Friday, 19 February 2016

My Mum is One in a Top of the Pops

So remind me, where did March go?

Yes, I'm not fooling about, its April 1981 already in BBC4 land and Simon Bates is the host of tonight's multifarious edition of Top of the Pops....

Have those pesky kids gone yet?

02/04/81 (hosted by Simon Bates)

(47) Stiff Little Fingers – “Just Fade Away”
This week's show gets off to a punky start, but punk had had its day by now and the aptly titled Just Fade Away got no higher than 47.

(17) Dave Stewart & Colin Blunstone – “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?” (rpt from 19/03/81)
Getting close to its peak of number 13. And edited out of tonight's 7.30 pm slot.

(45) Light Of The World – “Time”
A double A side with 'I'm So Happy' became their biggest hit when it peaked at number 35. Also edited out of the 7.30pm broadcast.

(44) Liquid Gold – “Don’t Panic”
Liquid Gold lost out to Bucks Fizz in the recent Song for Europe contest, and to rub things in a little further their contender failed to make the top 40.

(4) Stevie Wonder – “Lately” (video)
Went up one place more.

(23) The Jacksons – “Can You Feel It?”
Legs & Co are jolly pirates for this week's routine, and shiver me timbers, this Jacksons tune that had been very slowly walking the plank was now propelled towards the top ten.

(27) Children Of Tansley School – “My Mum Is One In A Million”
Our host Simon explained that last week had been Mothers Day, and this record (by the same writer as There's No One Quite Like Grandma) is what all the nice children had been buying for their mums, hence it suddenly appearing at 27 in the charts, but perhaps unsurprisingly it got no higher. Still, I expect it raised a few quid for the school.

(31) Sugar Minott – “Good Thing Going (We’ve Got A Good Thing Going)”
This cover of a very early Michael Jackson song would become Sugar Minott's only top ten hit when it made number 4.

(new) Lena Zavaroni – “Roses & Rainbows”
The BBC were still doing their best to promote Lena, but there was no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, it failed to chart. And edited out of the 7.30 show tonight.

(53) Spandau Ballet – “Musclebound”
Musclebound, produced by the main singer from Landscape, became the first of two top ten hits in 1981 for Spandau Ballet when it made number 10. It has a great video too if I remember rightly.

(5) Bucks Fizz – “Making Your Mind Up” (rpt from 19/03/81)
Now just two days away from winning the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest.

(1) Shakin’ Stevens – “This Ole House”
The second of three weeks at number one for Shaky and a new performance here again with mass audience participation and a Paulineless Legs & Co who this week each have some very lucky boy to dance with.

(21) The Nolans – “Attention To Me”  (credits)
Became the sisters' final top ten hit when it peaked at number 9.

Next up then (on Thursday) is the edition from April 9th 1981.


  1. Stiff Little Fingers inventing indiepop there, trying to prove they hadn't sold out by making their jangly love song an anti-love song. Not bad, but the vocal's a bit off.

    There's a bloke with very distracting punk spiky hair in the audience, right up front during the Blunstone/Stewart tune. Wonder where he is now?

    All fifty of Light of the World sounding very much like Turn the Music Up by The Players Association. They're OK, but it's no Beggar & Company.

    I thought Liquid Gold's drummer was playing the skins with two ferrets for a moment there, but no, they're feather dusters a la Ken Dodd. My aching sides. Anyway, someone didn't get the memo that disco had moved on by 1981, compared to its contemporaries it sounded well past its sell-by date. And a rare moment of solidarity here with Simes, I predict - we don't want to get to know the drummer either.

    Stevie Wonder, the video set in the Brooke Bond Orange Label ad studio. Strange how a tender tune can be delivered so stridently and still sound gentle.

    What's the difference between a New Romantic and a pirate? Legs & Co weren't sure either. Good, energetic routine, it was always nice to see them dancing disco, and this is a great, ridiculously self-important track that gets away with it because it's such a strong song.

    Then, as if you'd been dancing to the Jacksons then suddenly realised when it finished you'd stepped in dogshit, the curse of the school choir blights us once again. Is Tansley School still about? They'll be getting royalties for this for the first time in 35 years, I expect.

    Anything would sound good after that shameless cash-in, so Sugar Minott delivers a summer ditty that sounds out of place in freezing February of 2016. Uncomplicated, upbeat reggae.

    It was never going to work out for poor old Lena Zavaroni, was it? Not terrible for a light country tune, but nothing special either, and sounding just as out of date as Liquid Gold. One for the TV show that I'm not sure she had anymore.

    Spandau Ballet didn't strike me as Muscle Marys, and yet there they were with this exertion-inflected plodder. They seem to have gone to the same tailor as Legs & Co. It's no Olivia Newton-John.

    I remember Mark Radcliffe saying for sexual equality the girls in Bucks Fizz should have ripped off the boys' trousers as well. It's probably been done on the ESC by now anyway.

    Shaky incidentally illustrating once again how tiny Legs & Co were. Never mind that, though, that quick clip of the Capstick Comes Home video in the Top Ten, the whole thing isn't on YouTube and I'm weirdly curious to see what happened in it.

    1. I thought the video set for Stevie Wonder was more like Terry's Chocolate Orange THX.

      I did think Legs & Co were influenced by the costumes of Adam & The Ants, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet to come up with their wardrobe this week. The fade in straight from the Stevie Wonder video to Legs & Co was brilliant this week.

      Hmmm, yes indeed, anyone know where to get hold of the Capstick Come Home video that this week's top ten video clip came from, or will we never know? We may never uncover this mystery unless Mr Capstick or someone from the BBC can come forward with it.

    2. Alas, Tony Capstick died in 2003, so will be unable to help with enquiries...

  2. Incidentally, when the continuity announcer on BBC Four was introducing the Good Old Days repeat after TOTP, she said Frankie Howerd and Cherry Gillespie would be on it - but they weren't! It was Val Doonican! Somebody messed up, but now I want to see the episode with Cherry to find out what she was doing.

  3. Hey BBC4, I'm not ready for April yet, cos we're still in the mid-winter chill of February.

    The only thing I can add is that it was good to see Simon Bates participating in the audience dancing on the end credits. I did notice that in recent weeks, the late-night showings on BBC4 had more studio dancing at the end of the show than the 7.30pm showings which cut out straight after the titles were done.

    Examples of this were in the recent shows end-credits with Mike Read (Coast To Coast) and Richard Skinner (Bucks Fizz) participating in the party atmosphere with the audience at the end of their TOTP shows.

    Anyway, did anyone notice at the final fade out on this week's late night showing that there were a couple of Simon Bates's studio audience members who looked particularly like John Craven of Newsround and Kevin Rowland of Dexy Midnight Runners?

  4. I’ll watch the show some time over the weekend but, in the meantime….

    This must be the only time two Song For Europe hopefuls were on the same edition. I’m glad Bucks Fizz weren’t in the studio – I can envisage Liquid Gold’s Ellie Hope scowling across at them, followed by a backstage catfight between her, Cheryl and Jay…. Nurse, the cold shower!

    I remember from the comments after Tommy Vance’s video show that I reckoned The Krankies could have been a long shot for a studio appearance if there had been any, and someone said “nah, the days of light entertainment slots had gone”. M’lud, here’s Exhibit A! How on earth Lena was allowed a second slot in quick succession to that other flop beats me.

    So, which non-mugshot achieving single from 31 to 75 in this week’s chart deserved Lena’s exposure more? Choose from New Order “Ceremony”, Dire Straits “Skateaway”, Dave Edmunds “Almost Saturday Night”, The Cure “Primary”, Altered Images “Dead Pop Stars” (that would have been ace!), Slade “Wheels Ain’t Coming Down” (which crash landed at number 60) and, at number 75, the debut single from a certain electronic four-piece from Basildon…..

    1. "primary" was the second-best thing the cure did after "a forest"

    2. That was me saying that the variety days were over! Proof that I don't look ahead to see what's coming up at least.

  5. In the words of Vanessa Williams, it was the case of saving the best until last on this show. I was shouting at the screen when the chart rundown got to no.21, mentioned the Nolans up from 29, and then proceeded to feature Spandau Ballet who weren’t even in the top30. One of several examples on tonight’s show. The playout at the end did make belated amends and even showed a few snatches of the excellent video amongst the studio dancers.

    Stiff little fingers – Just fade away – Usual quirky, jerky performance but getting a bit past their five minutes of fame now. I don’t recall anyone who particularly liked the band at the time but they must have featured on TOTP a fair few times.

    Dave Stewart / Colin Blunstone – What becomes of the broken hearted – Well worth seeing again. Great cover.

    Light of the World – Time – Billed as a double A side with the excellent ballad ‘I’m so happy’ as the first side, yet the TOTP performance here featured the non-descript ‘Time’. Bad decision.

    Liquid Gold – Don’t panic – On the wane. The whacky band were just not producing the same quality tunes anymore.

    Stevie Wonder – Lately – Is it just me, or is the second verse missed out? Seems very short. Great song mind you, but as with all great songs, edits are never a good thing (hi there ‘Vienna’!).

    Jacksons – Can you feel it – Tailor made record for the Legs girls. Seems more like a Michael Jackson track though as it has all his hallmarks.

    Children of Tansley School – My Mum – Following hot on the heels of the St Winnifred’s School choir we get another spoonful of sugar which saw me reaching for the FF button. Speaking of sugar...

    Sugar Minott – Good thing going – I remembered the camera kept switching to the drummer every time the ‘bonk’ bit came along, with him grinning at the camera. A surprisingly soothing record this.

    Lena Zavaroni – Roses and Rainbows – Amazing to think that she’s been gone for around 16 years. I do recall this record getting a lot of airplay on R2 I think and it’s actually not a bad Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sagar song. However, why was it featured at all? I guess the style was all wrong for the time and it therefore made no chart impression unlike ‘Ma he’s making eyes at me’ which hit the top10 7 years earlier. Better than some on this show imho.

    Spandau Ballet – Musclebound – A double A side again with ‘Glow’ which a lot of people preferred and I think received equal air play. Good to see those Kemps having a go on the vocals and giving Tony a breather.

    Bucks Fizz – Making your mind up – Had to be on really with the Eurovision imminent, but TOTP viewers and record buyers were not the ones to impress. Fortunately for Britain, the judges liked it too, or at least they liked the routine. Spotted a video for this on the chart rundown which I don’t recall seeing before.

    Shakin’ Stevens – This ole House – New studio recording to celebrate another week at the top.

    Nolans – Attention to me (dance out) – The non-appearance of this on the main show was just perplexing. Maybe next week?

    1. This was Stiff Little Fingers' fourth and penultimate TOTP. They were on once more in 1982 with a single which nearly made the mugshots.

      As for The Nolans, not next week, but patience is a virtue.....

    2. As Bates mentioned when introducing her, Lena had a new show starting on BBC1 the following week, so this was performance was clearly designed to promote it. According to the BBC Genome site, episode 1 featured special guests Lulu and Rod Hull & Emu!

      I have noticed a tendency on recent shows to favour material outside the Top 30 to singles that were actually in it - perhaps this happened in part so that there could be more studio performances per show.

    3. Regarding the Bucks Fizz 'video' on the top ten rundown, this is a similar mystery like the Captick Come Home clip on the same top ten rundown, in that I don't think either of these were videos for their respective songs, but just some miscellaneous footage given to TOTP, unless someone knows otherwise? It does seem a bit odd as to what this footage is from?

    4. 50 Something here ...

      Can't be 100% certain but in those days the BBC (and, presumably, their European counterparts, would do pre-broadcast shows featuring all the acts competing in the ESC. Programme was generally low budget (no Godley and Creme videos here) so you'd typically get a film of the Belgian act out and about in Brussels with their song playing over the top. I would guess the BBC had to provide a film of Bucks Fizz to share with the other broadcasters and this was an excerpt from it.

  6. After the torrent of shows that have come our way this past month, it is something of a relief to only have one to deal with this week! This was certainly a diverse instalment, with Master Bates trying hard, but still failing, to come across as a normal human being. As ever he didn't bother to mention any song titles during the rundown, and who was he looking for in the crowd at the end? It almost seemed as if he was about to pick a fight...

    Stiff Little Fingers get things off to a decent start with a rather more tuneful offering than was normal for them. As if to signify the death of punk, the lead singer appears in a dinner jacket, but sadly the other members of the band don't bother making the same effort. Light of the World provide some standard issue Britfunk - not bad, but instantly forgettable, though they do at least appear to be enjoying themselves. Liquid Gold, as ever, are intent on showing how much fun they are having while being as irritating as possible, though having lost out to Bucks Fizz on Song For Europe I wonder how they were feeling inside? Presumably they did start to panic after this bombed - for once, I am fully with Bates when he expresses his doubts about getting to know the drummer!

    At least Legs get something good to perform to this week. Can You Feel It is perhaps the best thing Michael ever did with his brothers, and underlines the fact that he was now in the heyday of his career. The video, which we should get to see in a couple of weeks, also demonstrates that his ambitions in this field were already very pronounced, even before Thriller. In the meantime, we get a good, solid routine here, though I'm not sure what the chessboard floor was supposed to signify. It is jarring in the extreme going from this to the Tansley kids. I guessed before Angelo confirmed it that this came from the same source as the St Winifred's atrocity, though mercifully it was nowhere near as successful. The kids weren't quite as nauseating this time around, but the lyrics certainly were...

    Sugar Minott restores some class to proceedings with his easy-going, enjoyable cover, though I couldn't help but be drawn to that gap in his front teeth - couldn't he afford the necessary dental work? I feel a bit uncomfortable watching Lena Zavaroni, knowing her ultimate fate, and even here she looks painfully thin. The song isn't bad though, certainly better than her previous TOTP offering, and presumably intended to appeal to country fans. In 1975 this could well have been a hit, but 6 years later it probably just seemed too old-fashioned. Spandau, by contrast, were almost painfully in tune with the zeitgeist and their outfits here are more ludicrous than ever before. Good song though, with some nice drumming - these days you could imagine it as an anthem for athletes abusing steroids!

    Presumably the men dancing with Legs behind Shaky were professionals, but either way they were lucky fellows! This performance shows that the party atmosphere, while still not fully formed, was fast becoming a permanent fixture of the show, with a massed audience that seems bigger than it probably was in reality. The chart caption people still needed to raise their game, though - anyone else notice the "D" the wrong way round in Adam and the Ants, and also "Hazel O'Conner"?

    1. also graham bonnet mis-spelt "graham bonett"!

    2. I didn't notice the gap in Sugar Minott's teeth, but I'm glad they were often just happy to appear as they were then rather than getting modification just for the cameras.

  7. host: note how "prepared" slimy is with his chart rundown, using the word "tumble" more than one. the reason he doesn't give out the track names in these sections is that he doesn't know what they are. or care

    stiff little fingers: more power pop than punk, but still a bit outdated by this time. the drummer "plays" a bodhran, which for many years in my ignorance of gaelic i thought was pronounced as written i.e. "bod-ran"!

    lotw: as thx has pointed out, this is a complete rip-off of "let the music play" - i'm surprised the players association didn't sue!

    liquid gold: although much in the same vein as their earlier hits, this is actually a bit better. but the damage was done by now so i didn't give it my full attention. i noticed some modulation going on though

    jacksons: i always thought this a superior disco effort, but in retrospect was surprised it didn't come out until 1981. as mentioned above, it might as well have been credited as a wacko solo effort. although according to wiki randy had a go at singing solo too (and tito actually played some guitar)

    tansley school: obviously the original recording would have been utterly nauseating, but the totp orchestra do their best to probably make it sound even worse. even the boy featured at the end is embarrassed!

    sugar minott: like practically every reggae track ever shown on totp, this is pleasant but no more

    lena zavaroni: another chance for the dire totp orchestra to do their thing on this poor man's version of "those were the days". hideously out-of-place in such a programme like this even then. more modulation going on

    spandau: i liked their first two singles (or to be more accurate, i made myself like them because i thought the band were so cool and trendy), but this dirge was a massive disappointment. as for the lyrics, were they conceived as homo-erotic, or did gary kemp really just write a song about the merits of keeping oneself in shape? "glow" (that got the occasional radio play) was much better at the time, but that sounds equally lame now

  8. You know what? Thank heavens for Sky At Night, and a chance to draw breath. Also, by having just one ep this week, it alters the running schedule and means we wont now have one week featuring 4 (YES FOUR!!) eps to review - two broadcastable shows on either side of a Yewtree'd Travis/Saville double.

    Anyway - back to the show.

    SLF. As soon as I saw this I thought 'Mmm - more power pop than punk". Then I read Wilby's comments above. Nothing further to add M'lud, apart from the fact that I actually quite like this.

    Light Of The World. My Lord, this is woeful. Not even a passing resemblance to a hook here. Seriously, how did this get written,never mind recorded, never mind released, never mind bought? Get the old coat/hat outfits back out lads - at least as Beggar & Co you could recognise a tune.

    Liquid Gold. Still discopopping, still trying to convince us that they are crazy and having a great time. Unfortunately for them, we are losing the inclination to even care.

    Stevie Wonder. It's a great song, but could have done with a better video.

    A Jackson floor filler, which doesn't sound so good today. The Leggers wearing short skirts and knee length boots make up for it.

    The school choir thing. Clearly a rushed-out effort to cash in on the next available money-making day. But after celebrating Grandma at Christmas, this turgid ode to Mothers ( just in time for Mothering Sunday) was a bit of a flop. Is that because Mothers are less-liked than Grandmas, or that we tend to spend more money at Christmas than Mother's Day? Or that this song is far worse than the Grandma one? You decide.

    Spandau Ballet. One of favourite songs of the year, and still played today. Love the deep throbbingness of it, as well as Hadley's vocals, and the guitar work too. Not sure what the hell they are singing about, of course, but still a great single. This week's 'look' appears to be 'something to wrap around the neck'. From Dr Who-style scarves to Snood-type things to John Keble's Seventies-porn-star-silk-scarf-tied-in-a-knot-at-the-neck. (Come on - you know what I'm talking about)

    Love the exhuberant lad in red jumper standing next to Simes as we say goodnight.

    Not a bad show musically. Some GOOD - SLF,Stevie, Spands. Some BAD - Shaky, Liquid Gold, Blunstone/Stewart. Some downright UGLY - the school, LoTW, and Lena. Lets just call it a 6 shall we?

    Simes gets a 5. He didn't do too much wrong, he just looks like he should be in front of a blackboard not in front of a camera

    1. Simon Bates continued to present the TOTP show well through the 80s, even up to 1987 which I remember, so he is here for the long run on these BBC4 repeats, if indeed they continue for another 6 years in this 35-year lookback format.

    2. The way we're being rushed through the episodes, could be a 34-year lookback soon!

    3. Shaky - I'm afraid we're still going to end up with 4 episodes in a week soon, as there is just one show next week as well...

    4. It looks like we are now going to have to make our way through FIVE shows next week, as according to Radio Times BBC4 will be showing the 16 April and 14 May editions. Two of the intervening shows are Yewtreed, but it seems that the PP 7 May show, which was originally broadcast live, does not exist in a complete form at the BBC, so they can't repeat it. If so this is irritating news, not least as Yewtree means there will be another three shows to navigate the following week! If the 7 May edition isn't shown, I do hope one of our regular uploaders taped it at the time...

    5. Angelo, stock up on Red Bull to stay awake and Jaffa cakes for energy. You're sure as Hell gonna need them!

    6. 5 shows in one week?
      I think I need a lie down just thinking about it!

    7. I think those blogs next week will be even shorter from me than usual!

    8. Is it too soon to start thinking up a new blog title for 1982?

    9. Pace yourself Angelo, pace yourself...

    10. I'll be interested to see how they schedule the May 14 edition. It was a truncated version (only six acts) due to the FA Cup Final replay the same evening.

    11. The 14 May edition is scheduled from 7.30 - 7.50, followed by 10 minutes of Sounds of the 60s. Perhaps BBC4 should have treated us to the Ricky Villa goal instead during that 10 minute gap!

    12. top of the pops 1981 - 6 songs in 20 mins. song for Europe 2016 - 8 songs in 90 mins.(6 hopefuls, 1 star guest and the winner again). that's why I prefer old tv programmes.

    13. And the six hopeful are all awful. Put them in a megamix and you wouldn't see the join. Whatever wins will quite possibly be the worst song we have ever entered (and yes, I do remember Jemini)

    14. As a would-be songwriter myself, I do have some sympathy with anyone who tries to write one for Eurovision ~ and I confess here that I myself submitted on to the BBC for this year's contest! They obviously didn't choose it (I'm not bitter!)so I don't know what they says about my song, but its just not so easy to come up with a real cracker, but it is a good opportunity for anyone who wants to have a go. I'll probably have a go next year too if they open it up to the public again :-)

    15. i was once contracted to do a commercial pop arrangement for a rather simple song that someone had entered for the eurovision contest. but i never heard of it again afterwards, so presumably it never got anywhere? i was also once acquainted with a guy who wrote the winning UK entry a few years back, and no doubt he was hoping it would be his passport to the big time. unfortunately the song in question was the jemini "out-of-tune" fiasco that scored "nul points"!

    16. I entered a song in the Eurovision Song Contest a few years ago, but I contacted, and was allowed to enter for, a different country as we had one of those 'closed shop' years for UK entries. I submitted the various versions of the song on CD as requested and paid the €150 entrance fee - only for the song to be disqualified, as I'd entered it having laid down a guide vocal and it turned out I needed someone with a passport for the country in question singing on the CD!

    17. I always thought Jemini were a bit unlucky really ~ they couldn't hear the backing track properly or something? The writer must have been gutted though!

      Its weird you could write a song for another country but need someone from that country to sing it! The rules of entry seem all over the place at the moment.

  9. Stiff Little Fingers I thought brought some decent energy at the start, definitely not the worst I've heard from them on this show.

    Light of the World chugs along, not their best no doubt but hard to say it's painful I suppose.

    Liquid Gold, not bad at all. Taking classic disco sounds and making a professionally done track.

    Children's choir assuring us as usual that everything is fine in society, everyone's happy and getting along and that absolutely no abuse of young people is taking place anywhere.

    Legs and Co in some distracting fancy dress, it's like a half-pirate look or something. Song is decent, very heavily focussed on the chorus.

    Lena gets a song that's something of a vocal showcase, I think it's hard to compare to her song the previous year as that was more a light dance song. She's got a more mature look here, and just looks a fair bit older.

    Musclebound is ironically in rather loose shape and in severe need of a harder workout to make it sound and look better.

    The Hucklebuck STILL in the top 10.

    Shaky back in the studio, here we see what ostensibly, in part, looks like like 'professional' audience dancers getting highlighted? If so a sign of what's to come perhaps.

    Nolans catchy number leads us out, audience too self-conscious facing camera.

  10. This was the second show in a row to receive the 'DELETE' treatment, and was even worse than the previous one!

    Stiff Little Fingers never gave us anything decent IMO, Light Of The World was just average, and as for Liquid Gold - proof that you might be able to do the same song in a different order once and get people to buy it, but not necessarily twice.

    At least the Legs routine is to a good song, and it's the best we've seen from them for ages. I always like the freeze frame jumping in the air effect.

    The Children Of Tansley School was strangely compelling - it was so bad that I couldn't actually fast forward it. Embarrsasing all round.

    The Sugar Minott song is OK, although it always reminds me of Sid Owen's low quality cover version. As for Lena Zavaroni, good vocal and not a bad song but what on earth is it doing here?

    I think it was Annie Nightingale who declared 'Musclebound' one of the worst vocal performances on a hit song. I have to agree, it's truly clodhopping drivel. Amazing to think that if it hadn't been a hit it may have been the last we saw of them given their previous flop. Even more amazing to know that it WAS a hit given how awful it is!

    The Nolans track sounded OK, I'd have preferred to have heard more of that. Strange that the likes of Kim Wilde were not given an airing instead of most of the rest of the acts on this show.

    All in all, my parents picked a very good time for us to go to Australia as I wasn't missing much in the world of pop!

  11. Okay, it’s Monday and not the weekend as I promised, but I got there in the end!

    A right old bag of Revels, this one, starting with an enjoyable SLF number which even got Simes nodding his head at the start. A bit too close to “At The Edge” for comfort, and the bodhran playing just looked daft, but it still got my vote.

    Obviously, the bloke in Beggar… er, Light Of The World didn’t borrow Jake Burns’ tuxedo. This complete rip-off of Players Association should have been called “Somebody Help Me Out With Writing An Original Song”.

    Right, Ellie, best wear that Spanish dress we got you for Eurovision – this is the last chance you’ll get to wear it in public! Great catch by Liquid Gold’s keyboardist when the cymbal fell towards him. Must have been a crash cymbal. Boom boom tish!

    A classic song by Stevie Wonder. My guess is that the video was shot inside a giant pumpkin.
    I didn’t think Legs & Co looked like pirates. More like Puss In Boots! Wahay! Plenty of Patti action too, along with Rosie’s ‘all the way up’ pins. Not for the first time in a dance routine during this re-run, apparently there was a song going on in the background.

    As for the next act… bucket, now! Too late!

    Sugar Minott (“Of course”, ay, Simes?), the hardest looking Homepride Man ever. Good thing this song didn’t contain any whistling due to his choppers or lack of. When the lyrics went “raise my temperature by Three Degrees”, I immediately got “When Will I See You Again?” rolling round my head.

    Lena Zavaroni had released another flop (“Will he Kiss Me Tonight”) between the last flop we saw and this flop, her first on another lucky label. Was that a cold sore to the left of her mouth? Couldn’t she have come back when it had subsided – if at all?

    Here comes “Three Notes” Hadley, hitting some incredibly bum long notes on Spandau Ballet’s attempt at a dirge-like Russian folk song. Couldn’t one of them have broken ranks and worn a tuxedo? By the way (spoiler alert), Simes was right to hedge his bets with his chart prediction. This went top 30 the next week and top 20 the week after.

    I loved the way they edited the top ten countdown so Linx’s Sketch appeared to start singing “Do the Hucklebuck”!

    Boo! No Pauline dancing behind Shaky. Most vigorous and enjoyable dancing goes to Patti and her bloke.

    Look! They’re using the Toppatron to show The Nolans’ video during the outro. Not too keen on Simes’s “Ooh, there you are! Come here!” at the end. He wasn’t nicknamed Slimes for nothing.

  12. I should have said, bearing in mind the act's alter ego, that Players Association rip-off beggared belief!

  13. I've liked the Sugar Minot song for a long while but looking at this performance I thought it could have been given a more subdued and more easygoing visual performance, and maybe had fewer on stage as well. It took the focus off the song too much for me.

    1. I'd forgotten that Lincoln Barrington "Sugar" Minott passed away at the very start of these BBC4 re-runs at the age of 54.

  14. A bit more research on Sugar Minott's hit reveals it was written by "The Corporation", an assembly name given to four songwriters and record producers (Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards) whose job it was to create Jackson 5 material. None of the individual songwriters got a credit whilst in The Corporation, a deliberate ploy to avoid them becoming like previous 'back room superstars' Holland, Dozier and Holland.

  15. Checking up on Eurovision, I'd forgotten Jay Aston's brother Lance had appeared in the final with Prima Donna the previous year. I also discovered Jay's middle name is....Hilda!

    1. And, of course, her colleague is called Rita Crudgington!

  16. I'm up to date... for all of 24 hours!

    The thing is, now that we are so far ahead in the year and with 28 day iPlayer availability I have neither incentive nor necessity to watch ASAP. And I don't read these blog posts until I've seen the show. Therefore if I do have anything to say it's invariably way too late!

    1. It's never too late Arthur. I'm not ready for April yet, but I still need to blog every so often even if BBC4 are going too fast.

  17. Okay, so who will the BBC get to introduce "Pick of the Pops" now they've sacked Tony Blackburn due to a Yewtree-style scenario?

    1. From what I've read, this sacking seems bizarre and completely disproportionate. It all boils down to the BBC saying Tone was interviewed over this "incident" in 1971, and Tone denying that was the case. There's certainly no suggestion that he did anything improper with this girl - it just seems he has fallen foul of the ongoing BBC hypersensitivity to all things Yewtree-related.

      If we do get to 1983 on the repeats, I hope the BBC won't be so pathetic as to prevent Tone's shows that year from being broadcast, just because of this. As to who could take over POTP, I don't mind too much as long as they don't bring Dale Winton back!

    2. Right, that's an omen - off down the bookies to put a pony on Dale! :-)

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. i was in a charity shop last week and i heard ew&f's classic "let's groove tonight" (that hopefully we'll see "next year") being played - i felt compelled to compliment the staff for playing some decent music for a change, and was told it wasn't them - it was some radio show being hosted by none other than "diddy" david hamilton! i'm all for nostalgia, but do people like him and tony blackburn really need to be employed in that capacity when they're long-past retirement age? remember the furore when the beeb ditched (the ironically-named) jimmy young, with the man himself front of the queue to complain about the negative effect it would have on listeners and ratings. then within months if not weeks after jeremy vine took over, it was a case of "jimmy who"?!

      anyway, regardless of tone's fate thankfully he's long since presented his last episode of these re-reuns, so the spectre of yewtree won't further dash our viewing enjoyment...

    5. aaggghhh - i've just read john's comment and it seems there are more blackburn-hosted episodes to come... assuming we get that far! i hardly saw any of the 1983 episodes as i rehearsed with a band virtually every thursday night that year, so it will be galling if any he presented are pulled as part of the yewtree purge!

    6. what i'd like to know is: if these witch hunters / guardians of morality and decency (delete as appropriate) are after all supposed celebrity peodophiles and/or rapists for their "historical" crimes they supposedly committed decades ago, then (cliff apart) why aren't they being consistent and chasing rock superstars, whose track record probably makes the likes of DJ's and tv presenters pitiful in comparison. for example: it is well-documented that jimmy page had a girlfriend who was below "the age of consent", and yet he hasn't apparently even been on the yewtree radar!

    7. just for the record: my own view on "historical" sex crimes (regardless of how abhorrent they may seem nowadays) is that there should be a limit on how far back people can be "charged". after all, how many people can remember exactly what happened more than (say) twenty years ago? so without any written or recorded proof of what happened at the time, any accusations are likely to be embellished, inaccurate and falsely re-imagined in some way. but even if the "perp" denies any wrong doing and evades prosecution accordingly as a result of their "victims" hazy memories, they still have the stigma hanging over them for the rest of their days, as tony blackburn will now. of course, if somebody invented a time machine then all this mess could be cleared up by yewtree time-travel squads!

    8. That radio station with David Hamilton you heard last week is called The Wireless and, believe it or not, it's run by Age UK!

  18. Wilberforce - Tone seems to have presented 4 shows during 1983, though thankfully most of those were with co-hosts who have already been Yewtreed, so we shouldn't miss out on much extra if we do get that far...

  19. Almost wore out the Fast Forward... Pity it wasn't hosted by DLT

  20. Catching up after being away -

    I never really got Stiff Little Fingers, they were okay but I never cared for their music enough to buy one of their records. The drummer looks a bit of a nit banging away at that bodhran drum with no one taking any notice of him. That's the problem with the TOTP audiences, it doesn't matter how much trouble the acts take to recreate what is happening on the record most of the time no one gives a monkey's.

    I was a bit suspicious of Stewart and Blunstone's version of What Becomes at the time and I can see why now. Any warmth or soul the song had is missing here because of the flat vocal delivery and the nasty string machine, the only saving grace is the organ middle section which is quite nice.

    My god another black Brit disco funk outfit. I had completely forgotten about Light Of The World. This has the same formula as many other funk bands but it works.

    Oh no Don't panic - its frigging Liquid Gold discofying Corp Jones from Dad's Army. The drummer is clearly upset because there is to much competition from the zany crowd in the background, he wants to be the centre of attention.

    What the hell has Stevie Wonder done to his hair? He looks dreadful. I don't think he made one video for any of the songs from Songs In the Key Of life and he finally made one and it's for this dreary dirge.

    You can't really go wrong dancing to a Jacksons song but Legs are struggling a bit here doing a cross between aerobics and the highland fling and the freeze frames don't help.

    The Tansley school children are bandwagon jumping Midwich Cuckoos who should have been let nowhere near a TV studio let alone a recording studio.

    Got to feel a bit sorry for the brass players on the Sugar Minnott track as they only have a bit to do at the beginning and then have to stand there but they make up for it by grooving along and are damn site better than a lot of the dancers. I like the drummer's bit of business when he hits the side drum and looks into the camera lens.

    Suddenly we're back to the old style 70s TOTP with MOR acts turning up, first the singing kids and now Lena Zee. I would have completely switched off mentally when this came on the screen back in 1981 and very little has changed.

    It's hard to imagine how Spandex Bollox made it on the strength of ho-hum rubbish like this. I mean it really is awful and their silly dressing up antics are little distraction.

    What's not to like about Bucks Fizz. I mean I didn't buy it but it's catchy, classy and it won Eurovision.

    And then Shaky shaking his stuff at number one and play out with Attention To Me. Note to the rude boy attired in sta-press and Ben Sherman, it's not cool to dance to the Nolans at any time bit certainly not on live TV.