1979: Especially if you're the sort of person who, like Mike Read, dons a helmet to introduce The Police - and in a confusion of roles it's Stewart Copeland who dons the yellow and black jumper - this week provides something of a challenge to the family viewers. Firstly Siouxsie & The Banshees intersperse some divebombing darkness with school drawing lesson pictures, then Public Image Ltd career down an even bigger, bumpier crater, complete with Lydon's ear defenders ("I was determined to do TOTP even though it was pure hell. I want that record to be heard. There's no point hanging onto principles and morals if nobody in the world can hear you") and Jah Wobble's purposefully blacked out teeth.
1984: For the second Pops in a row John Peel - alongside Tommy Vance, which must have been some green room, and next to Vance a woman in a hard hat - draws attention before Shakatak to "my mate Bill Sharpe" and his poor choice of leisurewear (Sharpe had been a BBC studio manager and was close friends with Peel and John Walters). Still in jazz-funk Phil Fearon & Galaxy have been downsized significantly. At least they're enjoying themselves, when you get guitar bands like Echo & The Bunnymen on the show they're only ever very serious in approach. Right? On a different plain altogether, Neil. Nigel Planer goes method, and audible audience laughter over the backing track is a very wonderful thing. Those flowers got a second use in perhaps a more symbolic way than anyone brandishing them could have realised, as with a sense of inevitability for the time Frankie Goes To Hollywood were still number one.
1990: The Soup Dragons pull off all the classic baggy stage moves. Junior Reid is less confident, completely missing his initial cue. Still, the girls seem to like him.
1996: Once past their indie associations and into pop stride Shampoo weren't exactly subtle, were they? Similarly your host, the semi-legendary Bear Van Beers, at general work here either side of Belinda Carlisle in her big mac. Toni Braxton's drummer is a big show-off awaiting a moment that he knows never comes. Just for Super Furry Animals' debut Gruff Rhys picked out his best shirt.
2002: A moustachioed Jamie Theakston thinks Amy Studt is like Tori Amos despite her not being a pianist, which you'd imagine would be quite crucial, and possibly having somehow never heard of Avril or Alanis. Studt picks the close up at the end as the moment to start picking hair out of her mouth. The lighting director's notes for Idlewild simply read "just stick some lightbulbs up, the rest will sort itself out".