1975: And here come the Christmas shows! The earliest of the lot in calendar terms required the biggest logo you've ever seen and no apparent audience for the links, as well as an apparent in-studio theme of laughing. No, we really shouldn't know what was on that pad, but maybe it's the same thing Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel's guitarist sees during his solo. It seems to be a feature of the night, Billy Connolly barely getting a line in before corpsing. The scarves are out in force for Mud, who for their part indulge in the sort of base visual comedy that can only come from a drummer freed from his kit. Reputedly the band hadn't seen how their guest singer - Ellie Hope, later of Liquid Gold - would come dressed, which is why at least one member is having to stifle their own giggles. No such losses of composure for Pan's People, who get two outings, firstly Typically Tropical - and call me cynical, but I don't really think either that they're really cold at the start or Cherry is doing a very good job of miming cold - and then much less opportunity for grinning with some very serious air traffic control work to David Bowie.
1976: See Noel nodding along to Thin Lizzy in the background, studiously avoiding acknowledgement of Phil Lynott's pink neckerchief, and then claiming to have had a "shocking argument" with them. That sort of thing usually ends in fisticuffs where prime Lizzy are involved, he should have been more careful. As should Barry Biggs, in his case not choosing to make your TOTP debut in an oversize pink ruffled suit. It gives the wrong impression, see. It's too late for that where John Christie is concerned, but Noel's spectacularly wrong prediction before he starts doesn't help. "I'm prepared to lumber this guy" indeed. There's already something of the Gilbert O'Sullivan-meets-Richard Stilgoe about his presence before the chorus of Auld Lang Syne strikes up and the entire audience react accordingly. After that we need a careful bringing back down to earth, not Legs & Co enacting Charlie Chaplin poses in the name of Stevie Wonder.
1982: White jackets, a handy visual signifier of the club band chancer, The Maisonettes maybe aware they're not the visual selling point. Incantation appear to be playing on the gantry scaffolding rather than an actual stage, coming over here with their fancy pan pipe ways. The audience appear to be mixed above their playback. It's possible the stages were just out of commission for a bit, Shakin’ Stevens taking to the heavens before realising the inclement conditions up there aren't going to improve. Finally we see what was taking the time, setting up the network of bulbs behind Imagination. Leee John's outfit looks like it's made out of tinsel, so he's thinking of the season. Most programmes would have a big finish; this one has Keith Harris and Orville. Despite all the Santa hats they repeated this in January.
1993: You'd think Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell would exchange her omnipresent feather boa for some tinsel for their festive hit, but if it were it wouldn't look half as amusing when it gets wrapped round a stumbling Tim Burgess' shoulders. Note, please, the TOTP2 caption and its outright confidence in stating it's not true they was born on Christmas Day. Except, Bob Stanley was.