Drivers of the 6.5 Special
|THE sheet-anchor of the “6.5 Special” was undoubtedly the talented team of personality comperes – Jo Douglas, Pete Murray and Freddie Mills.|
To those who knew these artists before the advent of “6.5,” they would be considered an unlikely combination. But they have adapted themselves to the mood of the programme with great skill.
Pete Murray has been connected with the world of popular music for many years. Most radio and records fans will for long associate him with Radio Luxembourg, where he became one of the moat popular disc-Jockeys that station has ever employed.
He went out to the Grand Duchy in 1950, and during his five years stay built up a tremendous following. His tenure in Luxembourg not only gained him an enormous reputation, but also a Luxembourg wife. He resigned his position with 208, and came back to Britain, more or less “on spec.”
His first break occurred when the Decca Record Company signed him to compere two of their Luxembourg record shows, which are pre-recorded in London. Then the television people grabbed this personable, good looking young man, and bundled him Into a new series on the commercial *’ People Are Funny “series. A few more isolated TV spots followed, but It was Jack Good who, when searching for a personality to compere his new teenagers’ show “ 6.5 Special,” remembered the effervescent and likeable young man he had seen on “ People Are Funny.”
Pete was duly contacted and signed for the BBC. An accomplished artist, Pete gained a Bronze Medal tor acting at RADA. Subsequently, he appeared in several films, including “ My Brother Jonathan,” “Hungry Hill” and “No Highway,” and many will recall his performance in “Miss Mabel“ at the Strand Theatre in 194S.
Before his transition to disc-jockey, be crossed the Atlantic to appear on Broadway. He still hopes to return to straight acting one day but, in view of the popularity of the “6.5,” that day must be considered in the very distant future!
Josephine Douglas has been associated with television for five years, but her show business connections go back much further. When she was only 14, she wrote and produced her own pantomime.
Jo’s first love was the legitimate theatre and, after leaving the WAAF, she won a scholarship to RADA, where she studied for two years. She won two awards whilst she was there and, largely on the strength of these, was offered a part by Alfred Hitchcock, in his film “Stagefright.”
For the next few years, she spent most of her time either taking small parts in films, or appearing on the stage. However she was most anxious to continue her career as a producer, and the opportunity arose when she presented two plays -”The Vigil“ and “Cry, The Beloved Country.’’
Then, after appearing with great success on the panel of “Find The Link”, she joined the BBC staff as producer, and was responsible for such series as “Saturday Night Date,” “Tall Story Club“ and “Forces Requests“ – in the latter, she appeared herself.
Freddie Mills has become quite an old hand at what he describes as “this television lark.” He first went before the cameras as long ago as 1947. Since then he has appeared in comedy spots in many important shows, including “Cafe Continental,” “The Fred Emney Show“and “Saturday Spectacular,” etc.
Additionally he has made his mark as a dee-Jay on the Radio Luxembourg airwaves. Record enthusiasts can buy a community medley which Freddie waxed for Parlophone.
To celebrate the first anniversary of “6.5 Special”, the BBC threw a cocktail party at the – Lime Grove Studios. A large assembly of producers and newspapermen came to salute the “6.5” team.
Reprinted from 65 Stars Of 6.5 Special (undated.)