1979: Well, now you know what the title of Arte's TOTP clip shows looked like. A little ostentatious if you ask me. Similarly, Eruption, who with the use of uniform dreadlocks attempt to avert the thought they're essentially how Frank Farian would have envisaged Labelle. Meanwhile as former punks Generation X see Billy Idol attempt to develop his command of body language - see the second verse - before a Costcutter Bowie/Ronson moment, former Strawbs became faux-punks The Monks, new wave as performed by someone who's only ever read about it.
1984: A fairly notorious moment, Sandie Shaw returning to Pops at the Smiths' behest and ending up laying on the floor as early as the start of the first verse. Not exactly the demure, almost stationary singer of her prime, but at least it's a fine song and not, say, this. Maybe that was what Morrissey had in mind when he said 'reggae is vile'. He doubtless wasn't too keen on Duran Duran, or Janice Long's singing. For a band formed out of New Romanticism and famed for their stylish touch those jackets do seem quite two for ten quid down the market. Note Simon's game miming along to the Fairlight sampling of his voice. Belle & The Devotions were our openly Supremes-lite representatives at Eurovision, beating Hazell Dean and Sinitta in the heats before getting booed on the night in reaction to football hooliganism in hosts Luxembourg the previous year, and not to such awful styling. The captain's hat really sets off the full set. Would such lowbrow glamour have aided or hindered The Flying Pickets? You can't really argue it was a priority.
1990: Alright, who let Pat & Mick happen? A combination of Capital Radio, Stock Aitken & Waterman and charity, but I'd be surprised if that was Pat Sharp's actual voice in the, cough, harmonies. Can't help thinking Mick Brown has kind of dressed badly for the occasion too. Unique 3 were house hip-hop from Bradford and were clearly susceptible to the "what do we do with the extra over bloke?" issue that often afflicted such bands on Pops.
2002: Is this the least dignified intro Pulp have ever had? It doesn't really make sense. Any Jarvis on Pops gets in, and to an extent so does any New Order, either if Barney's on live vocals (not here) or it's late on and they're into self-parody (here). See Hooky scrape the floor with his bass, here added to by some exuberant drum pad bashing! Cringe at every mid-line Barney airpunch! Holly Valance spent most of 2002 with her bra showing and goes all out for the domination dollar on her Pops debut. Having her name on her dancers' backs is a neat if utterly futile touch.