by Longmans Green in 1957 and republished as a Penguin Special in 1960. 38 Interview with Arnold Schwartzman 26 October,, 1995. Interview with Sidney King, 28 March, 1996. See Twemlow, ‘Ready Steady, Go!’. In the 1960s Victorian artifacts and ephemera—that had been treated reverently around the anniversary of the Great Exhibition in 1951—began to be sampled in a more eclectic and playful manner. This trend would reach its culmination in Terry Gilliam’s animated Victorian engravings for “Monty Python” in 1969. Many art directors, illustrators, and designers of the period frequented an antique shop called Dodo Designs opened by Robin Farrow in 1963 in Westbourne Grove. It sold commercial Victoriana such as original and reproduction enamel signs, tin boxes, labels, playbills, and old lettering. 39 Clive Arrowsmith went on to be a fashion photographer, with Vogue, Harpers, and Esquire among his clients. He also directed commercials for brands such as Heinz, Revlon, and Hamlet Cigars, and music videos for artists including Jamiroquai, Jules Holland, and Def Leppard. Arnold Schwartzman moved to Los Angeles and directed films and documentaries in addition to running his graphic design practice. He won an Oscar in 1982 for his documentary feature Genocide. 40 Clive Arrowsmith, the designer of this sequence, often did commissions for Tom Wolsey and it was one of these that secured him his job at Rediffusion. Interview with Clive Arrowsmith, 27, March, 1996. 41 D. Davis, The Grammar of TV Production, (London: The Guild of TV Producers and Directors, 1966). 42 Interview with Arnold Schwartzman 26 October, 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady, Go!.” 43 C. Booker, The Neophiliacs—The Revolution on English Life in the Fifties and Sixties, (London: Pimlico, 1992, originally published 1969) p. 56. 44 Similarly, Nicholas Ferguson, the set designer, also went on to become a director of dramatic productions and pop videos. Interview with Ferguson, 22 September, 1995. See Twemlow, “Ready Steady, Go!.” 45 Ibid. Interview with Daphne Shadwell and John P. Hamilton, 8 January, 1995. 46 R. Barnes, Mods! (London: Plexus Publishing Ltd, 1991). 47 D. Hebdige, Subculture and the Meaning of Style, (London: Methuen, 1979), p.52. 48 Melly, Revolt into Style, p.171.

"Ready Steady Go!' logo, by Arnold Schwartzman, 1963

Cathy McGowan and Arnold Schwartzman on the set of "Ready Steady Go!", 1964

Album cover design for "Ready Steady Go!" by Arnold Schwartzman