1977: Hosted by Elton John, for some reason, and not all that confidently, though I defy anyone to remain collected in the face of John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett. No impromptu climbing this time but there's a moment when Barrett has to push Otway back towards the mike so he can start the last verse. Watching in the background, perhaps even more confused than those down the front, are The Emotions, whose own attempt to rally the troops falls on deaf ears when only two people respond to their request for clapping along. Carl Douglas in his tight trousers and well filled out jerkin doesn't need to go that far, and Darts' Den Hegarty is capable of providing more than enough entertainment by himself, this time threatening to bring down part of the stage decoration.
1983: Status Quo, not the famous Marguerita Time, though one assumes Rick Parfitt's pre-show livener wasn't much weaker. Certainly a lot of knowing looks being exchanged and an off-mike conversation towards the end twixt Rossi and Parfitt. But if they think they can get a crowd on their side by the power of good rockin' Slade are back to really show them. Noddy looks like Ian Hunter, Dave like Bill Oddie. Shame Noddy wasn't wearing the famous hat any more, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders had brought her own version especially. The Flying Pickets had their own, more elaborate costumes, and a neat way to finish too. They look far more disturbing like that, though.
1988: Because the world lets you down every time, someone decided to remix Petula Clark's Downtown and drag her out to front it. Still she smiles her way through it and the audience are keen to join in. A little wayward vocally at times, but when you're sharing a show with New Order it pales into insignificance. Stephen's really struggling with his drum pad, the rest of us struggle with his fashion sense. No idea what Barney's doing around the two minute mark but I'm pretty sure he's channelling Bez at the end. For Inner City it's keytar central, and an extra keyboard at the back. Real keytar heroics imagined too, back to back at one point.
1994: Damon Albarn introducing Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Would that we had ever seen the day. For the time being Oasis would stick to taunting him with oversized sunflowers.
2000: Much as the Wombles did two and a half decades earlier, The Tweenies made their fair share of TOTP appearances - they even filmed a special for CBBC - albeit without the cultural references for the parents and rock session legends inside the costumes. At a slight stylistic remove, Eminem and Dido.