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Roadshow; Early Years


Roadshow  the 80's & 90's

Early Years


Roadshow DJ.'s 1981. Tour jackets were designed and made by Rhino, Manchester.

Steve Wright, Simon Bates and Smiley Miley with Roadshow Donkey, 1985.




The Roadshow continued its grand tour of UK resorts throughout the following two decades with new games, Word Bingo, Gaylord the Gorilla', 'record race' and 'Boiling Oil'. The recipe remained the same, great pop music and live acts coupled with light-hearted entertainment both on stage (think ferrets, hair dye, geese, smoke bombs.....) and with the audience.  By 1988 over 10 million people had visited the show, and it was earning more than 1000  per year for BBC enterprises. The show travelled more than 2,000 miles during the nine week season. The same year 45 seaside venues were visited, from Londonderry to Great Yarmouth, and from Inverness to St. Ives.


The largest ever roadshow audience was 100,000 at Birmingham's Sutton Park on Sunday 30th August 1992 (Party in the Park) celebrating the 25th birthday of Radio 1 with Live acts including Del Amitri, Aswad, the Farm and Status Quo.


The Radio 1 Roadshow supported the 'weeks out' events to Wales, Scotland and North of England as well as annual events such as the Teddy Bear's Picnic.


1983 - Dodge Roadshow

Lorry 275/285 - Click to enlarge.



Steve Wright; "with a Roadshow you know if things are working on the air or not, because you are confronted by the listener only a foot or so have to be more animated on the stage, with an extended personality..."


Bruno Brookes; "to meet some of the audience is incredible. They are with you. They go bananas and are brilliant.....we pull all the tricks out of the bag."


Gary Davies; "its like a school being part of a travelling circus moving from resort to resort. I refuse to play a record...I'm on the front of the stage having fun with the crowd. its a tough show to do. I enjoy the warm-ups. You have to convey the atmosphere..."


Kid Jensen; "why would anyone want to sit on a beach with 10,000 others "




* Peter Powell got Mike Read arrested for impersonating a policeman on stage.

* Mike Read hired a team of brickies to build a wall around Smiley Miley's car.

*Mike Read had producer Ted Beston's hotel room in Grimsby carpeted in turf and covered in wild flowers and plants.

*Smiley Miley ordered a crane to hoist Mike Read's prize car, a green MG Midget, into Cleethorpes boating  lake.





By the 1990's the Summer Tour had increased to 54 live shows over a nine week period. Two trucks reversed back-to-back to form an impressive 75-foot frontage.  The extra space allowed a 'Green Room' for interviews and planning. A satellite link up to London was used instead of land lines. On stage guests included Jason Donovan and Right Said Fred.


Sadly 1999 was the last year for the traditional Radio 1 Roadshow and a slice of the British way of life was lost.


In 2000 the station took part in other events; the 'Love Parade' dance event and the first 'One Big Sunday' which took place at Bristol in April 2000. This was hosted by Sarah Cox and Jamie Theakston.


These events are held in city centre parks on a larger stage with video screens.

Torre Abbey Meadows,

Torquay 1986.


1986 - Bedford turbo cab

livery 1053/1089 - Click to enlarge.

Steve Wright in the Crowd


Lorry arriving, the evening

before the show (1986)


Gary Davies

This flap opens so the Trailer

 is utilised as the Stage


Ready for kick-off





Venue Listing 1989

- Click to enlarge.

Producer John Leonard 1987

Poster 1991

- Click to enlarge.

Roadshow crew 1987. Seven

people transported the roadshow

and equipment around the UK.


Tony Miles; Smiley Miley "my name was given to me because I'm always smiling"


Longleat House, Wiltshire with

Mike Read, Peter Powell (and

Camel) 1986.- Click to enlarge.




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Audio BBC


10th Anniversary Roadshow with Mike Read

Mike Read & Racey South Shields - 1980  (20 secs only)

Mike Read & Smiley Miley 1980 (over 2 mins long)

Gary at Great Yarmouth Easter Monday 1986

With Gary Davies from Newcastle, N Ireland (1988)

Trailer for Brighton Roadshow with Gary Davies

Bits & Pieces Competition (1989)

NEW Bruno and Liz 1992 Roadshow Trail

Bits_&_pieces 1992           32kb

Glasgow Roadshow trail 1992


Cartoon from Radio Times


Steve Wright brought Reg Ramsey-Street

to the Roadshow (the most boring

Double Glazing Salesman!) for quiz losers





Introduction 0.5min

Range Rovers and Caravans 1m

Six Wheeler driver Ricky Stark 0.5 m

Johnny Beerling explains the Idea 2m

Mike Read looks forward 2m

A Day in the Life of a Roadshow 1m

Early Birds 2m

Getting ready for the Performance 2.5 m

Under Way and a bit of History 2.5 m

Chief Driver Kevin Creswell 1m

Manchester Engineer Dick Wilson 2m

Technical Hitch 2m

On Stage Fun  1m

Mileage Game Disagreements 1m

Contestants Have a Guess 1.5m

Smiley Miley Gives the Answer 2m

Roadshow Trucks Off 3m




See also on Radio Rewind...


Fun Days


Roadshow; Early Years





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