1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 1 (UK)
65 x 60 minute episodes
Of all the superb television variety shows which came out of the UK during the late 60s and early 70s, This Is . . . Tom Jones was arguably the finest.
The long-running series from ITC/ATV debuted on Sunday 12 January 1969 and starred the amiable Welshman at the absolute peak of his career, often duetting with his tremendous guest stars including Lulu, Mary Hopkin, Frankie Vaughan, Paul Anka, Glen Campbell, Sammy Davis Jr, The Who, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liza Minnelli, Dusty Springfield, The Dave Clark Five, Cass Elliot, The Hollies, Sandie Shaw, Bob Hope, Harry Secombe, Chet Atkins, The Bee Gees, Tony Bennett, Johnny Cash, Donovan, Engelbert Humperdinck, Janis Joplin, Little Richard, Matt Monro, Anthony Newley, Carl Perkins, Wilson Pickett, Peter Sellers, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Nancy Sinatra, The Supremes, Raquel Welch, Tim Conway, Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark and John Denver.
Jones was the first British singer to host a series networked across the US, and while the first few telecasts originated in London and featured mostly English stars, production then alternated between London and Hollywood, with top American stars, especially popular musicians, appearing as well.
The show had a very contemporary quality, especially during the second season when the Ace Trucking Company – an improvisational comedy troupe consisting of four boys and one girl – joined as regulars.
After the last big, brassy musical number, Tom would wish his viewers a good night in traditional Welsh, saying, “Gwyn eich byd a dymunaf i chwi lawenydd bob amser.” Although there was some speculation about what he was really saying (how many Americans understand Welsh?), it meant, simply, “May you always be well and be happy.”