I listened to the first episode of a new series of The Reunion yesterday, presented by Sue MacGregor.
MacGregor always reminds me of the Scottish doctor in Tony Hancock's The Blood Donor, her name suggesting a descent from the Highland clans at odds with her cultured English tones, but she does a good job in getting people to recall events they were involved in. Yesterday it was English female pop singers of the 1960's Sandie Shaw, Helen Shapiro and Petula Clark talking about the music industry of that decade along with songwriter Jackie Trent and producer Vicki Wickham.
I first remember Sandie Shaw singing Hand in Glove with The Smiths in the 1980's and in interviews since then I've always been impressed by her fesity self-confidence. She worked at the Ford Dagenham factory in the early 60's before becoming a pop singer and if she'd still been there I can imagine her being on the picket line in the 1968 machinist's strike, a key event in the still ongoing struggle for equal pay for women.
The programme also highlighted the fusion of English working-class youth culture and African-American R&B and soul with singers including Shaw, Clark and Dusty Springfield performing and recording in the US and helping to showcase artists on the Atlantic and Motown labels here.