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24 September 2014
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One of our favourites is your routine to 'Back In The USSR' in which you were wearing fur coats. It must have been difficult coming up with new ideas for routines and costumes all the time...
Well, Flick had to come up with a different idea every week. Unlike any other TV series I'd done, we often had less than a week's rehearsal. When I was on the Shirley Bassey series or Twiggy's, it was a week's rehearsal and then you'd film it. But, as you'll know, with Top Of The Pops in those days there was a rehearsal on a Monday and you were given one or two numbers to prepare for. On Tuesdays, however, when the charts came out sometimes those songs had dropped. The producer would then give Flick two new numbers to do. Sometimes, we literally had 24 hours to put our routines together and rehearse them. It was very exciting, but Flick had to be very careful with the dancers she chose at the auditions, because the turn around was phenomenal. It may have looked easy, but it was the hardest job I'd done. Flick was very talented though.

Where did you rehearse?
We rehearsed where Pan's People had originally rehearsed. We moved a couple of times, but it was generally in church halls. Flick was always hoping we might get a room at the Beeb eventually, but it never happened.

So, moving on to October 1976...how did you find out that it was all over?
Well, I'd been at home for the weekend and came back on the Monday, ready for rehearsal. We'd just arrived, when two gentleman came in, the producers of the programme. They didn't really give a clear reason why, but they just said that it had been decided that 'Ruby Flipper will be coming to an end and that they'd be looking for a new group'. That was it! Now don't forget that I was only 19, Lulu was only 16, so it was such a shock. It was like a bombshell, because we'd only been going for six or seven months. It was terrible! We were such a happy group and we felt really well established even though we'd only been dancing together for a short time. I think it was such a shame and a very bad decision. Flick knew about the trends in dancing and the explosion of disco...she knew that boys wanted to dance more, it was cool for guys to dance. But the producers wanted to revert to all girls and so Legs and Co was formed.

Did you ever find out more about why they made that decision?
Flick said to me at the time that there hadn't been one letter to indicate anyone was missing Pan's People. It was a load of rubbish. Flick also showed me a letter from someone at the BBC and when I was in a book shop the other day, I came across the Top Of The Pops 1964 - 2002 book in which there was a chapter on Ruby Flipper and a reference made as to why we'd been dropped. I couldn't believe that they actually said the real reasons in the book. One of the reasons given to Flick was that ratings had gone down slightly. Now this was when the Bionic Woman had just started on the other channel, so it seems ridiculous that we could be blamed for the ratings going down. Ruby Flipper were really incidental to the music, we just complimented the programme. The other reason given in the letter though was that 'young teenage boys watching their favourite music programme would not want to see white girls dancing with black boys and then lifting them!' I should have taken the letter to the newspapers. I couldn't understand it because at the time Hot Gossip were just starting to come out with Kenny Everett and they were very much going for a sleazy image. Ruby Flipper was a fun, clean and wholesome group. Some routines were slightly suggestive, but nothing as powerful as Hot Gossip. But this was what the letter said and I've always remembered that. Flick was given no alternative though and she was told to change the group or lose the job. She managed to keep three of the girls from Ruby Flipper, but she really didn't want to be doing the same thing again.

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