1 9 6 2 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
A variation on the successful Juke Box Jury format, Needle Match came from Associated-Rediffusion and presented a head-to-head battle between the latest releases from the USA and Great Britain.
The show featured a young actor named Oliver Reed, billed as the “British Promoter”, against Radio Luxembourg’s Canadian DJ, David Gell, the “American Promoter”. Reed and Gell would each play a new record – one British, one American – and a jury of eleven young international students would vote by holding up a small British flag or a small American flag to indicate which record they preferred.
A young, relatively unknown chap named David Frost would run around and collect the flags, which were then counted, and the winning song was announced.
Members of the viewing public could also vote for the best new disc of the week by sending in postcards.
Needle Match was “refereed” by Keith Fordyce and included guest artists and dance routines. Later “promoters” included Wally Whyton and Don Moss, with Jim Dale also sitting in for Fordyce on at least one occasion.
The show wasn’t fully networked but was seen in large swathes of the UK.