Part 5 of our 50 part series was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 last night was 1955 – a really seminal year for lots of different reasons.
As a researcher it feels like there was a significant shift in the musical agenda. 1955 was the year when Elvis Presley started to get noticed and rock ‘n’ roll is very much on the agenda with artists like Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bill Haley all releasing big records. It must have been quite a shock to conservative audiences (with a small c) to hear these young men yelling about “tearing the place up” – particularly when the charts had been dominated by the crooners for so long.
BBC Television gets its first competitor with the arrival of ITV and shows like Take Your Pick and Dragnet – which owed a lot to American TV shows with their upbeat presentation style and flashing lights.
In the world of film, young star James Dean is killed before moviegoers have seen him in Rebel Without A Cause, becoming one of the most iconic faces in movie-going history in the process (only the good die young, etc).
And the biggest news story in the UK is the unmasking of Kim Philby as the Third Man. You’ll have to wait for another 6 months to find out who the Fourth Man was!
The programme will be on iPlayer for the next week.