Len Goodman's Big Band Bonanza

Len Goodman's Big Band Bonanza
ADVERTISEMENT

Review

Forget punk, rap and deathcore metal: swing is the toughest music around. The men and women of the Second World War defeated the actual Nazis, and the music of Glenn Miller was how they kept their spirits up. The Big Band sound was so potent on the Western Front, Hitler tried to ruin it with his own propaganda versions: “Let’s go bombing, oh let’s go bombing. Let’s go shelling, where they’re dwelling, Let’s shell Churchill’s women and children too-oo.”

It didn’t work. As one contributor to this toe-tapping documentary puts it, the Nazis “underestimated British irony”. Len points out that even after the war, big bands kept fighting for relevance in a changing musical culture, from savvy bandleaders like Ted Heath through “illegal jiving” on the dance floor to the onslaught of the Beatles. The fact it still survives and thrives is a testament to Big Band’s adaptability and sheer joy. Plus, the tunes simply can’t be beat. Strike up the band and let’s dance like it’s 1949.

Summary

The dancer explores big band and swing music in Britain since the Second World War, returning to some of his old stomping grounds to discover why this bold and brassy art form enjoys universal appeal, seemingly capable of reaching out to people across the generations. The Strictly head judge charts the rise and fall of these musical genres - and their recent revival.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Len Goodman
Director Roger Keech
Executive Producer Clare Paterson
Producer Roger Keech
Producer Paul Greenan
Series Producer Tony Parker
see more
Music