1 9 6 6 – 1 9 6 7 (USA)
28 x 25 minute episodes
In an attempt to cash in on the popularity of The Beatles movies A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965) US producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson interviewed 437 applicants for a madcap TV series based on the day to day life of a pop group.
The successful applicants were Micky Dolenz (formerly Mickey Braddock of Circus Boy fame), Michael Nesmith (whose mother, Bette, invented the correcting fluid used on typing errors), Peter Tork, and British actor Davy Jones (who had briefly played Ena Sharples’ grandson, Colin Lomax, in Coronation Street in March 1961).
The series won the 1966 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy and the group became worldwide chart-toppers with songs such as Last Train To Clarksville, Daydream Believer and I’m a Believer (the latter composed by the then still unknown Neil Diamond).
The group starred in their own movie in 1968 entitled Head (1968) which was co-written by Rafelson and Jack Nicholson – who would go on to co-write the blockbuster Five Easy Pieces (1970) – but it died at the box office.
The group’s last single to enter the British popular music charts was in 1969, but by that time they had already split up and gone their separate ways.
Micky Dolenz turned TV producer and in 1980 had a minor hit in Britain with a series called Metal Mickey, a children’s comedy about a robot that bore a startling resemblance to R2D2 from Star Wars (1977).
In 1997 The Monkees, who still had a massive following on both sides of the Atlantic, re-formed for a time to do a series of concerts that received less than rave reviews.
Davy Jones died at his home in Florida on 29 February 2012. The singer (aged 66) suffered a massive heart attack after spending a family weekend riding horses with his wife and her family.