On 29 August it's Monkees Night on Channel 4. The celebration kicks off with Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees which focuses on the creation of what was perhaps the world's first pre-packaged boy band. At the auditions, none of the hopefuls was required to sing or play an instrument and the band was selected by marketing executives. They still went on to be the most successful US pop band of the time, even outselling the Beatles. After that, Daydream Believers revisits some of the 433 unsuccessful applicants to the ad in an LA paper inviting people to audition for the band. One is now a stand-in actor (principally for Richard Gere), another is a pool- table salesman and yet another is a swimming-pool cleaner who once "nearly" released a record. The programme also examines the rumour that one of the wannabe Monkees was a certain Charles Manson.
What has Michael Portillo been up to since That Night on 1 May, when his sensational defeat in the General Election led everyone subsequently to ask, "Were you up for Portillo?" Well, he appears to have become a TV presenter - but one with a political bent. In a new three-parter for broadcast on Channel 4 next month, provisonally entitled In Search of Conservatism, he seeks a new agenda for the Conservative Party, particularly on the incendiary topic of Europe. Speaking entirely hypothetically, if you were not actually in Parliament and were considering mounting a leadership campaign, there would be no better way of doing it than through your own three-part television series.
James RamptonReuse content