Ivy Benson in new TV show

" I haven't heard of her for years… . she can't have been working much." Thus spoke a member of the audience to his wife, at Thames Television's Teddington studios. in reference to Ivy Benson, who was directing her augmented orchestra for the recording of a new Little and Large Telly Show, due for transmission in July. The irony of our friend's remark really arose, of course, from the general idea these days that if you are not appearing in television you cannot be working, for, I suppose, if statistics were produced to how comparison between the degree of full-time employment enjoyed by the top fifty better-known bands, Ivy's would certainly be among the first six.


The band had, in fact traveled down that morning from Great Yarmouth, where they had already commenced their Summer engagement and only a few weeks ago they were completing their Winter engagement at Stuttgart filling in the weeks between the two engagements with club dates. Life for them has been like that for years and years.

The show, of course, has Sid Little and Eddie Large working their brand of comedy with enormous success, but when the band had an opportunity to show its mettle, it produced a really driving ensemble, consisting of four trumpets, four trombones, six reeds and five rhythm. I was sorry that the arrangements for the program numbers did not provide for solos from those two fine jazz players Joan Cunningham, who was on first alto, and Barbara Thompson on first tenor. It is also unfortunate that the number played for the warm-up, Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band" from the band's own library, will not be heard in the show - it showed the girls off to really good advantage.

Ivy was looking as attractive as she had done when I had last seen her on stage at Chiswick Empire. Ye Gods! how long ago did they pull it down?

Harry Francis
Crescendo 1976