Rock Follies of ’77, like it’s predecessor, Rock Follies, is a musical drama shown on British television. The storyline followed the ups and downs of a fictional female rock band called the “Little Ladies” as they struggled for recognition and success. The series starred Rula Lenska, Charlotte Cornwell and Julie Covington as the Little Ladies, with support from Emlyn Price, Beth Porter, Sue Jones-Davies, Bob Hoskins, Stephen Moore, Derek Thompson, Denis Lawson and Little Nell among others. The series was made with a very low budget for Thames Television, with a style inspired by fringe theatre.
The fictional band was made up on-screen of talented session musicians as well as the three lead actresses who proved they could sing, and the spin-off album of music from the series entered the UK charts at number one (a common occurrence now, but exceptionally rare at that time). The songs were written by Andy Mackay, who was a founding member of Roxy Music. Lyrics and screenplay were written by Howard Schuman.
The second series was a continuation of the first, but industrial action during May of that year at ITV, the commercial channel that aired the show, caused the last few episodes to be postponed until November. The second series pushed the style further in an experimental direction: where the first series had a lot of dialogue and “offstage” scenes, the second focused more on the music and fantasy sequences, with additional songs and musical interludes used to move the plot forward rather than relying on dialogue as the first had done. More sophisticated video effects were also used.
Speaking in 1991, the three stars commented on the gruelling schedule while working on the series, stating that for each episode they had to learn a minimum of five songs, as well as perform the dance routines and learn the script itself in a short period of time. Due to this they were reluctant to do a third series, although they did say that they would like to do another series at that time, 15 years later. Covington also stated that they were paid £225 per episode. [Wikipedia]
Watch the titles and a clip from Rock Follies of ’77 on the sambda YouTube Channel.
Listen to the Rock Follies of ’77 album on Spotify.