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A Whole Scene Going

1 9 6 6 (UK)

A Whole Scene Going was the first real teenage lifestyle programme with features on Carnaby Street fashions, the London club scene and package holidays in Italy.

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This 30-minute weekly programme was the brainchild of producer Elizabeth Cowley, who had worked out the format after extensive research, using reporters from the BBC regions.

The show had a ‘pop’ remit but wasn’t just about music. It addressed youth culture in general, covering items such as fashion, art, sport, travel, clubs and cinema.

Broadcast live from BBC Television Centre at 6.30 every Wednesday evening and  co-hosted by Fantoni and Wendy Varnals, a typical episode (aired on 8 June 1966) featured a visit to Paris with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich; a look at bed-sits and flats in London; a talk with Ravi Shankar about Indian `pop’ music; music from The Yardbirds and The Kinks; and an interview with Charlton Heston.

The hosts, deliberately chosen for their relative youth (so they didn’t talk down to the target audience) were 25-year-old actress and Oxbridge graduate Wendy Varnals and Barry Fantoni, who was an artist/cartoonist for the Observer and Private Eye.

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Twiggy made her first TV appearance on this show and Fantoni (pictured at right) and his “hot seat” interview was the first time TV took rock ideas seriously.

Pete Townshend famously discussed drugs, and tempers flared when producer Mickie Most refused to answer Fantoni’s questions.

The show was axed after just one series – in mysterious circumstances that still attract libel writs – and replaced shortly afterwards with Simon Dee’s chat show, Dee Time, which quickly became a must-do gig for pop groups with records to sell.

Hosts
Wendy Varnals
Barry Fantoni