Lyrics by Tim Rice (BENNY & BJÖRN)

Location: London?, UK

Broadcast: Sunday 29 December 1985, 22:15-23:45, ITV, UK

Release status: Released on the Lyrics by Tim Rice VHS video (without the Benny and Björn interview)

Duration: 1:20:00 for entire programme, 50:59 VHS release, not including the 3:06 for B&B & Tim

Shown in: UK

Additional information

Lyrics of Tim Rice was originally a television programme for Yorkshire Televsion Ltd. in 1985. The format was an interview with Tim, conducted by DJ Paul Gambaccini, interspersed with performances of Tim Rice songs. Paul Gambaccini also had Mike Batt in the studio, and footage from an interview with Andrew Lloyd Webber. In addition, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were brought on so that the three creators of Chess could discuss the show together. The programme lasted around an hour and twenty minutes.

Paul Gambaccini interviewed Björn and Benny (who sounded like he had a cold at the time despite looking very healthy and tanned) and Tim Rice in a section about Chess for a programme documenting Tim Rice's musical career.  Tim's other musicals were mentioned and songs were performed from Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.

Several songs from Chess were also performed:

  1. Cantabile (vocal quartet) - Embassy Lament
  2. Elaine PaigeHeaven Help My Heart
  3. Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson - I Know Him So Well  
  4. Murray HeadOne Night in Bangkok 

Benny and Björn made an appearance in the One Night in Bangkok film.

The programme was originally aired on ITV at Christmas 1985, and by Christmas 1986 "sell-thru" videos had started to appear in Woolworths for the first time for about £9.99 - the first of which was Dallas which came out on video because a lawsuit was keeping it from the TV screens in Britain (ITV and BBC were fighting over the screening rights at the time). Dallas was such a hit on "sell-thru" video that a whole batch of others were released very early in 1987, including a re-edited version of the Dutch TV special The Story Of ABBA and a video edit of the 1985 TV special Lyrics By Tim Rice - all available at the budget price of £9.99 where previously you could only buy videos for £40.

By the end of 1987, sell-thru videos became so popular that virtually every new release became available for approximately £10 in Britain which caused the long slow decline of the video rental industry.  Lyrics By Tim Rice was one of the very first available.

The television programme was then edited for video release, cutting out much of the interview footage: Benny & Björn's interview was included in the TV broadcast but was missing when the programme was released on video in 1992, as was Embassy Lament.

Click here for a TV listing from The Observer (London) - 29 December 1985, p.24.
Click here for a TV listing from Leidsch Dagblad - 28 December 1985, p.23 (note that this listing shows programmes in CET - UK time would be one hour earlier).

Broadcast information:
Sunday 29 December 1985, 22:15-23:45, ITV (a Yorkshire Television production).
Repeated in a shorter version a few days after July 9 1988 on London Weekend Television (ITV), UK

Release information:
This programme was released on the Lyrics by Tim Rice VHS video in 1992 (but without the Benny & Björn interview)

Thanks to Alex Jones, Hillel, Billy Strachan, Robert Mandara and Jozsef.

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