Vicki Wickham's Sixties, Radio 2
Jagger's Jukebox, Radio 2
The dear old Sixties! It was just one jolly jape after another – like boarding school
Sunday 06 June 2010
If you can remember any documentaries about the 1960s then you can't have been entering into the spirit of them – which is presumably why these programmes are churned out on such a regular basis.
Only three years after Radio 2 gave us a summer-long Sixties season to mark the station's 40th anniversary, it's gone down the mini-skirted, flower-powered route again, with another Sixties season providing evidence of the era's continuing hold over programme-makers' imaginations.
The temptation is to ask whether there is anything left to say about the most discussed decade in history. But that is really missing the point. As with small children being read fairy stories at bedtime, endless repetition is essential to the magic.
In Eyewitness to History: Vicki Wickham's Sixties, one of pop music's then movers and shakers revisited the triumphs of her youth in a way that was long on gush and short on insight. The driving force behind Ready Steady Go!, ITV's more free-form answer to the BBC's Top of the Pops, Vicki Wickham was one of those people who knew everybody who was anybody and, nearly half a century on, continues to delight in it. A boarding-school girl with a cut-glass accent, she revelled in the liberation that RSG represented, and the result was more Jennifer's Diary than "Street Fighting Man". Take out the words "wonderful" and "incredible" from the script and there wouldn't have been a lot left.
Wickham rang up old friends such as PP Arnold and Dionne Warwick and Roger Daltrey, and giggled with them over fondly recalled mishaps such as when Dusty Springfield slipped on an icy Parisian pavement and slid along it on her bottom. It was just one jolly jape after another.
If any drugs were taken in the 1960s you wouldn't have known it from Vicki Wickham. Still less that at least two of the people whose names came up – The Rolling Stones's Brian Jones and The Who's Keith Moon – died early deaths inseparable from the excesses of the time. Wickham came over as a tremendously nice person, but this was about as uncritical a review of the period as you could get.
We've had an awful lot of Mick Jagger lately on the back of the reissue of Exile on Main St, but Jagger's Jukebox, a kind of 1960s season off-shoot, was perhaps the best use of the great man's time that anyone has come up with yet. In conversation with Paul Sexton, he simply talked through and played his favourite records of the era, revealing a vast bank of knowledge and rivalling Bob Dylan as a supreme pop'n'rock educator. Can we now have Mick Jagger's Theme Time Radio Hour, please?
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