Thursday, 30 August 2012

30th August

1979: Apologies for pretty much posting the whole programme, but there's a thread of fascination running throughout. Secret Affair can't get enough of that mod beat and those jackets, Dollar simper over each other on what seems to be a partly carpeted stage, a seventeenth century witchfinder bops about at the front keeping a close eye on Nick Lowe's bootlace tie, Sister Sledge see Legs & Co literally caught in a trap, albeit not a very strong one, the stage left members of Gary Numan's band may have taken some influence from Kraftwerk, there's a belated studio debut from The Commodores determined not to be run over, The Specials finally get to play together and end up pretty much clambering over each other, Gill's shimmying and spinning fails to distract the masses from Johnny Mathis as the stills photographer gets to work early, and The Stranglers' Dave Greenfield pioneers lax one-handed organ playing.

1984: The greatest ever Top Of The Pops, because it's the most spurious Top Of The Pops ever. Think I'll let the Glasgow Herald's TV listings introduce this one...

That's about what it is. Why, we may never know. Excellently the user who uploaded clips from this show appended that five minute preview to the first performance of the show proper, Tears For Fears (you'll have to go about seven minutes in to see that). Note how Richard Skinner asks Jimmy, a man who knew about Intercity 125s, what his job at the Temple Meads end is and then has to explain it himself. Of course Norris never went anywhere without his pole. Jimmy still commentating as the train leaves, followed by the crash zoom to Skinner and momentary dead air afterwards is a thing of joy. And who's this Trisha Simon Bates introduces? How are BBC4 going to deal with it all come 2019, that's what we need to know. But did it break the record? Let's watch Bucks Fizz - with instruments! - while we wait, as it shouldn't be too long after they've finished their song that... oh. Norris never got such a cheer, that'll all we'll say. Also, that cameraman is going to maim people if he has to. There's still some bands playing normally to "thrilled" people in London, of course, not least another iconic The Smiths moment, followed by a rather less iconic moment as Mike Smith... well, you'll see. Back at Temple Meads, as promised Howard Jones goes walkabout amid not too many plants, much to what we imagine was heavy cameraman and director chagrin at their not being given space to work. And at the end of it all, before people get to dance on the platform or just stand around looking confused, we get the train dedication, "surrounded by nobs".

1990: Betty Boo had been cooking a baked potato one day when inspiration struck...

1996: Louise, TOTP's reigning queen of the pointless headset mike, gets caned. Not something, you imagine, that would have played well with Fluffy. Excellent if brief attempt at a psychotic stare at 0:58.

2002: The Sugababes choreography for Round Round is almost too obvious, surely. Horrible edit at the end. Because nobody had time to talk him out of it, Abs ex of Five sampled the Uptown Top Ranking backing - oh, if only the orchestra had still been around - and actually incorporate "khaki suit and ting". Meanwhile Blazin' Squad's style could best be described as "backstreet angelic gang".


Steve Williams said...

The train episode is of course brilliant, I love how it's all backed by Elton John and Ghostbusters, which really adds to the excitement, and how Richard Skinner recites the entire running order including the playout. That's surely the ultimate Michael Hurll production, he loved his pointless spectacles, and note Mike at the end plugging The Late Late Breakfast Show which was going to, it says in the Radio Times, "attempt to break at least a dozen cross-channel records".

The 1979 show is great too, with Lionel Richie being the coolest man alive, the corpsing guitarists and the keyboard player really going for it. I also like Secret Affair's spectacularly angry drummer.

Colm said...

Trisha was one of the most prominent cheerleaders (or members of Zoo post-Flick as a recently-emerged topic of Twitter discussion suggests?) who did the podium dancing/attempted scene-stealing during presenter links thing almost every week in the mid 1980s. She gets another speaking part in a 1985 TOTP when Janice Long asks her if she likes Billy Ocean.

Chris Brown said...

Clearly whoever Trisha is, she's not important enough for Simon Bates to keep the mic in front of her until she's finished talking.

Other notable points: Jimmy Saville OBE shouting "Good morning" from the train at 7pm (was it meant to be some sort of catchphrase?), Skinner's pronunciation of "Depeche Mode" and the screen blanking out during Mike Smith's opening link, even though the studio shots should be safe from drop-outs.