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Supersonic

1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 7 (UK)
1 9 8 3 (UK)
58 x 30 minute episodes
1 x 60 minute special

TV director and Supersonic creator Mike Mansfield had been working with producer Muriel Young at Granada, directing editions of Lift Off. With Supersonic he not only controlled the gallery but effectively also hosted the show as there was no studio presenter.

The show was trialled with a one-off programme seen only in London in March 1975, after which it was deemed worthy of an extended run, starting in September of that year.

Artists often performed more than one number, perhaps even a version of a hit from a couple of years ago, working their way around a jet black set that was furnished with gantries, scaffolding and a giant illuminated star.

The silver-maned, pencil-waving Mansfield ruled the roost from behind the control desk, yelling instructions for the crew that doubled as intros to the performers: “Good luck everybody and roll Supersonic“; “Stand by Slade with Mama Weer All Crazee Now, cue music and take 2!”.

Cameras raced around the busy studio, shooting performers from above, below, in front and behind, as dry ice swirled across the floor and confetti, streamers and balloons showered from the ceiling.

A small but enthusiastic audience was occasionally brought into view but generally kept well out of reach of their idols in raised seating.

The format impressed all the other ITV regions who bought into the project, although they screened it at different times on different days in the various regions.

In London, it was a Saturday morning show, designed to slot into a mix of adventure series, cartoons and competitions hosted by Sally James under the umbrella title of Saturday Scene.

Ratings dwindled after less than a year and the final series began in September 1976, by which time the show had been relegated to the midday slot as part of the newly-merged children’s programme Supersonic Saturday Scene.

The final episode was broadcast at 11.00am on 2 April 1977.

The Show returned on 27 December 1983 for a one-off airing on Channel 4 featuring Elton John, Meat Loaf and Status Quo.

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