1980: All cheer for Gary Numan! Simon Bates and his special helpers - and we can't decide which of the two holding oversized Allsorts to his right is playing up to camera more - introduce The Beat, Dave Wakeling having signed up to what must have been a particularly forgiving wing of the Russian army. Note Horace Panter of the Specials on bass, which must mean... ah, not quite yet. We must, after all, find room in our show, studio and hearts for The Barron Knights, just three years too late with that title reference and a couple of decades too late with that idea, but listen to the kids go wild. Speaking of populist comedy, Little & Large, the latter already dressed for the oven, pop in from next door and run through the gags before The Specials with the Beat's David Steele completing the job swap. Always a step ahead of the expectation curve, they're wearing their Christmas gift jumpers early. Simon gets a plug in for the TOTP album "with wonderful gramophone records inside" before Gary Numan, who'd only told us the previous week he was learning to fly yet had gained his licence already - celebrity fast tracking, don't you just hate it - looks shifty in uncommon white. How like Sacha Baron Cohen the red bereted member of his band looks. Who looks more disturbing behind Chas & Dave, the people in rabbit heads or the still in costume singer from the Barron Knights? "There are Nolans everywhere!" marvels Simon, which is odd if he's implying there's uncommonly loads of them given there's been seven-piece and six-piece bands on earlier. The blouses and jeans are presumably supposed to be some form of uniform but it looks more like a window display.
2005: As they did with really big bands around then, Green Day played loads of songs outside Television Centre, most ostentatiously closing the extended special on all nine minutes of Jesus Of Suburbia, almost certainly the longest proper TOTP performance. All out for the ending once we've got there - smoke bombs, confetti cannons, the works. But who's the bloke in the hat far stage right? What's his story?