1981: Wonder upon wonders, near as makes little difference three full shows to offer today. Part one of this first show starts with Duran Duran in their posing pomp, Simon Le Bon picking up and bashing a tambourine for seemingly no other reason than it was there, followed by a video'd Cliff referred to by Simon Bates as a man who "never ceases to amaze me with quality". It's part two where business really picks up with Chas & Dave plus their special friends (and a short straw drawing member of Zoo) dancing to Stars Over 45, a medley even they distance themselves from these days, followed by Godley & Creme, who've "stormed the country". Well, they've got the audience literally dancing to their tune amid the dancing ushers and a lurking saxophonist. Lol looks increasingly like a bystander wondering what he did so wrong to get dragged into this. Then... oh good lord, it's a Brown Sauce video. Part three starts with Bates' surprisingly public deviation into S&M followed by The Snowmen, a Stiff Records conceit featuring someone doing an impression of Ian Dury were he to have spent years swallowing ashtrays whole and four men in costumes that don't allow them to stretch arms or bend knees as suggested by the lyrics. Is that Godley and Creme joining in behind? It's definitely at least one of their backing next to them. The people subsequently get to show what they think of Bates. Just videos and repeats after that, but not before the slight return of an old friend. Sue Menhenick is the only person to have been a member of the two key TOTP dance troupes, Pan's People and Legs & Co, and had been among Ruby Flipper in between. A couple of weeks after Legs were decorously covered up, for this one show she was not only credited as a member of Zoo and had Bates get her name wrong but got a solo routine to Jon & Vangelis. Unfortunately the 80s did their worst to her hair and make-up.
1987: Mike Read and Marti Pellow are wearing the same suit at the start of part one, surely. Simply Red, Mick Hucknall borrowing Phil Oakey's former hairdresser, and the Mel (Smith) & Kim (Wilde) video are also there. Part two features a classic, the Pogues and Kirsty Maccoll shrugging off Read's fated prediction, Shane on unconvincing piano and somehow looking a lot drunker at the mike then he is sitting down. This is well past the dancer/cheerleader stage of the show but if you look behind the stage on the second chorus that's not going to stop a couple of women coming up with their own routine. Belinda Carlisle "in our LA studio" overlaps with the start of part three but unfortunately Read's curious outro is kept in. Then it's a repeat of Chris' woolly hat, Chris' alien jumper, Chris' getting his computer to spell out scrolling words and PSB generally.
1992: Only the first two thirds of this one but you're not missing much, and with Mr Blobby co-hosting with Tony Dortie, who's wearing a T-shirt with a child's drawing of Santa on, it's arguable you're not missing much with what's here. That, though, would be to miss the remarkable part one opener by The Shamen in Alice In Wonderland dress-up. Drugs, probably. Certainly the set designer has been down the rabbit hole. Then it's the latest in a long line of 1992 dance version covers bands who had strings of hit singles somehow, East Side Beat, who'd spotted Alive And Kicking was being used in advertising for Sky's Premier League coverage, which doesn't explain why the dancers are wearing shirts and scarves of Italian clubs. Gloria Estefan's Miami Hit Mix isn't immune from putting a beat under the hits of yesteryear criticism just because you've heard of the singer, by the way. That leads us into part two, followed by the Lemonheads, Evan Dando in his largest towelling robe offering instructions to the soundman. You're on telly! And Dortie clearly hasn't been watching them or he wouldn't have introduced Nirvana's Breakers appearance in the way he does. The video for We Are Raving which follows it was directed by Jarvis Cocker. That's not a joke. Lisa Stansfield and beret to close.