Thursday, 27 December 2012

27th December

1966: Alan Freeman and Simon Dee helm the secondary show in, as previously mentioned, the last year the show skipped the big day. Studio guests are Chris Farlowe, the Small Faces, Georgie Fame and the Go-Jos doing their thing to Good Vibrations.

1971: The stills somewhat give the surprises away; of those not previously featured here (yes, they repeated the Tams, no, they still didn't notice) the one for the annals is the quintessential T-Rex, Bolan in glittery teardrop makeup, pink trousers and flying V, Elton taking a moment out - Tumbleweed Connection had just been a hit - to mime rather more than the one glissando of piano that is actually on the recording (played by Rick Wakeman, for what it's worth), dancers and Mickey Finn all around. Slade stomp, something Dave could have found difficult in that floor-length coat. Self-defeatingly there's loads in Ashton Gardner & Dyke, but requiring some set sprucing they've got a hat and attached balloon. It's not the same one but a very similar design on the man Tony tracks down and spuriously deflates before The New Seekers. Never mind his headgear, he completely misjudges the moment he appears on camera and needs to start applauding.

1973: A special entitled Ten Years Of Pop Music, a very precise measurement and one suspiciously allied to the show's near enough tin anniversary. Various archive clips and returning stars, from which we can pluck a really quite disturbing intro to Pan's People doing Norman Greenbaum and Wizzard. Ah, so that's where DLT got the look from. Not Roy, far too much pink for that, the saxophonist.

1974: "Hairy monster"? The size of Noel's bow tie is remarkable, as opposed to that of the drummer in The Rubettes. There's a distinct lack of caps going on and rather too many choreographed movements for comfort, the most complex of which is self-defeatingly first. Even when the mike is in its stand Alvin Stardust insists on holding it to his mouth like that. The pianist looks like he got lost on the way to The Sweet. If ever you see a clip of George McCrae on the BBC now it's always the video clip even though they've got a perfectly good Xmas TOTP they could be using. I say 'perfectly good' but, y'know, orchestra. Still, he's in good voice especially given how much he'd just feasted upon. There's some light comedy before Stephanie de Sykes, introduced by DLT with his usual discreet charm and backed by the Tank Top Society Of Great Britain's vocalist wing. Then there's some expected extra reflectiveness from Gary Glitter, plus at least one moment where he may well be being attacked by bees, before Noel in extreme closeup introduces Carl Douglas and a full demonstration, of both kung-fu moves and the problem with leaving funk to an in-house orchestra. Finally, after DLT brings a running gag you hadn't noticed to a climax, the moment you all came here for - Mud, the roadies, the dance. And as there's just some time to fill, enter for the encore everyone else in the building, the obligatory cake in Les Gray's face coming from a member of the Glitter Band. Meanwhile DLT has a tree while the Rubettes' Tony Thorpe has liberated a cardboard tube from somewhere and is merrily pretend-telescoping away at the back. And now you've watched the clips, here's the whole thing, so you get to see DLT miming to Whole Lotta Love.

1979: After the excesses of the big day seemingly only one band could be bothered to come in afresh for show two, and even then Squeeze indulge in some instrument swapping. Jools has a way with a power chord, I rather feel. Otherwise it's all Legs & Co's turn, firstly doing some gantry work to Gloria Gaynor while Patti gets to show off her special Christmas present and then a remarkable Village People routine where they seemingly pretend this is the actual band, Gill's miming not all that convincing and, most glaringly, the actual YMCA bit of the dance left out. I know, Patti. I know. One other thing: Mike Read, of course, went on to ban Relax. I don't necessarily want to make a connection between that and the very end of the introductory link, but...

1984: The show couldn't get away with everyone introducing everyone else again so the then hot property Lenny Henry acted as linkman in his usual considered style, most of them clearly recorded some time after all the performances. Horrible edit into Spandau Ballet and Steve Norman's smoking jacket isn't much better. Midge Ure never looked good with a ponytail, not even in the sort of locale where Ultravox perform among a cascade of balloons. Keyboard player's pleased to see us. Delbert Wilkins introduces Slade, so you know there's going to be scarves and Dave Hill in a silly hat, but never before on this scale, either in distribution of the former or the Cat In The Hat knockoff. Splendid piece of improvisation from Neil - well, from Nigel Planer, but you know what I mean - as he begins a festive reworking of Hole In My Shoe by singing Tomorrow's psych classic My White Bicycle, which he'd actually covered for a Christmas single. It peaked at 97. Then there's Shakin’ Stevens and Bronski Beat, the latter amid some symbolic set designs - see around 1:50 for what I mean - before a frankly overdue Theophilus P Wildebeeste brings on Bananarama, and only Trevor McDoughnut could possibly introduced a full bib'n'tuckered Black Lace. See, you wondered when they'd turn up after their Band Aid shamelessness. A carol singer motif was possibly inevitable but The Flying Pickets' Brian Hibbard is far too active for standard C of E. Preacher, perhaps. That all means it just falls to Joe Fagin and perennial playout Ray Parker Jr to see out the year.

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