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Byline: Elkan Allan

HE HAD in his nature the confidence of a gambler on a roll, always willing to tumble the dice when a new idea danced into his thoughts.

Some saw him as a chancer, but he was just as much a keen calculator, whose instincts were usually a whisker ahead of the next trend.

His senses were at their sharpest in 1962 when, after a series of masterful strokes in journalism, he was appointed head of entertainment at R e d i ff u s i o n .

It was a time to be young, particularly on Friday night.

The slogan was, "The Weekend Starts Here", and the show was Ready, Steady, Go! Elkan Allan was its producer.

Boys and girls packed into the tiny studio to jive before their heroes - The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Beatles and many others.

With hems rising at an alarming rate, Allan wanted a presenter in tune with the new mood.

Cathy McGowan, a pounds 10-a-week secretary, was his choice.

"She was awfully gauche and raw and desperately nervous, but she was worth taking on because she was obviously terribly switched on in a teenage way.

Allan was born in Cricklewoood, London.

His parents had changed their name from Cohen to Allan.

His first job was as assistant editor of The Outfitter, remarkably visiting all the big West End shows, so he could write about the actors' clothes for his column, The Dress Circle.

In 1942, he entered the Daily Express newsroom through the back entrance, thus slipping security. This initiative gained him a job on the reporting staff.

By the General Election of 1945, he was with the Picture Post, standing by Clement Attlee when news broke that he was to be the next Prime Minister.

As his career advanced at Rediffusion, he became head of current affairs, giving David Frost his first job for the Sunday Times.

In the 1970s, he came up with the idea of listings, giving a critical analysis of forthcoming TV programmes, having been granted a preview.

This extended into published guides. He would later become listings' editor of The Independent.

More recently, Allan, who married twice and had five children, wrote about on-line gambling.

Elkan Allan, journalist' born December 8, 1922, died June 25, 2006.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jun 30, 2006
Words:382
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