Questions For The Forum- 2.

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Questions For The Forum- 2.

Hanway2
   Q. 2  RUBY FLIPPER- Too Early For Acceptance?
   If it is the general consensus of opinion that Britain was still not ready for Ruby Flipper in the Summer of 1976, by how much was their formation premature? My own thoughts on the matter would be not by very much at all. I could see a mixed group like Ruby Flipper being accepted more readily by the public only a few years later, in 1978 or 1979 perhaps. In the manner that Hot Gossip were accepted, maybe. Public attitudes were advancing rapidly in the 70s on a wide number of subjects, and a group of the nature of Ruby Flipper, both male and female, would have had a greater chance of survival a mere two or three years later. And perhaps that ties into the first question. If Pan’s had kept going a few years more, the transition to Ruby would have seemed much easier and more seamless. Of course, we know now that would have impacted upon Legs and Co., so for many that would not have been welcome. Though that is a judgement based on hindsight, and not something that could be known at the time.
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

Mikey
Mixed groups like Young Generation had been TV staples for years but they seem to be the kind of Saturday night variety show act with their OTT happiness and group homogenity. With TOTP dancers i think their looks, individuality and personality were just as important as dancing ability. So why were RF so short lived on TOTP i dont know, its not an issue with the format itself or what Flick delivered, Pans People were a tough act to follow and the public wanted more of the same i guess.
My love must be a kind of blind love, I can't see anyone but you...

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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

PattiforPM
In reply to this post by Hanway2
Ahh the whys and wherefores of the Ruby Flipper phenomenon.  I am not sure what the answer is.  We tend to think of this as a narrow-mindedness thing on the part of "the Brass" and Hoi Polloi but I'm not sure and I think Mikey is right to a large extent that Pans People were iconic enough that they were very tough to replace and the change just seemed too radical for most, even ignoring the race and gender stuff.  The music was in bit of an odd phase too in 1976 and this may have contributed to the apathy and inattention to which RF were victims perhaps.  At the time I was probably as unimpressed as the above groups honestly (wait I am Hoi Polloi though) although I have since very much come to appreciate the extra options this Troupe afforded a master choreographer and the excellent personnel it attracted of course
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

RYAN
Administrator
In reply to this post by Hanway2
Doomed from the start im afraid. Well 30 seconds into the the first routine to be precise. How can i be sure of that ? Lets be honest, after 8 years of Pans People supplying their reliable and guaranteed brand of female charm, along come three geezers to put the dampeners on proceedings. But whats this, shock horror, one of them is a black boy.

Inconceivable to our eyes some 43 years later, but thats just how it was back then. If they had been 6 or 7 girls running out, no problem. A black girl running out, no problem. The problem was the fella's, and that one of them was black and laying hands onto white females on the BBC flagship pop show TOTPs.

No way would the menfolk at home buy into that notion, even if the group contained 4 pretty females. Seems terrible to think thats how it was, but lets be perfectly blunt, thats the real reason.

As for a mixed group like Ruby Flipper coming along say 18 or 24 months later onto TOTPs, i still do not think it would have gone down well. One only has to look at the Zoo experiment in 1981 and how that fizzled out. All girl dance groups were the bed rock of the show in the 1970's and Legs & Co proved that so.

One only has to watch the TOTP [True Story] documentary from 2001 to see what producer Robin Nash thought of Ruby Flipper. He basically trashed them in that, which in some way was a shame. Flipper made some wonderful dance routines. The problem for them is that those dance routines, so dismissed in 1976 as throw-away foibles, are only now appreciated to the full by an internet audience with no hang-ups on it being a mixed gender group.

Bitter sweet, as Flippers demise brought on Legs & Co, and if im honest thats the important part. But i say hurrah for Ruby Flipper's 162 day tenure on TOTPs.
RYAN
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

The Rubberband Man
It all got off on the wrong foot for Ruby Flipper, and none of it was their fault.
From the viewers point of view, they'd tuned in to watch TOTPs on 6th May 1976 expecting to see the usual dance sequence from Pans People, only to find, to their surprise, Noel introducing Ruby Flipper. No hint from TOTPs that there would be a change in dance troupes, and no opportunity to say goodbye to Pans, who had after-all, become a British Institution.
So the viewers were left wondering what had happened with Pans, their questions weren't answered, and a mild disgruntlement about how they'd been treated lingered long into Ruby's tenure.

The British press weren't on Ruby's side either, fuelling criticism about the new mixed sex dance troupe.
For all sorts of reasons, the viewers didn't accept the Flippers, the top brass in the BBC knew this, and decisive action had to be taken to show the BBC were listening and on the side of the viewers. Hence, and to not repeat earlier mistakes, an all girl group were properly introduced to the viewers (we even heard them say their names), and the TOTPs audience were asked for their buy in by suggesting a name for the new troupe.... and the rest is history
Climate Crisis: This planet's getting hotter than Lulu
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

Hanway2
 All the answers are understood and I also was disappointed and disgruntled that Ruby Flipper had appeared out of nowhere to replace the beloved Pan’s People, I can still remember that well.
  But, the question I am posing is when would Ruby have been found more acceptable. I thought 2 or 3 years. But perhaps , if they had gone straight into Legs and Co. after PP, would RF have found it easier to survive if they came after L&C. The Zoo experiment was doomed form the beginning,  as there were too many unidentifiable members. But a smaller group with known and familiar dancers would have lasted better, I feel.
 This is all speculation, I know, but is something I have thought about many times.
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

Dancer
In reply to this post by Hanway2
Ryan's response is the perfect one.  It was too much of a shock to the system to see men dancing around like that and the comments on public transport about it at the time from men on their way to Goodyears and Dowty's was really bad.  It was very premature to introduce men as we had not had John Travolta burst on the scene.  Mary Whitehouse went into overkill about them too after the Love Hangover dance routine.  I think they would have been more readily accepted from 1978 onwards and the introduction of men with Legs & Co was quite acceptable at the time.  I think the three men though in Ruby Flipper were not ideal.  Phil was fine dancing with one woman as in The Continental and Lou Rawls' track but as a group a big no.  
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

PattiforPM
In reply to this post by Hanway2
Hanway2 wrote
  But, the question I am posing is when would Ruby have been found more acceptable. I thought 2 or 3 years.
 Sorry not to answer the Question properly H2.  I think 2 or 3 years might have made some difference but I think until videos really took over there would always have been some backlash against a mixed sex and Young Hearts/TVC15/Flasher/You'll Never Find Troupe so I think more like 5-6 years.  Certainly I don't think the Legs to Zoo transition hit the same roadblocks but then Zoo were more intangible and it's tough to hate a fuzzy picture
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

SuPaLu
In reply to this post by Hanway2
There must have been some agreement at the top of the BBC for them to give the green light for Flick's idea in the first place.But as the BBC explained at the time,they had a lot of letters expressing regret that Pan's People had been axed,and so it was decided to have another all girl group.I suppose they could have carried on in the hope that people would get over Pan's and get behind Flipper,and thus risk losing some viewers.There is a small piece in the Daily Mirror saying that Flipper was 'collecting their own admirers',this was when they danced to 'Afternoon Delight' and 'You Should Be Dancing'.
Ultimately however if you don't have the support of Robin Nash and Bill Cotton then you're doomed.
Glenn
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Re: Questions For The Forum- 2.

Dolly
In reply to this post by RYAN
I agree with Ryan 💯.
RF was doomed from the start. They were amazing performers.
But the times were not ready to see a young black guy on stage dancing with mostly young White Women. Sad but true. To me RF is so innocent and cute compared to our world today. I can't believe something so innocent like this was once considered taboo! But it is what it is. I like the idea of a mixed gender group. It's much more versatile and aesthetically pleasing with the right people. Ruby Flipper were ahead of their time. Too bad Flick couldn't resurrect RF instead of creating Zoo.
Dolly💋