1974: And they say the BBC gives undue prominence to bands now. The Osmonds were given a whole week of live variety specials in the last week of August 1974, and halfway through their performance space was used so they could co-host a TOTP special with Noel. This seems to be taken directly off VT, oddly. Part one starts, curiously for what is clearly not an ordinary episode, with someone else, a pointy Glitter Band, before Little Jimmy introduces Donny and Marie, and then onto the stylistic jolt of Cozy Powell. A quick step to the side for Donny to remember times alone with Pan's People, who class up the joint to The Stylistics, before part two welcomes a group whom Alan admires for the way they "write their own material", Cockney Rebel hopelessly out of place, unlike Sweet Dreams who follow. Infamously Polly Brown of Sweet Dreams usually performed in blackface so people didn't know she used to be the singer in Pickettywitch, but Robin Nash refused to let her go all the way on TOTP so she settled for a light brown dusting. Part three features a right screaming girl showdown with the Bay City Rollers, followed by Sylvia, and you wonder how that was explained to the brothers. By part four Noel has wrested control back so gets to consider his week before introducing the debut performance of Love Me For A Reason before the Three Degrees' number one before a closing dancealong. Look carefully at the close-up across the performers and note the steadfast refusal of Cockney Rebel to take any part in such fun. Steve Harley actually shakes his head on camera.
1985: Hosting their own private worst hedge-like haircut competition as they do so, King exude, none more so than Paul and his arm action for every bar. Phil Collins in a huge towelling suit looks a little lost on his own, something Total Contrast have thought about before deciding to make themselves out as a vocal and occasionally plucked bass duo.
1991: Sophie Lawrence was the latest to come off the soap roundel and into pop, having decided to take the Kylie route of three years ago only with even less enthusiastic dancing along. PM Dawn's dancers meanwhile fly in the face of fashions and never all act out the same thing. If you put their dresses together does a picture emerge?
1997: That's how to do it if you're a self-conscious rock band like The Wildhearts, turn everything up to distorted volume. The front row, of course, still attempt to dance wholeheartedly. That one bloke especially. You'll see which one.