Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Rock 'n' Roll Britannia

Episode 1 of 3

Documentary about the pre-Beatles rock era, when the likes of Lord Rockingham's XI, Vince Taylor and Cliff Richard and The Shadows created a unique copy of American rock 'n' roll.

Long before the Beatles there was British rock 'n' roll. Between 1956 and 1960 British youth created a unique copy of a distant and scarce American original whilst most parents, professional jazz men and even the BBC did their level best to snuff it out.

From its first faltering steps as a facsimile of Bill Haley's swing style to the sophistication of self-penned landmarks such as Shakin' All Over and The Sound of Fury, this is the story of how the likes of Lord Rockingham's XI, Vince Taylor and Cliff Richard and The Shadows laid the foundations for an enduring 50-year culture of rock 'n' roll.

Now well into their seventies, the flame still burns strong in the hearts of the original young ones. Featuring Sir Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Bruce Welch, Cherry Wainer and The Quarrymen.

1 hour

Last on

Sat 22 Feb 2020 00:25

More episodes


You are at the first episode

See all episodes from 50s Britannia


Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Manuel & The Music of the Mountains

    Never on Sunday

  • Frankie Laine

    I Believe

  • Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra

    Harbour Lights

  • Elvis Presley

    Heartbreak Hotel

  • Jack Parnell & His Orchestra

    Shake, Rattle & Roll

  • The Southlanders

    Ko Ko Mo

    • I Love You So.
  • Bill Haley and His Comets

    Rock Around The Clock

  • Lonnie Donegan

    Rock Island Line

  • Jimmy Page

    Mama Don't Allow

  • The Quarrymen

    Rock Island Line

  • Little Richard

    Long Tall Sally

  • Tony Crombie & His Rockets

    Let's You & I Rock

  • Tommy Steele and the Steelmen

    Rock with the Caveman

  • Bert Weedon

    Jolly Gigolo

  • Harry Belafonte

    The Banana Boat Song

  • B. Bumble & The Stingers

    Nut Rocker

  • Mickey & Sylvia

    Love is Strange

  • Bob Cort's Skiffle Group

    Six-Five Special

  • Eric Delaney Band

    Rock 'n' Roll King Cole

  • Johnny and the Hurricanes

    Reveille Rock

  • Bill Haley and His Comets

    Forty Cups of Coffee

  • The Quarrymen

    That'll Be The Day

  • The John Barry Seven

    Big Guitar

  • Lord Rockingham's XI

    Wait For It Baby

  • The Vernons Girls

    Don't Look Now But

  • Lord Rockingham's XI

    Long John

  • Lord Rockingham's XI

    Hoots Mon

  • Ted Heath & His Music


  • Narciso Yepes

    Concierto d'Aranjuez

    Orchestra: Orchestra of Camara.
  • The Shadows


  • London Philharmonic Choir

    Zadok the Priest

  • Cliff Richard & The Drifters

    Move It

  • Marty Wilde


  • Marty Wilde

    Bad Boy

  • Billy Fury

    Halfway to Paradise

  • Vince Taylor and His Playboys

    Brand New Cadillac

  • Gene Vincent

    Be Bop a Lula

  • Eddie Cochran

    Summertime Blues

  • Billy Fury

    That's Love

  • Billy Fury

    My Advice

  • Johnny Kidd and The Pirates

    Shakin' All Over

  • Michael Cox

    Angela Jones

  • Cliff Richard & The Shadows

    The Young Ones

  • Vince Eager

    You're Never Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll


Role Contributor
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Producer Ben Whalley
Director Ben Whalley


Featured in...