1983: Wham! go all out for the summer angle - swimsuits, towels, tinsel trees, George's yellow shorts and bare chest behind open Hawaiian shirt (and sudden deviations into multi-instrumentalism, and appalling miming), Pepsi and Shirlie's big hats, Tracey Ullman at 1:49 alongside a man who must have been doing that with shakers for hours waiting for his shot, the late appearance of a shower... and yet surely all comprehensively outdone in advance by John Peel without his saying a word. While Wham! were living it up Kim Wilde was going sensual jazz, Tracie was playing around with men in cages and Bruce Foxton was going solo, grey suits all round. Also this week, though visual evidence escapes me, "Gary Byrd TOTP rap". What must that have been like?
1988: Kylie Minogue was too busy with Neighbours to come over and promote I Should Be So Lucky so this was her studio debut, the first of forty visits. For someone playing up her wholesomeness at the time there's a lot of hip thrusting and bending forward going on. Funky Worm are another of those dance acts who find themselves having to hire a horde of pretend instrument players, including two drummers, one of whom seems to be barely playing a step above Neanderthal. Janice was wriggling, apparently. Bringing the BPM down a bit, class in authenticity from All About Eve. Surely nothing can look awkward here.
1994: After the dance boom but before Britpop, this is the sort of 1994 playlist which shows UK pop in a crossroads bind. Maxx's boxing ring visual motif seems to bear little in common with the track, and despite their song's more evident connections to the sport's presentation they don't even lend it out to PJ & Duncan. Live vocals on the verses. Brave. Against such strength of street knowledge Level 42 and
Status Quo are pitched. Drummers in headbands, there's one thing the 90s saw off in time. And still Wet Wet Wet topped the pile, week ten now, and constructed a set pitched between hippy and gothic.
2000: Craig David finally finds someone willing to listen. If you look at the back wall the set designers have worked overtime on the little things most wouldn't notice.