Do you remember the ‘Come Dancing’ TV series of 1950 or ‘The White Heather Club’ perhaps not but I bet you remember ‘The Good Old Days’. The Good Old Days started in 1953 and was broadcast live from the City Varieties Music Hall Theater Leeds for the best part of 30 years.
The BBC producer Barney Colehan, from Pudsey, created many shows including Have a Go, It’s a Knockout, a pilot for Top of the Pops and a fore-runner to Britains Got Talent called ‘Top Town’. Arguably one of his greatest successes was with The Good Old Days regularly compered by ‘The Chairman’ Leonard Sachs. Each show would start ‘midway through a popular chorus with the audience singing, after which the chairman would take his seat at his desk, with his gavel, and introduce a series of acts, usually in period costume’. Local national and international performers appeared in the shows including Charlie Chaplin, Harry Lauder, Ken Dodd, Harry Houdini and Danny La Rue who sadly died in 2009 at the age of 81. A BBC tribute to Danny is on this link. One local performer performing on The Good Old Days show was a younger Barry Crier. One of his best quotes seems very pertinent in today’s political climate. “Politicians are like nappies. They should be changed frequently…..and for the same reason.”
Each Good Old Days Show would close with an elated, exuberant, effervescent, ecstatic exaltation from the Chairman to the audience to join in the chorus from ‘The Old Bull and Bush’ featuring the whole cast, “but chiefly yourselves”.
And now Ladies and Gentlemen…. take your seats for a trip to ‘The Good Old Days of the Music Halls, sit back and enjoy an unrivaled bills filled with the cream of Variety entertainers from across the globe!’ The refurbished City Varieties Music Hall awaits your pleasure with a variety of variety acts to suit all tastes.
I do not have a photo of the Swan public house next to the City Varieties so you will have to make do with the etched glass window of the Adelphi.