BBC TwoPower to the People


Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
The Zimmers
Power to the People is a three-part series of mischievous documentaries presented by Tim Samuels, who helps some of the most disenfranchised people in society make their voice heard.

The Zimmers album cover
The Great Granny Chart Invasion
Monday 28 May 2007
2100 BST on BBC Two
Meet The Zimmers - the world's oldest rock band which has a combined age of over 3,000.

The 40-strong troupe is led by 90-year-old lead singer Alf.

The band includes pensioners fed up in old people's homes. It is a world that feels closed off from society: a world of afternoon naps and daytime television and five o'clock suppers.

Don't Write Me Off 'Cos I'm 90
Alf Carretta is the lead singer of The Zimmers
All feel isolated or imprisoned, and a few are even concerned for their welfare.

And it is not just those in the old people's homes who are cut-off.

Three-and-a-half million old people live alone in the UK.

Pilgrimage to Mecca

"I've Not Left My Flat In Three Years" sign
Joan lives on her own in a tower block in London
Many rely on bingo as a social activity: a staggering one in six pensioners regularly play. But the country's biggest chain, Mecca, recently announced it was closing eight of its bingo halls.

So The Zimmers also decided it was time for a trip to the head offices - a pilgrimage to Mecca - to tell the bingo bosses just how much was at stake.

But it is the charity single - released on 28 May - which they hope will make the biggest noise.

To prepare for action, The Zimmers took over the famous Abbey Road studios to create a cover version of The Who's classic song "My Generation", to show that old people should not be brushed under the carpet.

Women recording the album
"My Generation" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios
And with U2 producer Mike Hedges on board, as well as pop heavyweight Geoff Wonfor (who shot the Band Aid video), the OAPs are hoping to break into the Top Ten.

World phenomena

With the single not even released yet, it seems as if Zimmers have touched a nerve around the world: media from Germany, America, Canada, Iceland, Israel, France, Brazil, and Australia have all jumped on the Zimmers Bandwagon. Even Japanese GQ wanted a piece of them.

There have been radio appearances, talk shows and a gig at a London nightclub.

Pensioner power has even come to MySpace and You Tube.

The next step is to try to conquer America.

Power To The People: The Great Granny Chart Invasion was broadcast on Monday 28 May 2007 at 2100 BST on BBC Two.

Rock elders aim for chart success
13 Apr 07 |  Entertainment

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