1964: The inaugural (and, obviously, wiped) Christmas Pops, corralling Savile, Freeman, Murray and Jacobs into a three-line whip featuring studio performances by the Kinks, the Searchers, Manfred Mann, the Honeycombs, the Four Pennies, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, Herman's Hermits, the Animals and Sandie Shaw, plus a handful of repeats and the GoJos, the first TOTP troupe who'd debuted just over a month earlier, doing their thing to the Dave Clark Five. This isn't from Top Of The Pops, it's from Christmas Night With The Stars, but it is their offering as the Barron Knights fill in for everyone else.
1981: Seems a bit silly to do a regular show on Christmas Eve, live at that, but that's what this was, albeit one that started with Wizzard, Roy Wood dressed more for first footing, though given those around include a Mexican and a panda he seems quite conservative for once. Budget cuts meant he had to lose the French horn player and multitask. By the way, BBC, there's really, really no need for explosions of sparks to this of all songs. Someone turns the lights out too early on Jensen but nobody seems to notice, keen as they are to applaud the spoken intro of Bucks Fizz. Cheryl seems to have been required to be buckled into her outfit. Clare Grogan of Altered Images' hair bow must have seriously annoyed her before long flopping over her eyes like that, but again we must ask why TOTP always put dancers with the band when Grogan did the work of many of them. Here they're particularly egregious, trying to pass themselves off as underused band members by standing in front of the drumkit. Get your own space! The bloke next to Jensen seems to really go for Dollar, of whom it can be assumed Therese spent rather more time picking out her clothes for the occasion than David. Christmas number one belonged to The Human League and the girls celebrated with slinky new dresses. Phil celebrated by buying some hair lacquer.