Whilst on a flight of fancy, I wrote the following piece, which probably won’t make it to the upcoming Jack Hylton biography, because it’s probably rubbish, but I thought I’d share it anyway. I’d been writing about the time Jack Hylton spent as Advisor for Associated-Rediffusion, one of the fledgling ITV companies, between 1955 and 1960, a time when he made some 295 TV programmes, to pretty bad critical reception on the whole, despite a great number of them reaching the top ten in the ratings. Anyway, this evening I thought this, which is perhaps interesting, perhaps not…
“Whilst it is widely accepted that Jack Hylton’s foray in television was ultimately unsuccessful it’s worth exploring the differences between Hylton’s approach to television and the approach of his contemporaries Val Parnell, Lew Grade, Bernard Delfont and Prince & Emile Littler, all of whom experienced considerably more success, both critically and financially.
It’s clear that Hylton saw light entertainment on television as a way of promoting the theatre. Theatre was and always had been Hylton’s first love; it’s obvious from the way he promoted definite flops and niche shows that he cared less about making money and more about creating a product that he thought was worthy of the stage. Of course one could argue that this position was only brought about through his enormous wealth from a twenty year band career, backing smash hits, but whatever the reason, he was renowned for putting things into theatres which weren’t guaranteed money spinners, all the way back to 1940 when he backed the London Philharmonic Orchestra in such a way that even if he had made a profit, it would be given back to the orchestra by way of bonuses. It’s hard to see Val Parnell or Lew Grade doing something of that nature. (more…)