1979: Darts were never the same presence once Den left, especially as it's only now the director thinks to put them in split screen. Even if Hegarty was still around they'd have conclusively lost the battle for disturbing focal presences, as anyone would on a show Sparks are also on. More proof that eventually TOTP stood down and just put any punk on comes via UK Subs, Charlie Harper playing his part up even more than Jimmy Pursey did. The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde is a femme fatale in a golfing jumper. Now, did nobody tell Legs & Co, intepreting Donna Summer, what befell Pan's People when they tried to include dogs in a routine?
1984: No pledges to break wind in your kitchen from Messrs Powell and Skinner, but The Mighty Wah! fulfil their part of the entertainment bargain. Billy Idol has the sneer in place and Mr T-rivalling amounts of jewellery. For The Kane Gang one singer just wasn't enough. Amazing how that melodica sounds like a harmonica. Blancmange swap everyone else's choice of synthpop instruments for tablas and... whatever that is, and check the trumpet player blithely wandering on at the end for his moment. Then Divine - "a cult figure in movies for some eight years!" comes on and all bets are off. Cutting some real moves towards the end.
1996: Rock Therapy... well, the caption explains who they are and what they're there for, but the presence of people who in some cases hadn't been on the show for two decades doesn't seem to excite anything, especially not an audience of Gary Barlow fans extremely excited by his minor piano chords. But there was something else emerging that week, something much bigger. It's odd that Spice Girls hadn't been on pre-release given their hype, though equally so that they were already in Tokyo the week their debut single hit the charts. Geri's already pointing a lot. Mel C's in Liverpool kit and big trainers. Victoria's in... trousers? Brown cords, too.