1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 9 (UK)
152 x 45 minute episodes
31-year-old Simon Dee (born Cyril Henty-Dodd) hosted this 45-minute programme from the BBC, which was bold, lively and expressive of what was happening at the time – a fast-moving mix of chat, comedy and music.
Included in the first programme were Cat Stevens and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and respected artists just kept on coming – Manfred Mann, Donovan, The Move, The Turtles, Small Faces, PP Arnold, Eric Burdon and more.
Recorded initially in the old Top Of The Pops studio (a former church in Dickenson Road, Manchester), Dee Time proved itself on Tuesdays and Thursdays and was moved to early Saturday evening after five months on the air, displacing the long-running Juke Box Jury.
At the same time, the show moved from Manchester to studio G at Lime Grove, where the show acquired an introduction as distinctive as its closing credits . . .
The sports programme Grandstand was being transmitted from studio H next door, with Len Marten as the voice of the football results.
The Dee Time producers asked Len if he would like to earn a few more bob by popping in and doing the voiceover for the beginning of the show. So he did the “Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimon Dee!”
His tenure at the BBC came to an end in December 1969, after an approach from London Weekend’s head of variety Tito Burns, offering a £100,000, two-year contract.
Even if he had been able to match the LWT offer, Bill Cotton would almost certainly not have been inclined to do so, as his regular clashes with Dee had used up whatever goodwill he felt towards the star.
At the end of the run in July 1970, Dee was quietly dropped by LWT, and his career never recovered from the blow. Reportedly on Social Security, he made a brief news item when he was arrested outside Buckingham Palace trying to deliver a letter to the Queen in 1981.
He died in 2009 at the age of 73.