1973: You know how much I like a good rundown, and this is a good rundown fronted by an unlikely, if not quite right sounding, character. Does Kiki Dee's head look all wrong in correlation to her body to you? The provided photo of the New Seekers was clearly smaller than the art director had expected. Cancel all leave, The Faces are in town, though with all musicians in place and all miming marks hit it's comparatively restrained. Ian McLagan couldn't have put his polystyrene branded cup down backstage somewhere? Their competition for rock hardness comes from abroad, Golden Earring featuring some extravagant post-Moon drumming and a partly open jumpsuit for the guitarist, because this is hard rock and that's what you did back then. Funny, isn't it, Roy Wood has no facepaint or extraordinary props or costumes and yet still looks alien. That's what extravagantly combed hair will do for an appearance. Ever wondered what Clifford T Ward looked like? Here he is, part 70s Neil Young, part 60s Van Morrison and sporting what look like extraordinary sideburns. Speaking of singers with luxurious hair it feels like it's been around forever but Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody was new then and encouraging their die-hards to wave dolls and magazines about.
1979: Quick trivia quiz: when did the Sex Pistols individually make it to the TOTP studio? Sid obviously never did, Glen Matlock came in January 1978 with the Rich Kids, John that October with PiL, and more than a year later Steve and Paul teamed up with three of Thin Lizzy as The Greedies. Cold drinks may have been taken. Two drumkits. Swish. Richard Jobson of The Skids' usual front crawl dancing style isn't improved much by his cargo pants. Odd crowd for The Regents, and not just for the preponderance of paper crowns, stunned into immobility by the backing singers who seem to remember they're supposed to be choreographed halfway through. Mike Oldfield's version of the Blue Peter theme demanded a Legs & Co sailor's hornpipe; what it gets a mutated version involving lots of bouncing about. Still, no paying for museums or stately homes for any of them for a while. Perfectly still tableau at the end there, you!
1984: Quite a few last shows before Christmas archived in full for whatever reason. Part one sees Simon emphasise Wizzard are back "from three years ago", not mentioning it first existed and appeared eight years previously to that. Pared down to Roy Wood and a half-hearted xylophonist by now, their children's choir are more geared up and keen than ever. No, Janice, that's not how the Frog Chorus go. Part two and one of Bronski Beat has wrapped up warm and brought unconvincing woodwind as well, followed by a right curio, The Council Collective, the Style Council bringing in Dee C Lee, Junior and Jimmy Ruffin among others to raise money for striking miners and for the family of murdered miner's driver David Wilkie. Unhelpfully, the audience are applauding loudly on the off-beat throughout. Also, it features Paul Weller rapping. Part three stars the Thompson Twins' streamlined double bass, part four Band Aid and some arm in arm dancing to Ray Parker Jr.
2002: You've never seen an audience go as wild as they do for The Cheeky Girls, and the fear is it's not ironic. From cheeky to, erm, naughty, and after first flirting with her guitarist, presumably as she wasn't told which side of the stage to go to, Holly Valance turns it on with... well, who? You think they're going to start dancing at some stage, but they don't - they make small talk on a sofa in the shadows of Valance's spotlight, then she goes and sits between them for a bit, then they stand up and walk round the back of the sofa. Were they competition winners?