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Ready Steady Go! and Cathy McGowan

 

 

 

Ready Steady Go!

We look at the TV series which took popular music on TV in Britain from corny to cool.
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Britain in 1963. In a land with a dire shortage of radio stations & lacking a TV outlet for the beat generation, Ready Steady Go was a breath of fresh air. "The weekend starts here" was the proclamation and for most British youth this was true. First broadcast from Rediffusion's London studio in Kingsway in the heart of the west end between Holborn and The Aldwych, (and just around the corner from the London School of Economics where Mick Jagger had studied), the show was hosted by Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan. Fordyce was from the 'old school' of presenters, and something of an anachronism amongst the fab and cool things of the Mod Generation, and was soon overshadowed by accidental discovery Cathy who had been working in the TV company's production office.

 

Keith Fordyce

       

   
Cathy McGowan
    
Cathy marries Hywel Bennett 


Cathy quickly became a role model and nominated the Queen of the Mods. Some very cool people appeared on the show - and that was just in the audience. Clothes and dancing ability were all-important for candidates for the show's audience. The rewards were great as successful entrants would regularly be rubbing shoulders with The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, The Rolling Stones, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Marvin Gaye, Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, Sandie Shaw, The Animals and Manfred Mann. 

 

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Martha and The Vandellas     Cool Mods in the audience 
   

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Cathy is quoted as saying that she blundered her way through each show and some of the remaining episodes salvaged on video do confirm the 'spontaneous and seemingly unrehearsed' nature of the show. But her raw energy, enthusiasm, style and beauty made-up for any lack of interviewing or presentation technique. 

 

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Cathy with Donovan 

 

Cathy launched her own range of clothes and accessories as well as a record player and other items.

 

   

     

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RSG's main 'rival', the BBC's Top Of The Pops, although outlasting RSG by 32 years, did not have the impact, credibility and energy that RSG manifested in its short 4-year run. With the coming of hippies and psychedelia, the beat and mod generation gave way to concept albums and beads, RSG became less relevant and Cathy 'retired' from TV. First she married the actor Hywel Bennett. The two were a popular couple and there were sure to be several guests who received special wedding invitations to the event. Many popular weddings today have their own special customized wedding invitations sent out to guests - more info on customizing wedding invitations is at http://www.mixbook.com/cards/wedding-invitations. Cathy, more recently became a partner to singer Michael Ball. These days she has established herself as a style guru to the stars.

Keith Fordyce was latterly a DJ on local radio around the country and died in 2011. 

 

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Peter Noone     Manfred Mann
   

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Dusty Springfield  

 

RSG has left a legacy and to this day both the programme and presenter Cathy are synonymous with cool. Items bearing her name, such as shoes and bags, achieve high figures on eBay. The show finished in 1966 at the height of its popularity and has achieved cult status to a new generation, courtesy in part by the release for transmission in the eighties by copyright owner Dave Clark (of Dave Clark Five) of several episodes on Channel 4. These have been since released on video and DVD.

 



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Cilla Black

 

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Ready Steady Go! and Cathy McGowan.

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