THE MUSICAL MUSCLE MAN
Fellow Baby Boomers like myself will no doubt recall him. He appeared on Opportunity Knocks during the 1960’s.
OK was a talent show – a forerunner of BGT and The X Factor and all those other similar programmes predicated on low-cost TV. It was hosted by Hughie Green whose only talent seemed to be to pull a face every now and then. But it’s reassuring this tradition of talentless presenters was continued through Jimmy Savile and Noel Edmonds and is still alive and kicking today in Simon Cowell.
He had his counterpart in “Take Your Pick’s” Michael Miles. Tall and ramrod straight he was altogether more suave than Green and may well have served as Harry Enfield’s inspiration for Mr Cholmondley-Warner. The show introduced an early form of audience participation with the unwashed raggy-taggy people encouraged to shout out “Take the Money” or “Open the Box”.
For the washed, the BBC offered “What’s My Line”, with an altogether classier line-up (no offence to Mon, see below) with panellists including Gilbert Harding and Lady Isobel Barnett and Eamonn Andrews in the chair.
And then there was Juke Box Jury. It was hosted by David Jacobs who passed for a disc jockey in those days. Suited and booted, imagine Jacob Rees-Mogg as Top of the Pops linkman and you have the idea. But the star of the show was Monica.
“Mon” was a random picked out to join the artists (celebs hadn’t been invented then) on the jury of four to rate the new releases. The programme struck pure gold when she first said in a thick Brummy accent, “Oi’ll give it foive”. She stayed as a permanent feature!
But to return to the Musical Muscle Man - you’d have to google him to find out his name. But he won OK for several weeks running with an act that constituted waggling his muscles in his underpants to the accompaniment of “Wheels”. (To clarify, he waggled his muscles while wearing underpants and not that he waggled the muscles inside his underpants).
It is tempting to look back on those days and imbue them with a kind of nascent TV innocence. But has much changed? Stavros Flatly, for instance?
Yes, indeed. I realise how far things have come from those days when I see low-cost TV like Gogglebox.