Wednesday, 26 December 2012

26th December

1966: Whether it be the lack of a show on the 25th or whatever to blame, Jimmy and Pete need only buy crackers for Manfred Mann and the Small Faces, everything else pre-taped by some crowd dancing to the surely difficult to mass dance to Strangers In The Night.

1967: Lengthy, this, but there's a reason for that. This is the oldest surviving full show, and it only took them a week short of four years to decide this stuff was worth keeping as historical artefact. It's in rushes form too, which explains why part one starts so disjointedly with Jimmy, Alan and Pete doing what can only be described as pratting about. The show itself starts with some awry talking head commentary from the Bee Gees before Julie Felix sings their praises and a song that Murray calls "a song that's going to be a standard". It says here Maurice is the overdressed one with the Scottish folk singer prediction but that doesn't seem right; that's definitely Robin complaining about John Lennon's lyrics while looking exactly like him before that. Spencer Davis (looking like Eric Idle), Julie Felix, Dave Clark and Paul Jones chat about "four wild boys" the Monkees. Horrible lighting flare on Jimmy at the start of part two as he gets the crowd going, and we hope the bloke shouting something extra at the end is the same person who overexuberantly cheers at the start of every act as it means we only have one person to hate. The Rolling Stones (repeat) and Long John Baldry follow. Part three features the percussion frenzy of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich and "top pop girl" Lulu, Pete expecting her to remember exactly when and where they first met. Part four dances on the apparent grave of flower power with Felix, Davis, Savile being his usual helpful self, Peter Noone, Cilla Black knowingly grabbing the wrong end of the stick, Val Doonican for some reason, Alan Price and Manfred Mann, followed by Scott McKenzie accompanied by footage of San Francisco 'happening' participants. That's followed by the only remaining routine by the show's original dance troupe the Gojos, Jo Cook's choreography style not particularly different to Flick Colby's but that didn't stop them being gazumped by Pan's People six months down the line. Jimmy offers a useless message and an overblown intro at the commencement of part five into Cliff Richard, then Murray goes on about "standards" again and Procul Harum battle an optical effect. Part six is just the famous All You Need Is Love footage; part seven opens with Jimmy playing blues piano and progresses to Engelbert Humperdinck. You can decide whether that's an improvement. There's just time for some weird unexplained film sequences, Johnnie Stewart's logo and some heavy duty crowd frugging.

1968: Alan Freeman and Stuart Henry are your somewhat underwhelming hosts - well, it's between eras - for Mary Hopkin, Joe Cocker, the Bee Gees, the Equals and Pan's People interpreting The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Appropriate costumes? Surely.

1969: Alan joined by Tony Blackburn this time alongside Tommy Roe, Herman's Hermits, Desmond Dekker, Lou Christie, Rolf Harris, Dave Clark Five and Pan's People via Amen Corner.

1970: A bit more luck than Christmas Day for Jimmy and Tony in terms of company, with Mungo Jerry, the Kinks, Christie, Jimmy Ruffin, Dana, Hotlegs and Pan's People dancing to Spirit In The Sky.

1976: Nothing says Boxing Day like a game of Ludo and a large pink cone. Brotherhood Of Man under a great big Union flag, Billy Ocean actually dressed as conservatively as he had all year which is saying something given his linen suit and pink tank top, a clearly not just pretending to drink alcohol responsibly Sailor featuring a mass balloon drop which appears to entirely land on the drummer, The Real Thing featuring that classic silver dungarees off one shoulder/neckerchief/glittery hat combination and Showaddywaddy playing with both perspective and colour scheme. Legs & Co get into their chiffon and headdresses for The Four Seasons and are almost entirely shot from below. It is at least more energetic than their earlier routine to Wings, which is frankly just walking.

1977: You'd think they'd have done more but this was Boxing Day TOTP's last stand, the secondary nature meaning a little bit of mopping up of bands who didn't come across to promote their big hits, so Boney M in their finery with what sounds like Bobby Farrell having to do his own vocals to mixed results, well before DLT comes mugging in. Heatwave's singers got first choice of the outfits, main vocalist Johnnie Wilder Jr being quite cavalier with his mike at times. Legs & Co must have been delighted when asked to essay Donna Summer's I Feel Love for a fourth time, and shaking their shoulders and tails in off-the-shoulder gowns still isn't getting anywhere nearer its essence. Despite this not having been a hit in 1977 Showaddywaddy showed up, just because. We should be grateful Dave Bartram didn't get any mistletoe out, really.

No comments: