1978: In TOTP1977 land we've only just been introduced to punk and new wave but a year later they're already onto its second wave with thematic dressing from The Motors and careful intro choreography from the Boomtown Rats, Bob having calmed down a bit by now. For more than slight scariness when confronted by a camera you need the stare of Elvis Costello & the Attractions. No, that's definitely a mullet. British funk was booming too, Rokotto having a tri-frontperson game of 'one of these is not like the others'. For the Radio 2 listeners there was James Galway in front of the orchestra and alongside Sue Menhenick, which can only be an apology given she and her colleagues had been assigned Father Abraham & The Smurfs. Yeah, they got Legs & Co to get done up as Smurfs rather than hire people in costumes. And they were able to show their faces in public again. Alongside this spectacle, Jimmy bringing his famous ease to bear on the good Father.
1989: REM's TOTP debut, with the megaphone and the wayward miming and the Stipe chest. And again I ask: how's Simon Parkin supposed to know what it's actually about? Meanwhile, just eight months after the We Call It Acieed controversy Sinitta, of all people, smuggles the smiley face logo onto the show, using her huge hat as a distraction. Did the dancer at 1:31 just forget where he was supposed to be? Unsure whether to go for formal dress or risque, Donna Allen goes for both.
1995: An undercovered Michelle Gayle receives a surprise "on behalf of Eternal", not that Louise shows us it or anything. It also screws up her involved intro to Paula Abdul, who for a celebrated choreographer seems to have borrowed her moves back from Janet Jackson. That's not something Edwyn Collins has ever had to contend with.
2001: Marti Pellow had been on TOTP enough in his previous life, but he seems as bowled over by the audience reaction to his solo comeback as they are by seeing him. Very subtle setting and performance, mind. Unlike, say, Muse.