There then followed a whole plethora of radio and TV programmes in which the Orchestra distinguished itself, - like: "The Morecambe and Wise Show", "Little Miss Music", "Variety Fanfare", and "Dee Time", in which the legendary Stan Kenton said he could "use the NDO musicians en bloc".
The early 1960's saw a change of NDO Music Directors when flautist Bernard Herrmann took over from Alyn Ainsworth. Around the same time, the BBC asked producers Geoff Lawrence, Peter Pilbeam and John Wilcox to take on board the rise of the ‘Rock and Pop’ scene.
The team very professionally embraced the changes, and Bernard conducted shows like ‘Pop North’ and ‘Here We Go With The NDO’, a show in which the Beatles made their radio debut in 1962.
When Bernard left, the multi talented Brian Fitzgerald took up the baton. On some sessions, the NDO was augmented by Norman George and his strings .
The major differences between the NDO and the later NRO were the addition of an oboe / cor anglais, 3 horns and harp to the standard NDO line up.
Sue Woolley took the flute chair when the NRO was formed.
An interesting side note is that during this time, famed Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann, was resident and working in England, as was the flutist / leader "Bernard Herrmann" of the NDO. Because the names were exactly the same,very often these two men were mistaken for each other.
By 1969 the continued existence of the Orchestra was threatened by the "Mansell Committee", which proposed that the NDO should be disbanded. An uproar followed, and the public campaigned for its survival.
“The NDO Must Not Go", became a demonstration of national concern. The Musicians' Union threatened a national musicians' strike if the BBC did not withdraw its proposals; and throughout the UK musicians assembled to voice their disapproval. The House of Commons proposed an early day motion, signed by twenty three MP's, stating that "This House views with concern the British Broadcasting Corporation's proposal to disband the Northern Dance Orchestra .....and calls for its retention"; and the Corporation's Symphonic musicians threatened to assemble outside Broadcasting House and perform Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture", using live ammunition.
But perhaps the most effective element in the campaign was a car sticker proclaiming that "The NDO Must Not Go" which eventually seemed to be carried by every motor vehicle in the North of England. Indeed one NDO musician, Peter Husband was stopped by a police car on his way home to Leeds. In fear and trepidation Peter waited for one of the police officers to reach his car and was astonished when the policeman asked him "where can we get hold of those stickers you've got in your rear windscreen?
Sadly the NDO last played on a Friday in September 1974 - on the following Monday some members returned as part of the NRO with a revised line-up.