A pub crawl through Christchurch was one way to discover local talent for a new television pop show from the Garden City. Called Pop Co, it began screening on all channels on April 19, 1972.
The show used material from the hit parade, and was aimed at the "teenybopper" type viewer. Producer Peter Muxiow said: “We're catering for a smaller, younger audience than Happen bin. Everyone on the show is under 25.”
Most of the performers appearing in Pop Co came from Christchurch. but in each of the six programmes there was one artist or group from another centre. Some were professional, others more or less just happened, some were completely unknown. They included The Chapta, Bartholomew John, Dyan Bamford (pictured) and Annie Whittle.
Because the programmes used hit parade material and the production wanted them to be topical, it was of necessity that each show was produced just three days before it went on air.
Songs in the first programme included Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Peace Train and Superstar. There was no miming — all vocals were recorded live.
A seven-piece backing group made a regular contribution to Pop Co along with a group of dancers who, each week, did a complete routine independent of other performers.
Front man for the programme was Stephen Evans, a 23-year-old New Zealander born in India, the son of missionary parents. He “came in off the street” to audition for Pop Co’s frontman, never having been connected with pop music in any professional capacity before and never having been on television. But without pop music, he said, he wouldn’t get up in the mornings.
According to coverage in the Listener at the time his other interests included old movies, conservation, waterskiing and riding bicycles. He was a health food fanatic and now and again tried to learn yoga. He liked the way Pop Co was shaping up in advance of its first screening and hoped for its success.
Apart from Pop Co Peter Muxiow produced a number of programmes in Christchurch including Presenting Dinah Lee, Ah de doo oh de doo dah day and a series of six called Moving.
POP CO premiered on Northern Television, CHTV-3 and DNTV-2, Wednesday April 19 1972, 6.10 pm. approx.; Central Television, 6.26 pm.
Information from The Listener, April 17, 1972