The Benny Hill Show Wikia
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Pan's People was a British TV dance troupe that starred on the BBC-TV music chart show, "Top of the Pops," a Seventies counterpart to the American TV series, "American Bandstand." When the original bands were unavailable to perform their own songs, Pan's People usually appeared to dance to the songs.
Formed as a sextet in December 1966, Pan's People were formed as a replacement to "The Go-Jos," who had appeared in the show's first four years. They officially joined the show in May 1968. Beginning from their first appearance, the group comprised members Louise Clarke, Felicity "Flick" Colby, Barbara "Babs" Lord, Ruth Pearson, Andrea "Andi" Rutherford, Patricia "Dee Dee" Wilde, but Colby gradually stood down from dancing towards the end of 1971 to concentrate full-time on choreographing the group's routines. Rutherford also left to go on maternity leave, and was replaced by Cherry Gillespie in December 1972. Clarke also left Pan's People to start a family in 1974, replaced by Sue Menhenick in an open audition. In 1975, Lord and Wilde also departed, replaced by Mary Corpe from "The Young Generation" and Lee Ward. In April 1976, the line-up featured Mary Corpe, Cherry Gillespie, Sue Menhenick, Lee Ward and Ruth Pearson, the only remaining original member.
In addition to "Top of the Pops," Pan's People also appeared on the TV shows "Bobbie Gentry," "Lulu," "The Price of Fame," "The John Denver Show," "The Two Ronnies" and with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on their 1975 Christmas Day TV Show, one of the most popular TV shows in the UK. They also appeared in their own edition of the "In Concert" series for BBC television in 1974. In 1975, they were spoofed on "The Benny Hill Show" by Benny Hill, Henry McGee, Bob Todd, Jackie Wright and Earl Adair in the sketch "Pam's People."
Dancer and TV hostess Lesley Judd became a temporary member of the group shortly before "Pan's People" made their last appearance on "Top of the Pops" in April 1976, replaced by the male and female quartet, "Ruby Flipper," who only lasted about six months until bowing to public pressure. Meanwhile, Dee Dee Wilde realized the name was still marketable and kept "Pan's People" alive as she continued to dance with and manage a new group of girls including Louise English, Abigail Higgins, Pauline Crawford, Francesca Whitburn, Sarah Woollett and Stephanie Lawrence. English and Lawrence, however, stayed on "The Benny Hill Show" after their April 25, 1979 appearance to join the Hill's Angels, later joined by more members of Pan's People. Two members for a short time, Sarah Brightman and Carol Fletcher, during this period joined the "Hot Gossip" dancers.