1981: Complete with projectors not actually projecting anything except their own shadow, The Specials' dark treatise on modern Britain is often said to be the one great moment in pop when socio-political depths were reflected in the charts. Something less said about the record above it that week and still in the top three when it went to number one, Bad Manners' version of the Can Can. Despite the fun behind, the audience clearly couldn't care less - you can hear their conversations and general rustling when Buster emerges. And what happens with the big ending? The director misses it, even though DLT draws attention to it. Linx's David Grant pulls double duty with his transparent drum set. Meanwhile Legs & Co get Quincy Jones's Razzamatazz, which as well as fulfilling the 'in case of uninspired choreography emergency break bikini top glass' part of their contract might be quite a knowing choice, given ITV's Pops rivalling pop show of the same name had started just a month before.
1987: ABC chose their backing singers carefully.
1992: Bernard Sumner again in a troika of classic Pops performers, but presumably Marr and Tennant talked him out of having Electronic doing any more than vocals live.
1999: Jennifer Lopez, a short spangly dancers and the urban dance troupe kept in a box until the time is right. That's all it needed. The 'generic dance hit' troupe came out for ATB. (Don't get confused by that countdown, this is a repeat from the following week's show where it unfortunately looks as if the audience was undermanned but the floor manager thought sticking S Club 7 among them would pad it out. At least Rachel looks embarrassed about it)
2004: Beverley Knight gets her own catwalk and her own feather boa. Oh, these demanding types.