Lift Off with Ayshea

Lift Off with Ayshea is a British TV show, produced by Granada Television for the ITV network, and starring Ayshea Brough, which ran for 122 editions spanning eight series, between November 1969 and December 1974.[1]

'Lift Off & Lift Off with Ayshea'
GenreMusic, children
Created byMuriel Young
Directed byDave Warwick
Baz Taylor
StarringAyshea Brough
Wally Whyton
Ollie Beak
Fred Barker
Graham Bonney
Theme music composerRoy Wood
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series8
No. of episodes122
Production
ProducerMuriel Young
Running time25 minutes
Production companyGranada
DistributorITV
Release
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3 ratio
Audio formatMonaural
First shown inNovember 1969 - December 1974
Original release5 November 1969 (1969-11-05)
Chronology
Related showsShang-A-Lang, Get It Together

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 (formally Ayshea Brough) had appeared on the earlier Discotheque in March 1969[4] and was one of the first women of Asian heritage to present a British television series, initially co-hosting the show with Graham Bonney and later singer Wally Whyton. The series was produced by Muriel Young, who also produced 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 and 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 children's 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 an 'R'. 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 Top of the Pops on BBC1.

Of the 122 episodes made, only three are confirmed as having survived in the ITV archives. All other episodes were accidentally destroyed when they were sent to be digitized. In January 2019, it was announced that a fan's home recording of David Bowie's 1972 Lift Off appearance had been discovered. That episode marked the first-ever appearance of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" persona, and was broadcast one month before his memorable Top of the Pops performance as Ziggy.[6]

Lift Off 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 three series were produced by Muriel Young.

SeriesEdit

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 3A & 3B: 10 August – 7 September 1971 & 13 October 1971 - 5 January 1972. 20 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. 25 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, Suzi Quatro, Kiki Dee, Hector, Polly Brown, David Essex & Barry Blue.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lift Off". Homepage.ntlworld.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  2. ^ Cridland, James (14 October 2013). "Don't be a girl DJ!". Retrieved 20 October 2013. (Name sometimes spelt Diane)
  3. ^ Diane Greaves at IMDb (Name sometimes spelt Dianne)
  4. ^ "LIFT OFF / LIFT OFF WITH AYSHEA". Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  5. ^ "The Official Website". Timeslip. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Only Known Footage of David Bowie's First TV Performance as Ziggy Stardust is Found". 29 January 2019.

External linksEdit