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.
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.
Later she turned to painting. Young passed away on 24 March 2001.