Seaside Special was a popular Saturday night variety/entertainment series that during it’s first season took Gerry Cottle’s Big Top Circus to various seaside places (the likes of Blackpool, Poole, Torbay, Great Yarmouth, Isle of Man, Weymouth, Scarborough, Cherbourg and Eastbourne to name a few) mostly in the UK but sometimes Europe as well featuring guest appearances from such alumni as Lulu, Ken Dodd, Jimmy Tarbuck, Des O’Connor, Little and Large, Cliff Richard, Ronnie Corbett and the occasional overseas star like Dionne Warwick and Abba.
Interspersed throughout the big name acts would be second stringers such as Fivepenny Piece, Wayne King and novelty acts like The Wurzels. Music was provided by the Ronnie Hazlehurst Orchestra and dancing by the troupe New Edition (later Geoff Richer’s First Edition). Hosts more often than not were Radio 1 DJs such as Tony Blackburn, David Hamilton, Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis and Paul Burnett.
Mike Batt scored a top ten hit in 1975 with the theme tune (called Summertime City). After ending in 1979 the series returned as Summertime Special in 1981 and 1982 with the 81 season taking place in Brighton and the 82 season in Eastbourne. This series went hostless and the dancers were called The A-Team (although there was no sign of Mr T or George Peppard!). Summertime Special is not included in the above episode count.
1987 also saw a revival of the orginal concept, this time hosted by Mike Smith and the action coming from Jersey. This version tried to include a bit of everything, even reviving Beat The Clock from Sunday Night at the London Palladium but it only lasted one season.
UK / BBC-1 / 60×45 or 50 minute episodes / Broadcast 5 July 1975 – 8 September 1979 and 25 July – 29 August 1987
Producer: Michael Hurll / Theme Music: Roger Greenaway, Colin McCourt