The Weekend Starts Here! Fabulous Photos of Classic Pop TV Show – Ready Steady Go!

John Varney, Sheffield 'Ace Face' replied 'are you kidding mate - the weekend starts here' and the slogan was born.

British broadcaster and journalist Cathy McGowan (left) and Scottish singer Lulu at the 'Ready Steady Go!' New Year party, January 1966. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

British broadcaster and journalist Cathy McGowan (left) and Scottish singer Lulu at the ‘Ready Steady Go!’ New Year party, January 1966. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Soon after the recording of the pilot episode of a new pop music show was completed on Tuesday July 16th 1963 the presenter Keith Fordyce (previously involved with ABC’s ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’) approached a group of Mods who had travelled from Sheffield’s King Mojo club and said ‘so you chaps have come all the way from Sheffield on a Tuesday no less. I expect you’ll be eager to go home and get back to work, what with the weekend coming up and all.’

John Varney, Sheffield ‘Ace Face’ replied ‘are you kidding mate – the weekend starts here’ and the slogan was born. Over the next three years Pete Stringfellow and the Sheffield Mojo crowd were regulars on the now renamed Ready Steady Go!.

Ready Steady Go! was a British rock/pop music television programme produced by Associated-Rediffusion broadcast on Friday evenings from 9 August 1963 until 23 December 1966 and presented usually by Keith Fordyce and the demure ‘Queen of the Mods’ Cathy McGowan. McGowan had been working in an office at the television company when she answered an advertisement for a ‘typical teenager’ to act as a ‘youth advisor’ to the show and was thrust, without any previous experience whatsoever, in front of the cameras as one of the main presenters. George Harrison described her as ‘….the posh bird who gets everything wrong’ “.

Rediffusion at the time, according to the Guardian, was a company headed up by ex-naval types who ran it like a ship, posting schedules in seafaring jargon: “Rehearsals will begin at eight bells on the lower deck.” The artists, of course, were the stars of show but the trendy audience, chosen the day before from Carnaby Street by the production team, came close.

The series was initially recorded at small studios in Rediffusion’s headquarters in Kingsway. As the studios were compact, to say the least, it was not possible to hide cameras which then became a featured part of the show with audience members shoved out of the way by panicking camera operators. The show later moved to Rediffusion’s Studio 5 at Wembley, enabling artists to perform live. Artists’ own recorded backing tracks were not allowed by the Musicians’ Union so the whole of Studio 5 (normally divided into 5a and 5b) was used so an orchestra could perform the backing live.

The show was cancelled late in 1966. Michael Lindsay-Hogg, one of the directors, once said, “Most of the shows were wiped because tape was so expensive, so stuff like the James Brown special and The Who special are gone forever. I took home £37 a week but, every so often, I’d buy a video tape and preserve it. It cost me £1 a minute, but the only reason any shows survive is because I did that.”

December 1964: British pop singer Sandie Shaw appears on the TV programme 'Ready Steady Go'. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

December 1964: British pop singer Sandie Shaw appears on the TV programme ‘Ready Steady Go’. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

18th August 1965: Hostess of the television pop programme 'Ready Steady Go' Cathy McGowan. (Photo by David Cairns/Express/Getty Images)

18th August 1965: Hostess of the television pop programme ‘Ready Steady Go’ Cathy McGowan. (Photo by David Cairns/Express/Getty Images)

12th November 1965: French pop singer Sylvie Vartan on the set of television programme 'Ready Steady Go' with the show's presenter Cathy McGowan. (Photo by R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images)

12th November 1965: French pop singer Sylvie Vartan on the set of television programme ‘Ready Steady Go’ with the show’s presenter Cathy McGowan. (Photo by R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images)

21st January 1965: Folk-pop singer-songwriter, Donovan rehearsing for a television appearance on the 'Ready Steady Go' pop programme at ITV house in London. He has a Dylan-style harmonica frame and his trademark guitar with its 'This Machine Kills' sticker. This was the first break for the 18 year old unknown. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images)

21st January 1965: Folk-pop singer-songwriter, Donovan rehearsing for a television appearance on the ‘Ready Steady Go’ pop programme at ITV house in London. He has a Dylan-style harmonica frame and his trademark guitar with its ‘This Machine Kills’ sticker. This was the first break for the 18 year old unknown. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images)

Ike and Tina Turner performing at Wembley Studios, 1966. Photo by David Redfern

Ready Steady Go!

James Brown performing at Wembley Studios, 1966. Photo by David Redfern. He recorded a James Brown special but the tapes were wiped.

8th April 1965: Cathy McGowan, presenter of British pop music television programme 'Ready Steady Go !' (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

8th April 1965: Cathy McGowan, presenter of British pop music television programme ‘Ready Steady Go !’ (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

14th September 1965: Cathy McGowan, the presenter of the British pop music television show 'Ready Steady Go'. (Photo by Richard Chowen/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

14th September 1965: Cathy McGowan, the presenter of the British pop music television show ‘Ready Steady Go’. (Photo by Richard Chowen/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Ready Steady Go!

The Rolling Stones, photo by George Wilkes

Diana Ross and the Supremes on Ready Steady Go!

Diana Ross and the Supremes on Ready Steady Go! 1964

Beatles rehearsing Ready Steady Go 1964

The Beatles, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield, Eden Kane and Keith Fordyce on the set of RSG!

The Beatles, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield, Eden Kane and Keith Fordyce on the set of RSG!

 

15th April 1966: American pop singer Lou Christie (born Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco) appearing on the British music show Ready Steady Go. (Photo by Caroline Gillies/BIPs/Getty Images)

Marvin Gaye “READY STEADY GO” Photo of Marvin GAYE, Posed at Television House, Kingsway 20 nov 1966

Marvin Gaye “READY STEADY GO” Photo of Marvin GAYE, Posed at Television House, Kingsway 20 nov 1966

 

Resident dancers Patrick Kerr and his wife, Theresa Confrey, dancing during a recording of the British pop music TV programme 'Ready Steady Go!', London, February 1964. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Resident dancers Patrick Kerr and his wife, Theresa Confrey, dancing during a recording of the British pop music TV programme ‘Ready Steady Go!’, London, February 1964. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

15th April 1966: American pop singer Lou Christie (born Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco) appearing on the British music show Ready Steady Go. (Photo by Caroline Gillies/BIPs/Getty Images)

Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Ian Stewart (road manager:keyboard player) posed on the set of ‘Ready Steady Go!’ TV Show at Wembley Studios. May 27, 1966.

The Kinks, 1965

Ray Davies of the Kinks

Brian Jones in 1966

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Patrick Kerr and his wife, Theresa Confrey, dancing during a recording of the British pop music TV programme ‘Ready Steady Go!’, London, February 1964.

Dusty on Ready Steady Go

Television presenter Cathy McGowan (right) outside the Savoy Hotel, London, with her brother John and sister Frankie, 4th September 1965. McGowan presents the pop music television show 'Ready Steady Go' and has been attending a lunch at the Savoy for winners of the Melody Maker pop poll. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Television presenter Cathy McGowan (right) outside the Savoy Hotel, London, with her brother John and sister Frankie, 4th September 1965. McGowan presents the pop music television show ‘Ready Steady Go’ and has been attending a lunch at the Savoy for winners of the Melody Maker pop poll. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones appearing on the television show 'Ready Steady Go', 14th February 1964. From left to right, Brian Jones on harmonica, Mick Jagger on maracas, bassist Bill Wyman, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Keith Richards. (Photo by Frank Martin/BIPS/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones appearing on the television show ‘Ready Steady Go’, 14th February 1964. From left to right, Brian Jones on harmonica, Mick Jagger on maracas, bassist Bill Wyman, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Keith Richards. (Photo by Frank Martin/BIPS/Getty Images)

26th March 1965: Cathy McGowan and David Goldsmith in the Rediffusion television studio where they hosted 'Ready Steady Goes Live', an up-dated version of the popular music television show 'Ready Steady Go'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

26th March 1965: Cathy McGowan and David Goldsmith in the Rediffusion television studio where they hosted ‘Ready Steady Goes Live’, an up-dated version of the popular music television show ‘Ready Steady Go’. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Pop group The Animals performing in the 'Ready Steady Go' television studio. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Pop group The Animals performing in the ‘Ready Steady Go’ television studio. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

5th October 1963: The Beatles meet for the first time after their holidays by candlelight at the Star Steak House in Shaftsbury Avenue, London. This evening they appear on 'Ready, Steady, Go', the British music television programme. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

5th October 1963: The Beatles meet for the first time after their holidays by candlelight at the Star Steak House in Shaftsbury Avenue, London. Later that evening they appeared  on ‘Ready, Steady, Go’, the British music television programme. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

During the 5 October 1963 episode — The Beatles’ first appearance — Paul McCartney judged four teenage girls miming to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump the Broomstick” (the group had opened for Lee before becoming famous), choosing 13-year-old Melanie Coe as winner. Three years later, after Coe’s disappearance made the front page of the Daily Mirror, McCartney used the article as the basis for “She’s Leaving Home”.

A scene at the Mod's Ball, staged by the television show 'Ready Steady Go' at Wembley, London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

A scene at the Mod’s Ball, staged by the television show ‘Ready Steady Go’ at Wembley, London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

circa 1965: British pop group The Animals, from left to right; Chas Chandler, Alan Price, John Steel, Hilton Valentine and Eric Burdon in a television studio for the recording of a slot for the 'Ready Steady Go' pop programme. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

circa 1965: British pop group The Animals, from left to right; Chas Chandler, Alan Price, John Steel, Hilton Valentine and Eric Burdon in a television studio for the recording of a slot for the ‘Ready Steady Go’ pop programme. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

November 1964: Pop singers Gene Pitney and Dusty Springfield (1939 - 1999), holding copies of each others records, share a joke on the set of British television music show 'Ready Steady Go'. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

November 1964: Pop singers Gene Pitney and Dusty Springfield (1939 – 1999), holding copies of each others records, share a joke on the set of British television music show ‘Ready Steady Go’. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Cathy McGowan, presenter of the TV pop programme 'Ready Steady Go', tears up her 'L' plate after passing her driving test at the first attempt, 19th January 1968. She is sitting on the bonnet of her new Mini deluxe automatic, purchased from John Sprinzel's garage in Lancaster Mews at a cost of ?672. (Photo by Bob Aylott/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Cathy McGowan, presenter of the TV pop programme ‘Ready Steady Go’, tears up her ‘L’ plate after passing her driving test at the first attempt, 19th January 1968. She is sitting on the bonnet of her new Mini deluxe automatic, purchased from John Sprinzel’s garage in Lancaster Mews at a cost of ?672. (Photo by Bob Aylott/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

25th November 1965: Hostess of the television pop programme 'Ready Steady Go' Cathy McGowan presents a signed Beatles record to Lady Mayoress Denny at the Mansion House, London. The record is donated by the Beatles as a raffle prize for the British Red Cross Society's City of London Branch Fair. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

25th November 1965: Hostess of the television pop programme ‘Ready Steady Go’ Cathy McGowan presents a signed Beatles record to Lady Mayoress Denny at the Mansion House, London. The record is donated by the Beatles as a raffle prize for the British Red Cross Society’s City of London Branch Fair. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Young mods dancing during a recording of the British pop music TV programme 'Ready Steady Go!' at the Rediffusion studios in Kingsway, London, May 1964. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Young mods dancing during a recording of the British pop music TV programme ‘Ready Steady Go!’ at the Rediffusion studios in Kingsway, London, May 1964. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

17th November 1966: Motown group The Four Tops perform their hit single 'Standing in the Shadows of Love' on the British television programme 'Ready Steady Go'. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

17th November 1966: Motown group The Four Tops perform their hit single ‘Standing in the Shadows of Love’ on the British television programme ‘Ready Steady Go’. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

15th November 1965: Ready to sing, Sylvie Vartan on television programme, Ready Steady Go, made for ITV by Associated Rediffusion. (Photo by R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images)

15th November 1965: Ready to sing, Sylvie Vartan on television programme, Ready Steady Go, made for ITV by Associated Rediffusion. (Photo by R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images)

20th March 1964: A young Beatles fan pushes her head between the shoulders of two policemen on duty outside Television House, Kingsway, London, where the Beatles are expected to appear on the ITV pop programme 'Ready, Steady, Go!' (Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images)

20th March 1964: A young Beatles fan pushes her head between the shoulders of two policemen on duty outside Television House, Kingsway, London, where the Beatles are expected to appear on the ITV pop programme ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ (Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images)