12 Shows at Christmas: Len Goodman's Dance Band Days

Len Goodman with conductor's baton Len Goodman orchestrates a roaring good time

Len Goodman takes a step back in time to the hey-day of British dance bands - a golden age of music that laid the foundations for 20th-century pop. Executive producer Tony Parker tells us the BBC didn't exactly jump for joy when jazz and dance came of age, but you'll need to watch the show to find out why...

Tell us why we should watch

A stocking full of nostalgia, beautiful film archive and sweet music. Plus a great story with a few surprising twists.

Do you think with shows such as Strictly, dance bands could have a revival the way ballroom has today?

The music is still around, it never disappeared. Len's point is that the dance bands in the Twenties and Thirties laid the foundations for modern pop music.

What did Len discover in the BBC's written archives in Caversham?

The age of the typed memo. It's wrong to judge history by the standards of today, but BBC bosses got themselves in a right old pickle over the arrival of jazz and dance music.

What moment shouldn't we miss?

The sequence on crooning. You can watch Len as he steps up to the microphone. I think he deserves a seven!

What makes you get up and dance?

I had better say Jack Hylton's Me and Jane in a Plane. That said, "dad dancing" is never attractive. I now prefer to dance in my dreams - it's so much better than the real thing.

Will the show fill us with Christmas spirit?

Guaranteed. It's a treat. Sit back, munch on your favourite chocolates and enjoy.

What fills you with Christmas spirit?

The current Mrs Parker as she stretches over to top up my glass. Must I explain why?

  • Len Goodman's Dance Band Days, December 23, BBC Four, 9pm

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