What they say . . .
We received a regular mail bag which included viewers requests. Here are also some brief extracts from articles, letters and enquiries.
In date sequence:
... a wonderful series which introduced me to some songs i didn't know as well as many I had loved for years. I liked the mix of performances and 'rehearsing' (the singers sitting around performing numbers from the scores) and the singers themselves were superb. I also loved the fact that you displayed on the screen all the details of each song performed.
These programmes were put together by people who really cared about this kind of music and it showed. I would love to see these programmes on DVD.
14 April 2022
... I loved the mixture of well known and rarely heard numbers and the fact that the details of each song were clearly displayed on the screen. The setting was super and of course you employed wonderful singers such as Marilyn Hill Smith, Ben Luxon and Julia Migenes.
You can't imagine Channel 4 broadcasting a show like that now sadly.
I recorded each programme - eight in total I believe - on video but sadly lost several of them when I was burgled a few years later ...
18 October 2020
From a letter by Gilbert Roberts, Palmers Green, London:
... Television chooses to ignore whole areas of the musical spectrum. When did we last see a music programme featuring stylish cabaret? Channel 4 presented an excellent series of show and operetta songs called Top Cs and Tiaras. Surely this could be revived successfully? Many people's musical tastes are not acknowledged by television.
The Stage, 19 August 1999
From a letter by Frank Blundell:
Give us more good music - Do you think perhaps they will return the marvellous Channel 4 programme from 1985, Top Cs and Tiaras? It was non-stop music with top singers like Peter Morrison and lots of others. It went on for six months every Saturday night and it would be fantastic if they would repeat it. I hope they can be persuaded - we get so little middle of the road music.
Sandwell Evening Mail, 26 June 1991
Letter from Queenie Smith, Exmouth, Devon:
All the magic of Top Cs and Carmen - I was thrilled to read the splendid article in praise of that marvellous lady Julia Migenes-Johnson! She is utterly fantastic; the first time I saw her I said to myself 'Carmen to perfection' - not knowing she was to make the film with Placido Domingo. I cannot imagine a more dynamic pair. But why did your article not mention Julia's wonderful television programme Top Cs and Tiaras - pure magic - which now carries her own name. I hope it will be back on my screen very soon.
Daily Mail, 20 May 1985
From TV listings:
... the lively sparkling series "Top C's and Tiaras," which, despite its rather off-putting title, shows what a fund of talent and resources are available in operetta and musical comedy.
Telegraph, 31 December 1984
Extract from In My View by Hilary Kingsley:
Super Singers - If you haven't already, try trilling along with Top Cs and Tiaras on Sundays ... this team of singers is so superb, you wonder how Channel Four can afford them ...Julia Migenes Johnson is a knockout and Benjamin Luxon's voice is wonderful.
Daily Mirror, 5 May 1984
Mrs W. Buchanan, Aberdeen:
To all lover of musical comedy and operetta 'Top C's and Tiaras is a programme of real relish. These talented performers might well be described by a master of ceremonies as "succulent, euphoric, and gifted to a high level."
Words are clearly heard, an attribute which, as any who are trained vocally know to be an essential for real listening pleasure, and the accompanying musicians an accolade to them all.
An added bonus is the stately home surroundings which comes alive with interior decor of exquisite beauty. The outside of the house where this musical feast is performed, is a facade of quiet dignity. A worthwhile setting for delightful vocalising. More power to the vocal chords.
Aberdeen Evening Express, 2 June 1984
From TV Mail article by Paul Donavan:
Channel 4's new series of Top C's and Tiaras, beginning tomorrow, was made in and around the imposing pile outside South Mimms where Byng's descendants still live.
Once again, the cast is led by American star Julia Migenes Johnson: 'My father was Greek, my mother Puerto Rican,' she says. 'Migenes is her name. I was born in Manhattan. We were on welfare and my parents didn't even marry until I was 10.'
Daily Mail, 28 April 1984
From article by Richard Morrison:
... the programme conveys a sense of fun, and at least it resuscitates some sparking operetta tunes.
The Listener, 26 April 1984
A short extract from an interview by Peter Lewis:
Top Cs and Tiaras pioneered a new, relaxed, unstuffy approach tonight music on television ... no tiaras, there is not much evening dress, no old-fashioned pomp and hand-clasping - and no audience ... they let their hair down together, not in a studio or theatre but a country house, singing around a piano to one another or wandering through the gilded rooms or the grounds.
The first programmes won such positive and warm-hearted viewer response that the new ones will run for six Sundays. The artists help to choose their songs, miming is banished - it is shot as it is sung - and they give every appearance of really enjoying themselves.
The Arts, The Times, 24 April 1984
Extract from TV listings by Sean Day-Lewis:
... the second helping of Top Cs and Tiaras (C4), a slickly assembled and more or less uncorrupted sequence of melodies from operetta and musical comedy ... of it's kind, it was an excellently finished video which would have won a high rating indeed on one of the senior channels.
Daily Telegraph, 1 November 1983
Extract from TV listings by Elizabeth Crowley:
... when the first Top Cs programme was broadcast last April, viewers' response was terrific. So Channel 4 decided to do another, and tonight's show is the forerunner of a full series ... an hour of non-stop music ...
Daily Mail, 31 October 1983