Melody Hour

Melody Hour was a light music programme, broadcast on Sunday afternoons from 1954 to 1961 and featured well-known orchestras contrasted with a guest vocalist as well as an instrumental ensemble, such as George Scott-Wood and his Music or Henry Krein and the Montmartre Players or maybe a two-piano partnership.  

The programme boasted some of the top names when it came to the orchestras used: High profile conductors such as Robert Farnon, Cyril Ornadel, Peter Yorke, Frank Chacksfield, Ron Goodwin, Sidney Torch, Geraldo,Jack Coles, Gilbert Vinter, Bernard Monshin, Max Jaffa, Michael Collins and Lou Whiteson were amongst those who contributed programmes over the years. The BBC Concert Orchestra also sometimes took part and, on one occasion in 1957 combined with the BBC Midland Light Orchestra for a special edition, broadcast live to Germany as well as simultaneously being seen on BBC television!

In 1960, the programme was extended to 90 minutes and additional guest artists were included in the line-up. Because of the extra time, the programme was retitlled 'Melody Time'. Although the Sunday series ended in 1961, a similar show entitled 'Midday Melody Hour' was broadcast at 11.30a.m during the sixties. As a title, 'Melody Hour' returned briefly on Sunday afternoons in 1966, when it featured the BBC Midland Light Orchestra with guest bands and singers.

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Text by Brian Reynolds : e-mail