1 9 7 7 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Following his mammoth success throughout the 70s with T. Rex, Marc Bolan’s very own television pop show was long overdue and coincided with his upturn in popularity.
The six-part series – commissioned by Granada TV in Manchester and produced by music and children’s television veteran Muriel Young – featured T. Rex performing TV-friendly versions of their greatest hits, alongside newer tracks, with special guests drawn from the burgeoning UK punk scene, alongside more traditional acts.
The first programme, recorded on 9 August and transmitted on 24 August 1977, is typical.
T. Rex plays in with the show’s theme song, Sing Me A Song, and perform I Love To Boogie, new single Celebrate Summer, and finally, Jeepster.
In between, The Jam performed All Around The World, Stephanie de Sykes and Showaddywaddy promoted their latest 45s, and the execrable dance troupe Heart Throb pranced around to the Bay City Rollers‘ current hit.
Bolan’s delivery throughout the series was camp, camera-loving and energetic, clad in leopard skin and satin, his weight down to around only nine stone. The tea time broadcast slot limited the show’s appeal, but it was an undoubted success for Marc.
For the final episode, recorded on 7 September, T. Rex performed a new punked-up version of Debora – Bolan’s debut chart hit – and a hastily-written finale with special guest David Bowie. The unfinished song, loosely known as Standing Next To You, is the only confirmed collaboration between the 1970s two colossi.
Stroppy studio technicians refused to work any later than the scheduled 7 pm ending time, so the full potential was never realised. Viewers were left with a tantalising glimpse of Marc Bolan in skin-tight drain pipe Levi’s and a ripped t-shirt falling off the stage as Bowie grinned from ear to ear.
Bowie is said to have called out, “please could we have a wooden box for Marc [to stand on]”.
Before the final programme’s links could be completed, Bolan was dead, killed in a horrific accident in Barnes, South West London on the morning of 16 September 1977, in a crash which almost claimed the life of his partner, Gloria Jones, also.