1979: There's quite a few unlikely Pops bands in this period, perhaps few less likely in hitmaking terms than Flying Lizards, the avant-garde collective for whom frantic cuts and visual blurring was apparently the only way to reflect the off-kilteredness. Deborah Evans-Stickland is as haughty as the role demands. Not that much different from Showaddywaddy, really. Mick Talbot would eventually make plenty of Pops appearances once co-opted into the Style Council, but for now he's co-vocalist and keyboardist with mod revivalists The Merton Parkas. Superimposed on a spinning tyre? It's all the BBC could have done. Also sharp suited and co-opted into new wave, Joe Jackson is given picture-in-picture effects that merely make him look like he's standing on a slope. This clip from its repeat is worth it for a fine example of a specialised artifically lengthened Jimmy intro. But punk wasn't dead, Angelic Upstairs keen into taking it into more straightforwardly brutal areas. DLT, asphyxiating as he's talking a speciality, introduces Legs & Co giving Spyro Gira some as they play an advanced game of hide and seek, all with their names on their fronts in case they get lost.
1984: Tracey Ullman's TOTP appearances always had to be just so, the right props and two rigidly choreographed dancers every time. They should all have jumped onto that oversized deckchair at the end. Peel gets away with some spectacular double entrende introducing Windjammer, carefully choreographed in time themselves, while Hazell Dean picks up Ullman's baton and takes it back to Kelly Marie, bouncy disco and two men in headbands and boiler suits. No such fripperies for Blancmange. The Indian motif we've seen in their last few performances continues, and Neil Arthur's sporting a bindi just to emphasise it. What a splendid moustache the trumpet player boasts, which makes up for his fifteen second long appearance. Frankie Goes To Hollywood made seven seperate appearances on TOTP for Two Tribes, and it's been an experience of sorts finding and watching them all to work out which show they correspond with. This one is the best, though, and perhaps one of the great forgotten TOTP performances, starting with closed captioned Patrick Allen and Holly demonstrating his opinion of the Sun (with front page lead 'STREET STAR VERA F'... FAINTS? FLEES? FIRED? FLOODED OUT?), not that that stopped the band contributing to the Sun-backed Ferry Aid record. On top of that there's the flags, the loudspeakers, the cane, the white suits and Holly going walkabout right through the audience, in doing so exposing how few of them there are on the floor. Listen to the volume of reaction it gets.
1990: SPOILER on this one, as it comes from a repeat showing. Bombalurina, Timmy Mallett's Eurodance cover of Brian Hyland's 1960 hit in only the way that suggests. One of the dancers went on to marry Gary Barlow.
1996: "Some of Britain's greatest bands" are involved in Me Me Me, assures Peter Andre, but they presumably didn't turn up so here's Alex James, the drummer from Elastica (miles in the background) and Stephen Duffy with a song that took Britpop far over the music hall edge. This isn't on that box set. Suede are worth watching to see Neil Codling in action, having added shades to his unperturbed persona, one hand on the keyboard, the other in his pocket.
2001: So pop star presenters didn't go out of Pops fashion around 1997 after all. Depeche Mode are reserved by their standards, but surely there can be few less required dual bass drum setups.