arts / Projects

TV project: A Song for Soho

A Song for Soho is a projected 13-week musical drama-doc TV series about the Sixties folk scene.


 ♦ A Song for Soho   ♦ All about Soho ♦ The characters  ♦ The songs  ♦ The episodes

The first episode begins with a prologue.

Aerial views of Soho, zooming in on the basement door of 49 Greek Street and down stairs. In the basement room, people lie around in various states of sleep – or at least drowsiness. In one corner, a couple of indeterminate sex have their arms around each other in a grubby sleeping bag. Are they making love, or just sleeping? We cannot tell. A tattered banner on the wall reads: LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES. This is the fabled centre of the Soho folk scene, Les Infants, sometimes known as the children’s crusade. Someone is singing on a low plinth, but we cannot hear what they are singing. Instead, we hear Al Stewart’s song.

After Al Stewart’s first verse and chorus, the song is faded down and we hear a VOICE OVER:

Soho! It is the most important character in our story. Centuries old yet as new as the latest fashion in music – or sex.

  • “Soho” was a fox-hunting cry in the green fields of the city when Henry VIII established it as a royal park.
  • At the battle of Sedgemoor, in 1685, the Duke of Monmouth shouted it out to rally his troops in his failed attempt to seize the throne after the death of Charles II.
  • It was settled by French immigrants in 1688, and for many years it was known as the French quarter.
  • Paul Raymond opened his Revuebar – the first place in Britain to feature full-frontal nudity – about the same time that Matthew Langtry persuaded his dad to open up his basement.

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