1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 6 (UK)
120 x 25 minute episodes
Every Tuesday and Friday tea time from 1963 to 1966, children throughout Britain settled down in front of the telly to watch the glove puppet antics of Ollie Beak and Fred Barker on The Five O’clock Club.
Ollie (an opinionated Liverpudlian owl in a school cap, voiced by Wally Whyton) and Fred (a dog voiced by Basil Brush man Ivan Owen), with assistance from Muriel Young and Howard Williams (later replaced by Whyton), would introduce star turns from Kathy Kirby and Sandie Shaw, while Fanny and Johnny Cradock taught the kids Happy Cooking, Graham Dangerfield talked about pets, and Jimmy Handley (father of future Magpie presenter Jenny) made models.
There were also guitar spots from show regular Bert Weedon. Ah, innocent days – Or were they?
Since Alexis Korner was the musical director on the show and was so kind-hearted that he would regularly give chances to musicians that other people just wouldn’t work with, the studio band for The Five O’clock Club were renowned for their . . . shall we say, chemical ingestion.
It became a kind of rehabilitation unit for ailing jazz musicians.
Musical guests throughout the run of the show included Billy Fury, Adam Faith, Freddie and the Dreamers, Joe Brown, The Tornados, Dave Clark Five, The Bachelors, Marty Wilde, Vince Eager, Gene Vincent, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Chad & Jeremy, Cilla Black, The Applejacks, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Lulu and the Luvvers, Peter and Gordon, The Honeycombs, Long John Baldry, The Four Pennies, The Barron Knights, Billy J Kramer, The Merseybeats, The Settlers, Marianne Faithfull, The Migil 5, Helen Shapiro, Herman’s Hermits, Lesley Gore, The Mudlarks, The Zombies, The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, The Searchers, The Yardbirds, Eden Kane, The Nashville Teens, Georgie Fame, The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Del Shannon, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Tom Jones, Twinkle, Johnny Kidd and The Pirates, Donovan, The Walker Brothers, The Kinks, The Ivy League, The Small Faces, Kenny Lynch, The Pretty Things, Roy Orbison, Martha and the Vandellas, The Fortunes, and The Troggs.
In 1965 the show was re-titled Ollie and Fred’s Five O’clock Club – a mark of recognition for the popularity of the owl and the dog.
Muriel Young stayed as an announcer with Associated-Rediffusion until 1968 when she moved to Granada to set up children’s programmes. She was there for 12 years and was responsible for such shows as Clapperboard and pop series’ like Shang-A-Lang, Lift Off With Ayshea and Get It Together.
Later she turned to painting. Young passed away on 24 March 2001.