Associate Editor David Hawkins has written a very good article on the connections that members of Hill's Angels have with so many other dance troupes. I can see this article expanding more as time goes on. Thanks to William Brown who did a little editing and added a section on Love Machine. Special Thanks to David Hawkins for this article. Hope you enjoy it!
Hill's Angels Connections
by David Hawkins
The Hill's Angels Connections
From the Go-Jos to Hot Gossip, members of Hill's Angels were a part of several dance troupes on British television. This shows that, like a family tree, most of the troupes from the 1960's to the early 1990's are connected. I'm going to include Love Machine, Dee Dee Wilde's Pan's People, and Sam's Set who were on The Benny Hill Show on December 26, 1978, although not in name.
The Beat Girls (1964-1965)
Dee Dee Wilde as a member of Pan's People in Love For Sale
These six girls were the regular dance act on the BBC2 music show The Beat Room. You could say that they were part of the Pan's People family tree. Four of the dancers - Babs Lorde, Dee Dee Wilde, Flick Colby and Ruth Pearson - would go on to form Pan's People. Two of these girls would go on to The Benny Hill Show. Dee Dee Wilde appeared in both shows of 1979 as both choreographer and, on the April 25, 1979 show, as a dancer, along with Dee Dee Wilde's Pan's People. Flick Colby would appear on the April 21, 1976 show to be choreographer for Love Machine, although Flick would be credited as "Froggy."
The Go-Jo's (1964-1968)
Here we have Top of the Pops' first dance troupe. They started out as a three-girl group and then a six-girl group. In some ways they are the forgotten TOTP dancers, being overshadowed by Pan's People. In fact, only one episode of TOTP with the Go-Jo's exists, which is the Boxing Day show of 1966. Babs, Dee Dee and Flick were all members of this troupe, but broke away to form Pan's People. The Go-Jo's were formed by Jo Cook, who was also their choreographer. Jo herself was also a Beat Girl.
Pan's People (1967-1976)
Maybe one of the best remembered dance troupes of the 1960's and 1970's. They did their first Top of the Pops way back in 1968. Flick Colby was their choreographer. Dee Dee Wilde would stay with Pan's until 1976. They did not just appear on TOTP. Other shows included ... Bobbie Gentry (1968) The Two Ronnies (1973 series) The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show (1975) ... and many other music shows. They also got their own Pan's People in Concert in 1974. When Pan's finished on TOTP, Flick wanted to keep them going, so Dee Dee Wilde's Pan's People were formed.
Dee Dee Wilde's Pan's People (1976-1980)
This is the Pan's People who went on to The Benny Hill Show in April 1979. The lineup on that show was Pauline Crawford, Louise English, Abigail Higgins, Francesca Whitburn, Dee Dee Wilde and Sarah Woollett. In addition, all but Ms. Wilde appeared in the "Hot Gossamer" sketch of the March 14, 1979 show. As we all know, both Louise and Abigail went on to become members of Hill's Angels. A later member was Claire Lutter, who was a dancer with the Love Machine on TBHS. A Hill's Angel and friend of Benny's Place almost became a member as well, but they were about to go on tour and at 16, the other girls thinking she may have been too young, didn't give her the job. Early members were Carol Fletcher and Sarah Brightman, but both left to join Hot Gossip.
These images are from the only appearance of Pan's People on The Benny Hill Show in "Love For Sale"
Photo #1 Pauline Crawford
Photo #2 Louise English
Photo #3 Abigail Higgins
Photo #4 Francesca Whitburn
Photo #5 Dee Dee Wilde
Photo #6 Sarah Woollett
Top: From the end of the "Dancing In The Nude" number from April 21, 1976. From left: Claire Lutter (qv), Libby Roberts (qv), Teresa (Terry) Lucas, and Jane Eve (Colthorpe). Click the top image for a larger view.
Bottom: From their "Think Of The Boys" number of Feb. 23, 1977, which spotlighted their vocal as well as terpsichorean talents; by which time a cute redhead named Lorraine Doyle (qv) had joined the troupe [from left: Jane, Terry, Lorraine, Libby and Claire]. It is widely regarded that their dance routines would pave the way for the future addition of the Hill's Angels to the show. Note: Click The Bottom image for a larger view.
The appearances of this troupe on The Benny Hill Show in 1976 and 1977 helped pave the way for the eventual creation of Hill's Angels. On their first two appearances, on February 18, 1976 and April 21, 1976, the lineup consisted of Libby Roberts, Teresa Lucas, Claire Lutter and Jane Eve (Colthorpe). On their February 23, 1977 appearance, they were joined by Lorraine Doyle. Two of the members, Claire and Lorraine, also appeared on the March 23, 1977 show. Initially a dance troupe, after their last appearances on the show, they were directed more towards being a singing group, which was a factor in Jane's later joining Hot Gossip. It should be noted that future TBHS regular Sue Upton was an early Love Machinist, but had left before their first series appearance, being replaced by Jane. Libby went on to become the Hill's Angels choreographer starting with the 1984 series, remaining in that position up to Mr. Hill's final special, Benny Hill's World Tour: New York!.
Top: Frances Wingate (2nd from left) with Amanda Abbs, Floid and an unknown modelling knitting patterns, circa 1984. Click the top image for a larger view.
Bottom: Back Row is Floid, Amanda Abbs,Tristian Rafel,Titian Deakin,Lindsey Cole, Susie Waring, Heavon. Front Row is Frances Wingate, Kenny and Annie Dunkley. Click the bottom image for a larger view.
The troupe that changed dancing on British television. They came to fame on The Kenny Everett Video Show. Kenny called them his "naughty bits" and they were hated by Mary Whitehouse. They were the dancers who influenced Benny Hill to form Hill's Angels. Benny would parody Hot Gossip twice, in 1979 with Hot Gossamer and in 1980 with The Kitty Everett Show. They not only did Kenny's Thames shows, but also the 1986 series of his Television Show for the BBC. They also had their very own show in 1982 called The Very Hot Gossip Show for Channel 4 and at the same time their own Video album to go with their first LP. They also had a 1978 disco hit called I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper. Some members who did Kenny's shows also went on to The Benny Hill Show. They are Lorraine Doyle, who danced with Love Machine in 1977 and then joined Hill's Angels from 1985 to the last show; Jayne-Marie; Lindsey Cole; Susie Waring; Frances Wingate; and Penny Kendall. Another Hot Gossip dancer was Jane Eve (Colthorpe) who was on Benny's shows with Love Machine in 1976 and 1977. Jane was also asked to join the Angels sometime in the mid-1980's. Two other dancers, although they never became Angels - in fact, they did not even get on to The Benny Hill Show - Perri Lister and Donna Fielding, posed with Benny, I think it was around 1979 and one of the photos was used on the cover of Mark Lewisohn's Funny, Peculiar: The True Story Of Benny Hill. Hot Gossip's choreographer was Arlene Phillips, who had choreographed Love Machine on their February 18, 1976 and February 23, 1977 appearances on TBHS.
Top of the Pops (1976-1983)
When Pan's People finished, Flick and Ruth put together a four-girl and three-boy dance troupe called Ruby Flipper. They were not very popular and Flick was told to bring back an all-girl group. This was Legs & Co., who danced on Top of the Pops from 1976-1981. Only one of the dancers would go onto The Benny Hill Show, Anita Mahadervan, for the first show of 1982 but only as a non dancing Hill's Angel. Anita was still dancing on TOTP at the time as a member of Zoo. Zoo replaced Legs & Co. towards the end of 1981. Members of Zoo who went on to become Angels were Alison Thomas, Anita, Erica Lynley, Sharon Haywoode, Corinne Russell and many unknown Angels.
The Kenny Everett Television Show (1981-1988)
Kenny moved his show to the BBC in 1981 and his first show went out on Christmas Eve, 1981. Hot Gossip did not make the move with him, although they did return for his 1986 series. This time he had his own troupe, Naughty Bits. This was a group of four girls which included his best friend Cleo Rocos. Many of his Naughty Bits would go on to become, or had in the past been, Angels. They are ... Nikki Critcher (1981), Denise Gyngell (1981, 1987), Mandy Perryment (1981), Jane Eve (Colthorpe) (1982-1983), Julie Kirk (1984), Leigh Miles (1984-1985) and Corrine Russell (1985-1986)
The Little and Large Show (BBC)
The double act (Syd Little and Eddie Large) that won Opportunity Knocks in 1971. Their show started on the BBC in 1978 (following Morecambe & Wise's move to Thames Television) and lasted until 1991. One dance act they had on their show was Foxy Feeling. Angels who were in the troupe were Erica Lynley, Jo Thomas, Alison Thomas and Alison Bell. Another dancer who was an ex-Angel, although not during Foxy Feeling's time, was Leigh Miles. She was on TL&LS for the 1990 series.
The troupe founded by Samantha Stevens, who had appeared in the first two shows of Benny's 1975 series (January 8 and March 12, 1975). The only show that I know of that they were on was Opportunity Knocks. Angel Penny Kendall was a member, as well as Erica Lynley.
An ITV game show that was hosted by Ted Rogers. Five dance acts were on the show from 1978-1988. Lipstick was a troupe managed and choreographed by Libby Roberts and Teresa Lucas who were both in the Love Machine. Angels were Erica Lynley, Helen Tozer and Emma Bryant. After Lipstick, Libby Roberts went on to form The Libby Roberts Dancers who were on 3-2-1 during the mid-1980's. This was a six-girl troupe, and all of them were Angels. They were Emma Bryant, Zoe Bryant, Helen Tozer, Sharon Kiel, Laura Wynne and one unknown.
The Russ Abbot Show (BBC, 1986-1991) Leigh Miles did most of this series.
60's Day (BBC, 1993) Leigh Miles.
The Secret Cabaret (Channel 4, 1990, 1992) Frances Wingate.