Monday, 19 September 2016

Theme Time : Spencer Davis Group - Magpie

Is it any wonder that ITV's Magpie was considered the edgy alternative to Auntie Beeb's Blue Peter when it had a theme tune from Brum based mod rockers the Spencer Davis Group?

Granted the chart toppers went under the alias of The Murgatroyd Band, but there's no denying that whilst Blue Peter spoke to the middle class suburbanites, Magpie was for council estate kids and the magazine show focused on hobbies, pastimes and interests, collecting and charitable appeals.

Created by Lewis Rudd and Sue Turner for Thames TV, Magpie made its debut in July 1968 and ran twice-weekly from the following year right up until its last broadcast in 1980. The original hosts were Susan Stranks (often braless - one for the dads!) former Radio 1 DJ Pete Brady, and Tony Bastable. When Brady left the show in 1969, he was replaced by diminutive Scot Douglas Rae, whilst Bastable left in '72 to make way for Mick Robertson. Jenny Hanley provided the eye-candy for the dads in '74 when Susan Stranks made her exit, and in 1977, Rae left to be replaced by Tommy Boyd. The final line up for those last three years were Robertson, Hanley and Boyd, pictured below.

The theme tune cribbed from the old nursery rhyme that referred to the old English superstition regarding the portent of a number of magpies seen in a flock. However, the traditional lyrics were changed to be more child-friendly;

"Eight for heaven, nine for hell, ten for the devil himself" became "Eight's a wish and nine a kiss, ten is a bird you must not miss"

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