Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Top of the Pops Another Year

Huge thanks goes to Manorak for uploading this Christmas Day 1980 edition of Top of the Pops to vimeo. It won't of course be broadcast on BBC4 because one of the hosts is Jimmy Savile. So obviously do not click on the link if you are going to be offended.

All I want for Xmas is....

Top of the Pops 25-12-80: Presenters: Jimmy Savile O.B.E. & Peter Powell

 (-) THE NOLANS – I’m In The Mood For Dancing
Kicking the show off with their biggest hit, which made it to number 3 at the beginning of the year. Like last year, there's no studio audience present. And best not to say too much about what happens at the very end...

The first of their two number ones. And a new look for the band for this Xmas performance.

 (-) BLONDIE – Atomic (video)
1980 was a great year for Blondie, three singles and three number ones. Nuclear explosions ~ happy Xmas!

 (-) PAUL McCARTNEY – Coming Up (video)
A good year for Paul too, with three top ten hits (if you include Wonderful Christmastime). And what a video this is too!

 (48) BARBRA STREISAND – Woman In Love
The number one hit from her Bee Gees flavoured number one album, Guilty. This can't have been the one Legs & Co had been rehearsing for the other week, because its a repeat showing from earlier in the year.

(-) LIQUID GOLD – Dance Yourself Dizzy
Had peaked at number 2 in the spring. Looking very festive here but the least said about the drummer's ribcage the better!

 (-) DAVID BOWIE – Ashes To Ashes (video)
This great song had become David's second number one of his career back in the late summer, and the video was of course ground breaking and game changing.

 (-) MARTI WEBB – Take That Look Off Your Face
This Lloyd Webber tune from Tell Me on a Sunday got to number 3 earlier in the year.

 (-) THE POLICE – Don’t Stand So Close To Me (video)
The biggest selling single of 1980. Its a video but not the one set in the school. This time they are up on the de doo doo doo ski slopes being chased by Santas!

 (-) FERN KINNEY – Together We Are Beautiful
Perhaps a bit of a surprise number one, from before the summer, performing here surrounded by flashing hat stands.

 (-) JOHNNY LOGAN – What’s Another Year?
1980's Eurovision Song Contest winner.

 (5) ABBA – Super Trouper (video)
Abba's final number one hit, still in the top ten on Christmas Day.

 (-) LIPPS INC – Funky Town
So this is the one Legs & Co had been rehearsing! And it shows, what a gift of a routine surrounded by lots of Xmas toys! Funky Town made it to number 2 during the nine weeks summer strike when Top of the Pops was off the air.

 (-) LEO SAYER – More Than I Can Say
This one reached number 2 during that summer strike. Great to see it performed in the studio at last.

 (-) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5
 What a year for Sheena, here she is performing her Big Time breakthrough hit.

 (-) PINK FLOYD – Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) (video)
Last year's bleak Xmas number one couldn't contrast more to this years, even though both feature a children's choir. But at least it didn't put Legs & Co off their chocolates.

 (1) ST. WINIFRED’S SCHOOL CHOIR – There’s No-One Quite Like Grandma (and credits) ®
In some ways maybe it was better that Starting Over wasn't at number one on Christmas Day to remind us of the sadness of John Lennon's murder.....

Next up then is the final instalment of Top of the Pops 1980 (or is it the first instalment of 1981?) with the edition from New Years Day 1981. Again, it won't be shown on BBC4 due to one of the hosts being Dave Lee Travis.


  1. First of all, and before anything else, it needs to be said that this is the first show that Peter Powell has been affected by the Yewtree bans, courtesy of Jimmy Saville appearing with him on the show.

    Secondly, it's nice to see some of the summer strike records getting shown here, when they had no showing whatsoever in June/July when they were in the top 30.

    So a big welcome at the end of the year to Lipps Inc, Leo Sayer, which were the two acts getting another chance despite being frozen out during the summer strike.

  2. So, for the second time in my life I have just wasted an hour watching that pile of unadulterated rubbish. This was 1980 guys - a year chock full of new British bands and what do we get for Christmas? Fern Kinney, Sheena Easton, Grandma-bothering St Winifreds, and a slew of repeated vids. No Christmas audience, no Christmas tree, no decorations. And if that wasn't bad enough our hosts are Saville and Smiley-Voice. It reminds me of that year I wanted the Guinness Book of Records but when I opened the book-shaped present I discovered The Illustrated Bible. I shit you not.

    A new performance of Geno was not enough to ward off my loathing of this show, and it scores a new-low of 2.

    Saville 'howzabout-that-ladies-and-gentlemen's his way to a 4 while Smiley-Voice gets just 2. His links were appalling, and I mean absolutely APPALLING. Not a one of them was a properly formed sentence, just a collection of words, some of which may or may not have been the artists name.

    Surely the next 'special' can't be as bad, can it? Still thanks to Manorak for this and his other uploads, and a Merry Christmas one and all. (But not Peter Powell)

    I'm not a robot.

  3. Dexys Midnight Runners - who was that stomping on top of the piano at the end of the Dexys song Geno? was it one of the band members, or was it one of the audience? I must admit it is not clear from here.

    Barbra Streisand - while I always love to see Legs & Co, I must admit that I would have preferred another showing of the Streisand video, especially as the Legs & Co performance was a repeat of the TOTP show in November before the song reached No.1, by which time the video was then available.

    Liquid Gold - ok so the lead singer was not undressed this time, but instead opted to wear Eddie Large's costume from last week's show, which he in turn had apparently borrowed from Sheena Easton.

    The Police - what, a second video, and not the one in the classroom? Oh yeah, as Angelo said, they decided to mime this while on the ski slopes of the De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da video, their current hit in December 1980. I preferred the classroom one.

    Abba - true to form with their last ever No.1, we find the quartet with their Super Duper (I mean Super Trouper) video to cap off a fine run of 9 No.1's over seven years between 1974-1980.

    Lipps Inc - Legs & Co all trying to look like Jay Aston of Bucks Fizz, although this was ahead of time, cos Jay and Bucks Fizz did not arrive onto the scene until a few months later with their Eurovision effort.

    What's more the toy studio set here looks uncannily like the studio set of Laurel & Hardy's blockbuster movie of 1934 called Babes In Toyland, which I recommend as a must see Christmas movie, even for those who are not fans of L&H, cos they will be after that.

    Leo Sayer - his colour co-ordination was awful this week. I mean would anyone wear such a trousers with that blazer. Good Lord, I hope the song itself somewhat redeemed the awful colour co-ordination!

    Closing the show, Jimmy Saville looked very comfortable leaning on Gill's leg when opening the box of chocolates. Indeed all of Legs & Co looked very happy and comfortable around JS and PP to close up the show with the Xmas No.1.

    1. Dory, it was Kev Rowlands atop the piano, although for what reason I have no idea!

  4. Big thanks once again to Manorak for allowing us to taste this forbidden fruit, though a shame UK Gold had to make some clunky edits to the links when they showed it. As was the case the previous year, I thought the lack of a studio audience here drained the show of a festive atmosphere, and the sight of Jim'll and PP stuffing themselves with turkey and chocolate didn't compensate. They were not the best-matched of partners, PP seeming rather cowed and lacklustre in the Savile presence - indeed, he gave the impression that he had been on the Christmas sherry on one or two of his rambling links!

    I was also surprised by the amount of no. 3 records included in the show, though I suspect this was designed to increase the number of studio performances. Looking across both this and the New Year's Day edition, quite a few of the year's chart-toppers don't make the cut, including all of those that were at no. 1 during the strike, which means that Xanadu and Use it Up and Wear it Out never got a proper airing on TOTP.

    I think virtually all the studio performances featured live vocals, and The Nolans got things off to an energetic start, even though they must have been sick of this song themselves by that time. However, the way the girls were turned into a meat market for the hosts at the end was, erm, unfortunate to say the least, looking back now. Dexy's seemed to be completely live, and were as committed as ever, though their new bovver boy look (the first of many image changes) looked a bit stupid to me. I assume that was Geno Washington on the screen behind the band - thinking ahead to the great Jocky Wilson farrago of 1982, it's a shame the Beeb didn't show images of Gene Wilder instead...

    It was grimly predictable that Liquid Gold would be back for another performance, spreading their particularly irritating brand of Christmas cheer. The shiny singer seemed to have a load of tree decorations on her head, while the drummer, if it is possible, sunk to new levels of naffness. It has to be said that the new Legs routine was pretty cheesy as well, as they pranced around a very small toy store dressed as Santa's little helpers. Festive enough I suppose, but of necessity rather static with all the toys in the way - as they were going to deprived homes I hope none got broken! This is actually the only new routine Legs did for either festive edition that year, which makes it a bit weird that they had to miss the 11th December show, considering they just had this one performance to tape. This would of course prove to be their final festive routine for TOTP.

    There's not much to say about the other studio turns, except that Fern Kinney's dress was awful and her voice cracked towards the end of the song, while little Leo demonstrated all too clearly that shiny green jackets and leather trousers are not a good combination! At least The Police provided us with a new video, clearly shot at the same time as the one for their then-current single. I hope Sting didn't get hypothermia after stripping off like that!

    PP's failure to mention what the Christmas no. 1 was gives away the fact that the show must have been recorded several days earlier, before the festive chart was published. Perhaps it's just as well, as he may have vomited up his BBC turkey otherwise...

    1. I had some problems with this edition John and the clunky edits are more down to me rather than UK Gold. The picture quality is also weak at the start of the show but gets better after The Nolans.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. It was indeed somewhat strange and moreover frustrating that TOTP did not show all of the year's No.1's across the two Christmas shows on 25th Dec and 1st Jan.

      Traditionally, every year on these Christmas specials, all the No.1's would be shown across the two shows, so why on earth they did not play Xanadu, a No.1 for two weeks in July is somewhat befalling and not very nice of the BBC, considering the video was not played during the summer strike, and here was their chance to redeem themselves. Tut, tut, tut BBC!

      Same goes for Blondie's The Tide Is High and Call Me, Abba's Winner Takes It All, The Jam's Start, Theme From Mash, Kenny Rogers Coward Of The County, The Specials Too Much Too Young. These other seven No.1's of the year did not get a look-in on the two Christmas shows.

      What was going on leaving out 8 No.1's of the year, when they had two christmas shows to cover them all quite comfortably, ahead of the No.2's and No.3's?

    4. Blondies 'Atomic' video does get another airing, but we still don't see it complete, and get to the bit where the "tonight, make it magnificent..." reprises.

  5. Manorak - no worries, I'm grateful to see the show at all!

    Dory - I can only think so many no. 1s got left out because they wanted to boost the number of studio performances across the two shows, though as they had The Jam in the studio for Going Underground on New Year's Day they could have put a performance of Start in the can as well. Blondie can feel particularly hard done by, given they had three chart-toppers during the year but only one made the cut for these shows. The Winner Takes it All does feature on the New Year's Day edition.

  6. As the 1980 Christmas chart didn't get run down on TOTP, I thought I would post up the Top 10 here, in case anyone is interested. The Lennon takeover was now well underway:

    1(2) There's No On Quite Like Grandma - St Winifred's School Choir

    2(1)(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon

    3(3) Stop the Cavalry - Jona Lewie

    4(45) Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John and Yoko

    5(4) Super Trouper - ABBA

    6(5) De Do Do Do De Da Da Da - The Police

    7(10) Antmusic - Adam & the Ants

    8(6) Embarrassment - Madness

    9(-) Imagine - John Lennon

    10(9) Runaway Boys - The Stray Cats

    1. Hang On Hang On.
      Our strike special features the The Chart & the top Ten rundown. And i think Steven should feature some of the number 1s not featured on these Xmas shows

  7. presumably the police made their snow version video of "don't stand so close to me" specially for the beeb as compensation for the fact that they had no intention of appearing in the studio? other than that, (as shakey says) there's not much here to suggest that 1980 was a watershed year inasmuch as we were saying goodbye to disco and hello to synthpop (that i hope we see a lot more of in the 1981 shows)

    music aside, my personal memories of this year include living for a two or three months in a hotel room whilst signing on, having chucked in my civil serice job. from that period i remember the following:
    1 - celebrating seb coe winning the olympic 1500 metres having fucked-up the 800m he was red hot favourite for (and beaten by his mega-rival steve ovett - oh, what would we give to have guys like that in middle distance running these days?)
    2 - lady diana appearing from nowhere onto the front pages of the tabs in her see-through skirt as big ears' latest "squeeze"
    3 - eating loads of kentucky fried chicken as a branch had just opened up in my home town
    4 - watching a comedy series called "cowboys" (starring roy kinnear, colin welland and the guy who played the one-armed irishman in "robin's nest"), that everybody has forgotten about now!

  8. I missed the Vimeo link, please could somebody let me know a new link for this edition? Thanks in advance :)