Here’s some information about “Now!” that I’ve found in “The Stage”.
Presenters and guests
Wendy Varnals and Cynthia Pettigrew co-presented some of the episodes with Michael Palin. Apparently, Varnals provided a “tongue-in-cheek comment spot on the teenage scene”. Billie Davis was a guest compere on 18 March 1966.
Tom Jones performed “Not Responsible” and “Once There Was A Time” on the edition broadcast on 20 May 1966.
On 15 April 1966, Michael Palin announced a talent contest for groups and singers. The finalists appeared on a special edition of the show called “Popportunity Now” which was broadcast on 01 July 1966. The ten finalists were The Next of Kin, The In-Sect, Sect Maniacs, The Sensational Sultans, The Vagrants, The Vogues, The Mountain Men, Mike Starr and the Citizens, Pentworth’s People and The Silverstone Set.
The judges were Tom Jones, Spencer Davis, and the pop correspondents of the Bristol Evening Post and the South Wales Echo.
The results were announced on an edition of “Now!” broadcast on 15 July 1966 and the winners also performed on the show.
The series ended on 22 July 1966. The cancellation of the series was announced in “The Stage” the previous day. Bryan Michie, TWW’s programme controller, was interviewed for the article. The pop scene is changing this year, says Bryan, and our next teenage programme might have to be a different type of show. We will study the position this autumn. The Musicians’ Union ban on miming has not made much difference, he adds, as most groups nowadays prefer to give a live studio performance rather than mime to their current release.
This could be complete cobblers, but I have a memory of it once being mentioned on this forum that some kind of sequence of Michael Palin dancing to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's first single 'My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies' from early 1966 had survived from this show. I remember the context for this being someone had seen this clip and mistaken it for an excerpt from a rediscovered edition of 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' but was corrected and told it was from the earlier show, 'NOW!'. This ring any bells for anyone?
Or it could be possible that one of the already mentioned sequences (the piano playing bit maybe?) was meant to be synched up to the Bonzos track... I imagine any visual interpretation of this song would involve an enactment of the songs lyrics about sound effects accompanying silent films. Or I could have just got the wrong end of the stick.
I haven’t read anything about a “Now!” film insert featuring a Bonzo Dog soundtrack, but it’s possible that it exists somewhere.
It appears that the National Library of Wales don’t hold all the film inserts that were produced for the series. Apparently, "These Boots Are Made for Walking" was on the soundtrack of a film clip that hasn't survived. Michael Palin was shown walking across the Clifton Suspension Bridge in a striped Edwardian bathing costume and wellingtons. Palin mentioned this clip during an interview with “The Independent” in 2008 (https://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/getting-job/my-first-job-former-python-michael-palin-was-a-pop-show-presenter-775912.html)
By the way, Palin mentioned in the same interview that Rod Stewart, Manfred Mann and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore all made appearances on “Now!”.
The article also states that Palin had three co-presenters on the show. Two of these I’ve mentioned already: Wendy Varnals (who was also an actress) and Cynthia Pettigrew (who started out as a dancer on the show, before being made a compere). I've found out from looking at an issue of the TWW listing magazine "TV Weekly" that the other presenter was Cherry Farrow. She had a regular fashion spot on the programme.
I’ve also found out that Palin often appeared alongside a guest compere from the pop world. For example, singer Tracy Rogers co-presented the show on 26 January 1966 and I think she was a semi-regular guest after that. I don’t know why a half-hour show needed so many presenters.