Marc was the low budget, studio based music themed TV show, aimed at the after school crowd and hosted by the softly-spoken, glam rocker, Marc Bolan. It ran for just one series of 6 episodes from 24th August 1977 until 20th September 1977 and occupied the tea time slot on ITV. Produced by Muriel Young for Granada in Manchester, the show gave Marc the opportunity to introduce a crop of both new and established acts who played (mimed) their latest hits in the studio, interspersed with Marc and his band playing hits from his T-Rex back-catalogue. It even had its own dance troupe, called Heart Throb who would gyrate around whenever required.
Since the 1971/72 hey-day of T-Rex, during which time Bolan scored several number one hits on both the album and single charts, Marc had had a tricky couple of years. However, by 1977 he was once again active, clean, producing new material and hoping to build on his previous glam rock achievements.
So what was a twisty haired clothes-horse from a by-gone era doing introducing school children to Punk Rock?
Marc seemed ahead of the curve to most of his contemporaries, he was already a regular at early punk shows, and far from distancing himself from the new music, Marc seemed to embrace his new Punk friends.
Having just completed his “come back” tour in March 1977, a tour that Marc had personally invited The Damned along on as his support band, maybe he saw certain parallels with his own experiences of pushing pop’s parameters in the early 1970s, his mix of outrageous clothes, and his campy bang a gong hippy fascination mixed with a certain androgyny. Along with long time chum David Bowie, Marc was a boundary-pusher, so maybe he was excited by Punk’s forays into the rock and roll unknown.
Jostling for space among many of the producer Muriel Young’s stodgy bookings, like Stephanie de Sykes and Steve Gibbons, Marc had the opportunity to host some of the earliest TV appearances by Generation X, The Jam, The Boomtown Rats and Eddie and the Hot Rods.
9 days after recording the 6th and final episode, Marc was tragically and unexpectedly killed in a car crash on his way home to Richmond in West London, from a restaurant in the West End.
The Damned’s Captain Sensible recalls the moment he heard of the accident in an interview with Uncut magazine,
CAPTAIN SENSIBLE: “I was in a deckchair in my parents’ garden catching up on some sleep when I was awoken by my mum saying, “Your mate, what’s his name, Roley, Boley? He’s died in a car crash.” I hoped she didn’t mean Marc Bolan”.
RAT SCABIES: “We’d just been on tour with Marc. He looked after us. He was really good on the technical side of sound. I’m pretty sure he would have ended up producing us”.
SENSIBLE: I locked myself in my room and picked up the guitar. The sad Part 1 of “Smash It Up” pretty much wrote itself and is a tribute to Marc. While other old-guard rockers like [Phil] Collins and [Keith] Richards loathed punk, he actually really dug it”.
So take off your blazer, kick off your school shoes, forget your homework and enjoy episode 1 of Marc from August 1977.