'The Old Grey Whistle Test' broke the mold for 'serious' rock music shows and was compulsory viewing for the young and rebellious who were keen to tune-in to a new serious kind of music program, the format of which can still be seen today on 'Later with Jools Holland'.
In 1970 BBC Producer Rowan Ayers launched The Old Grey Whistle Test onto our screens hosted by Richard Williams who was later replaced by Bob Harris, who had the authoritative demeanor of an incompetent wizard yet was so smooth they should name something very smooth after him.
1970 and Britain was just coming down from the 1960s flower power revolution but it was coming down with a bump and the old variety shows were lost on the younger generation who were equally appalled by commercialism and the three minute pop song.
The young and restless demanded satisfaction and they got it in the form of The Old Grey Whistle Test that was void of sparkle and glitz and instead favoured a more austere approach to music that was reflected in the new progressive rock that was gaining popularity amongst the young and particularly young men.
When you think of the 1970s Britain you think of public sector strikes, grey and rainy days with heavily moustached men drinking beer in pubs smoking cigarettes in sheepskin jackets playing darts. This is because the memory of listening to Bay City Rollers and watching drudge like Mr and Mrs is too much to bare and this is why Britain's youth launched into experimenting with music and drugs with more fervour and vigor than a thing that has won awards for being fervorous and vigorous.
So when The Old Grey Whistle Test came on television there was an outlet for this pent up creative frustration, which eventually morphed into punk like a female spider being eaten by her young just after birth. So Annie Nightingale took over the job of presenting to give a new and aggressive movement its day and provide a platform to showcase bands who were crafting together the new Punk sound in the anarchic era where the rulebook for what constituted music was thrown out of the window after being torn up and used as toilet roll.
It wasn't just Punk and progressive rock that was given air time, Bob Marley's first British television appearance was on The Old Grey Whistle Test so there was more to the show than just loud guitar heavy bass and long hair because it also welcomed anyone with dread-locked long hair.
Today Jools Holland keeps the lamp burning for contemporary music but unfortunately with all the different channels available through the the digital medium Jools' contribution to musical culture is not receiving the same impact that The Old Grey whistle test had with only three television channels to choose from.
We have too much choice these days and not enough quality so I suggest we ration ourselves to three channels and go on strike to recreate the environment that spawned the creative explosion that went off during the 1970s.
This idea may be closer than you think, Gordon Brown is already close to achieving the latter for us.