The Old Grey Whistle Test (or Old Grey Whistle Test, or OGWT, or just Whistle Test from 1984) was a weekly music programme usually broadcast on BBC2 which ran from 1971 to 1988. The programme concentrated on more serious rock and pop acts, compared to the BBC's other regular music weekly Top Of The Pops, and usually featured one or two acts playing live in the studio.

Significant dates and shows

  • 21 September 1971 first ever show broadcast on the late night Tuesday slot on BBC 2 10.55 pm. "In the studio, America and Lesley Duncan, with any guests who may appear."
  • 14 November 1972 show goes out at midnight (ie. technically Wednesday 15 November). the BBC 2 50th anniversary concert had been broadcast earlier that night, live from the Royal Albert Hall, London. [1]
  • 06 March 1973 show broadcast at a later time of 11.45 pm to allow for Budget Special at 11.05.[2]
  • 13 January 1974: After initial New Year's Day programme, the show is moved to Sunday afternoon slot[3] then back to Tuesday nights in March then to Wednesdays then back to Tuesdays in May.
  • 27 May 1974: Van Morrison in stereo special programme. Van Morrison and the New Caledonia Soul Orchestra in concert at the Rainbow Theatre - the first rock music show on TV to have stereo sound on VHF radio. [4] (repeated 09 October 1980)
  • 24 December 1974: Elton John 's Christmas Concert broadcast live in stereo from the Hammersmith Odeon.
  • 10 January 1975: show moved to Friday nights at 8.10 pm. [5]
  • 14 June 1975: after going out on a later time slot for two weeks, the show is moved to the late night slot on Saturdays. [6]
  • 30 September 1975. moved back to late Tuesday night slot. [7]
  • 24 December 1975: Queen's Christmas Concert broadcast live from the Hammersmith Odeon. London.
  • 24 December 1976: Rod's Christmas Concert featuring The Rod Stewart Group live from the stage at Olympia, London.
  • 24 December 1977: The Kinks Christmas Concert. [8]
  • 19 September 1978: new series and Anne Nightingale is brought in to share hosting duties with Bob Harris (this show featured Magazine and The Ramones) [9]
  • 23 September 1978: as well as the regular Tuesday slot, repeats are shown on Saturdays at around 6.00 pm.[10]
  • 24 December 1978: 10 CC in a special Christmas concert recorded earlier in the week at the Wembley Conference Centre. Also in stereo on Radio 1.
  • 07 January 1979: repeats moved to Sunday lunch times.[11] then not shown after Easter 1979.
  • 19 September 1979: new series repeats moved to early Wednesday evenings, less than 24 hours after original broadcast.[12]
  • 20 December 1979: Christmas concert Mike Oldfield Exposed (from April 1979)
  • 31 December 1979: live from the Apollo, Glasgow, features Blondie in a special concert to mark the end of the 70s. (from 1980 early evening Wednesday repeats disappear)
  • 11 October 1980: 350th edition.[13] New series now moved to late night Saturday slot, repeated early evening on Tuesdays. The repeats disappear from regular programming in 1981.
  • 24 December 1980: Ian Dury and the Blockheads in a special Christmas Eve concert, direct from the Dominion Theatre, London.
  • 11 April 1981: first mention in Radio Times of David Hepworth sharing presenter duties with Anne Nightingale.
  • 05 May 1981: show moved to late night Tuesdays again.[14]
  • 26 November 1981: new series, late night Thursdays.[15]
  • 24 December 1981: Toyah in a special Christmas Eve concert live from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, with stereo sound on Radio 1.[16]
  • 17 September 1982: new series presented by David Hepworth and Mark Ellen. LAte night Fridays with Saturday early evening repeat.
  • 24 December 1982. Elton John live from the stage of London's Hammersmith Odeon which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This special Christmas edition, is the last of his 14 concerts at the Odeon and can be heard in stereo on Radio 1. [17]
  • 15 January 1983. Sight and Sound In Concert. The return of the programme that brings together BBC2's The Old Grey Whistle Test and Radio 1's In Concert for a regular series of 12 TV rock concerts with stereo sound. (Saturdays 6.50 pm)
  • 22 April 1983 back to late night Fridays with repeats on Tuesday early evenings.
  • 18 November 1983: Whistle Test On the Road. The first of six concerts recorded at venues around the country. (Friday late nights, repeated Saturdays early evenings).
  • 24 December 1983: Whistle test Presents Paul Young and The Royal Family Live from the stage of London's Hammersmith Odeon, this final concert of his '12 Days of Christmas' tour. [18]
  • 13 January 1984. first 'Whistle Test'(late night Friday slot). [19]
  • 23 October 1984. New series. With Mark Ellen, David Hepworth and Andy Kershaw. Tuesdays at 7.30 pm.
  • 31 March 1985 (Sunday 5.00 pm) Whistle test Special. Prince in Syracuse.[20]
  • 08 April 1986: Whistle Test Extra. In a rare interview Bryan Ferry talks to Richard Skinner about his career as a solo artist and why Roxy Music many never re-form.
  • 29 April 1986. Whistle Test new series.
  • 21 September 1986: 15th birthday of Britain's longest-running TV rock show. 
  • ......
  • 31 December 1987 into 01 January 1988 - 87 Whistle Test 88 - final show.[21]
  • 23 February 2018 - BBC Four 9.00 pm For One Night Only. Hosted by Bob Harris, this live studio show features music, special guests and rare archive footage to mark the 30 years since the legendary series was last broadcast.[22]

External links