Seminal 70s rock show The Old Grey Whistle Test reached its 40th anniversary last year and this month sees the BBC programme hit the headlines again.

Highlights of a special evening of music and chat celebrating the show include a full 40-minute Lynyrd Skynyrd (pictured) set and recollections of Rush, Meat Loaf and more. 

Producer and acclaimed music and media historian Chris Phipps has secured rarely-screened footage from BBC Worldwide for The Old Grey Whistle Test 4oth Anniversary at The Sage Gateshead on January 15.

And he has assembled a panel including ex-OGWT producer Jill Sinclair, Lindisfarne founder member Ray Laidlaw and Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith – all three will join Phipps in introducing their favourite clips and extolling the virtues of a show dedicated to the glory of the rock album rather than chart singles.

“There are three definitive OGWT moments that stand out for me,” said Phipps. “I will never forget Meat Loaf singing Paradise By The Dashboard Light – OGWT was his big break in the UK and that was an incredible performance.

“I also vividly recall watching Bob Marley And The Wailers making their first British TV appearance on the show. For many people that was their first experience as reggae being performed as rock. It was part of an aggressive marketing campaign by Island Records to break Marley as a rock artist.

“The third highlight for me was watching Rush perform Xanadu. I knew about them but I’d never seen them and that set literally blew me away.”

* The Old Grey Whistle Test 4oth Anniversary starts at 8pm on Sunday January 15 in The Sage Hall Two. Tickets, costing £12, are still available.

* The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Anniversary Box Set, compiled by Jill Sinclair, is out now on Rhino/Warner Bros.