Celebrity Britain

Saturday 29th November –Friday 5th December

This fascinating new documentary series features never-before-seen footage of iconic figures from the 1960s. Forty years ago, TV personality Bernard Braden conducted interviews with some of the biggest names in British popular culture.

These celebrities now look back at those interviews and reflect on their experience of the decade that changed the world forever. This first episode features stars of music and fashion, including Tom Jones, Cilla Black, Lulu, Simon Dee and Ossie Clark.

In 1968, actor, comedian and TV presenter Bernard Braden – best known for his consumer affairs programmes ‘On the Braden Beat’ and ‘Braden’s Week’ – recorded a series of interviews with a host of luminaries. The interviews, filmed at Braden’s own expense, give an extraordinary insight into the personal lives of these celebrities, revealing their hopes and dreams for the future, and providing a snapshot of 1960s Britain – possibly the most explosive period in post-war British history.

Braden intended to revisit his subjects every three years, but never did so, and the interviews have never been seen – until now. Finally, after four decades, this series brings many of the stars face to face with themselves from 40 years ago, as they watch the interviews for the first time and reflect on their formative selves. Braden’s subjects also look back on the 1960s and discuss what has happened to them in the intervening decades.

In the 60s, Britain officially ruled the pop world. Time magazine famously declared that London was ‘swinging’. The Beatles had started it all, turning pop music into rock music, and paving the way for countless other bands to make it big on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time, fashion was becoming edgier and more daring, representing a new means of self-expression that ignored class, and was affordable for kids with a little money in their pockets.

The first episode of the series revisits some of the stars of this milieu, including a Liverpudlian singer who was one of the first people to benefit from The Beatles’ success. Cilla Black, born Priscilla White, was friends with the Fab Four from their days at The Cavern nightclub. In the 60s, Cilla outsold every other female singer, with ten top-ten hits. Shortly after her interview with Braden, she became the first female singer to get her own TV series.

Lulu was just 19 when Braden interviewed her, yet she had already had a number one song in the US and two top ten UK hits, including her debut single ‘Shout’. In 1968, Lulu became the youngest star to host her own show on BBC1.

Another colossus of the era interviewed by Braden was Tom Jones, who took his stage name from the bawdy hit movie about a lady-loving rascal – an image Tom would enthusiastically pursue. The Welshman had enjoyed two number one hits which sold a million copies in Britain alone. America loved Tom too, and he would go on to sell more than 100 million albums.

Davey Jones was the Manchester-born singer recruited to add a dollop of British cool to the manufactured American band, The Monkees. Hit records could not buy The Monkees critical love, however, and the music press dubbed them the ‘Pre-Fab Four’. Within a year of the interview with Braden, The Monkees had broken up and gone their separate ways.

Also appearing in this first episode are Simon Dee, the groundbreaking pop music DJ at Radio Caroline and Radio One; Felicity Green, the massively influential fashion editor of the Daily Mirror; and Ossie Clark, a fashion icon of the 60s and 70s, who was murdered by a former lover in 1996.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1