Thursday, 16 June 2016

I Wish It Could Be Top of the Pops Everyday

As if Christmas Eve isn't exciting enough as it is, but how about having a sensational live edition of Top of the Pops as well!

Happy SillyStringmas!

24/12/81 (hosted David Jensen)

(41) Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

Roy Wood gets the party started with this re-release of his top 3 hit from eight years previous, but this time number 41 was its peak.

(4) Adam & The Ants – “Ant Rap” (video)

The first victim of tonight's 7.30pm edit.

(45) Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Sweet Dreams”

Putting the chill-out into Christmas Eve, but this follow up to Good Year for the Roses failed to break into the top 40.

(5) Bucks Fizz – “The Land Of Make Believe”

It looks like someone has started to gift wrap Cheryl but very quickly ran out of paper!

(12) The Police – “Spirits In The Material World” (rpt from 10/12/81)

Also edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot.

(26) Kool & The Gang – “Get Down On It”

The whole Zoo has turned up tonight to Get Down On It, which became Kool's biggest hit to date when it made it to number 3.

(3) Abba – “One Of Us” (video)

And the last of tonight's 7.30pm victims.

(20) Altered Images – “I Could Be Happy”

Looking very happy here are Clare and the boys, tipped for big things in 1982 by David Jensen, and this song became their second of three top ten hits when it peaked at number 7.

(9) Dollar – “Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)”
A new studio performance now from Dollar of the Trevor Horn written and produced Mirror Mirror which reached number 4.

(1) The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”
It's live, it's Xmas Eve, so what a way to end this blockbusting show with the Human League turning up to perform 1981's Christmas number one. Worth every strand of silly string you can squirt into your mouth!

(47) Philip Lynott – “Yellow Pearl”  (audience dancing/credits)
And we end with the show's fabulous new theme tune, which would soon become a top 20 hit.
Merry Christmas everybody!

So that's it for 1981's regular editions. There's just the Xmas Day and New Years Eve specials to come. But the first of those is yewtreed. So tomorrow on BBC4 we will see December 31st, immediately followed by The Story of 1982, and then Big Hits 1982!


  1. A very good show this week on Xmas Eve 1981, and some interesting points of discussion:

    Introduction by Kid Jensen – Immediate corr on the opening introduction with some leggy babe in party outfit standing next to Kid Jensen showing some nice party pins, and showing everyone the way forward for fancy dress style on the show ahead of 1982 round the corner.

    Early evening edited-out songs – I’ve noticed how BBC4 choose what songs to edit out for the early evening shows, as a regular pattern has formed, ie, they edit out the repeat performances shown a couple of weeks earlier, and only keep in the new performances. Did anyone notice that there were no videos at all in the early evening show? That’s cos these were also edited out.

    Bucks Fizz – more nice pins on Jay Aston, wearing similar attire to the video for Piece Of The Action, their second hit in 1981 after the Eurovision No.1.
    Land Of Make Believe was just perfect for Christmas, but arrived too late to knock Human League out of the No.1 position.

    Zoo – Anita from Legs & Co is back this week, and I really felt that she was now enjoying herself on the show with the male & female mix of dancers of Zoo, and it seems the pressure was off her shoulders not having to be the new girl on the block following the tough examples of Sue Mehenick & Co. Nice to see Anita having so much fun in the studio with Zoo and the studio audience.

    Dollar – wow, didn’t Theresa Bazaar look stunning this week in that Xmas minidress? Even being flanked by Zoo dancers on the studio performance, they were not a jot on her, and she really made my evening tonight on BBC4.

    The Human League – now that we have dissected the video to death, it was great to see them in the studio with the blonde getting her own vocals for the first time, and a nice voice she had too. You could detect the Sheffield accent on her though, but who cares? She was another tasty dish among many Xmas dishes on this superb TOTP edition.

    Playout/Zoo – same as above regarding the welcome return of Anita on Zoo. Just a pity that BBC4 again pull out of the playout songs as soon as the end-credits are done, as the late show usually takes us through the entire playout song, well after the end-credits are done. So two shows in Dec 1981 featured Yellow Pearl as the playout song, and a song like this really gave us the full flavor of the party atmosphere on TOTP, now in full swing in all its glory, and I must admit has now wetted my appetite for the 1982 shows.

  2. Chart rundown - wow, did anyone see the caption of Meat Loaf on the chart rundown, the new entry at No.30 this week. Good Lord, after a long absence of two-and-a-half years since Bat Out Of Hell only got to no.15 in early 1979, the big man was back at the end of 1981 with a new album called Deadringer For Love, and no Jim Steinman on this album, who decided to make his own solo album also in 1981 called Bad For Good.

    Meat's video for Deadringer For Love took an Emmy award in the USA for video of the year, and we will soon see it on TOTP in January 1982 which made No.5 in our singles chart this side of the Atlantic. Can't wait!

    1. Jim Steinman actually wrote all the tracks on Dead Ringer. Bad For Good had originally been intended as a Meat Loaf album, but Meat lost his voice and Steinman decided to sing on the album himself, as the record company wanted new product from him. Once Meat recovered, they worked together on Dead Ringer, though I believe they fell out not long afterwards.

    2. Meat Loaf collapsed on stage last night, so maybe yet another of 2016's celebrity deaths is imminent?

    3. Meat has collapsed on stage a number of times over the last 30 years doing concerts, and I didn't know he did one last night.
      Considering the sheer weight he has carried over his lifetime, he will be 70 next year, and still doing concerts.

      All I can say when you consider that a not so bulky Rick Parffit of Status Quo had a heart attack this week in Turkey, is that Meat Loaf must have the best doctors around to have survived to the age that he is now. Long may this legend continue.

    4. there was a recent event at the local theatre in my hometown that featured bowie and meatloaf tributes on the same bill, an odd combination to say the least as i can't imagine many bowie fans being into meatloaf and vice versa. had i gone, i would certainly only have watched "bowie" and escaped to the nearest bar when "meatloaf" was on!

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  4. This edition of TOTP was like a festive Selection Box, chock-a-block with goodies (the exception being 'Ant Rap'). Contents: 3 shining examples of perfect pop provided by Abba, Bucks Fizz and Dollar; a slice of thoughtful stadium rock from Sgt Summers, Constable Copeland and Superintendent Sting; a country classic delivered exquisitely by Declan and his Attractions; a post-disco evergreen by Kool & The Gang; and 2 sparkling pieces of new wave delivered by Human League and Altered Images. The Fairlight-simulated chime of a mantelpiece clock in the latter band's 'I Could Be Happy' is one of the most memorable and intriguing hooks ever committed to tape.

    As for the opening number, those Sylvia Young brats miming to the final chorus probably shoved the cake in Roy Wood's face as revenge for his attempts to play the bagpipes in his live act!

  5. host: kid (sorry, david kid) obviously hasn't had time to change after a round of golf! is the new "mature" look an effort to try and make us forget his old name? if so then it's not working. this being a live transmission, at one point he's completely cast in darkness during a link (whilst there's a panda plus a female extra from "blake's 7" bizarrely lurking behind him), although being a true pro he doesn't let that phase him

    wizzard: was there a particular reason to re-release this, or did they do so every year a la slade's "merry xmas everybody"? plenty of modulation going on (in fact it may even feature sections in at least three different keys, which is pretty unusual for a pop song), but despite that it still does little for me as i've never been a fan of the phil spector wall of sound that this is clearly modelled on (their best effort by far in my opinion was the much earthier "ball park incident"). roy wood hardly makes massive efforts to smarten himself up for the 80's - the only difference between now and his early 70's heyday is that he's ditched the glam make up. some of his old muckers are with him, including both saxists (one of whom used to sport a teddy boy look, but although the drapes remain he can only dream of having a quiff now. didn't he appear with ba & maggie bell a few weeks back?), but the youthful and trendy bassist it clearly a recent addition - is he roy wood jr by any chance?

    adam & the ants: mr ant's hits must surely have been the inspiration for not the nine o'clock news' "nice video - shame about the song" parody? except in this case there is no actual song, just adam whining away ad nauseum with his chums chanting very manfully here and there on top of some percussion noise. because adam was still flavour of the month at this point, radio listeners had the misfortune to get subjected to this rubbish incessantly

    elvis costello: never mind departing from his usual new wave sound to mess about with (cod) country and western - he could have recorded the funkiest track ever and i still probably wouldn't have cared for it due to his horrible nasal singing style

    bucks fizz: even though this has more than a hint of cod-reggae about it, it's by far the best thing they ever did. in fact almost a synth-pop classic - how dare they seek to become credible! more modulation going on by the way. they must have left the door of the wardrobe department for "blake' 7" unlocked by mistake this week, as the ladies also seem to have half-inched their costumes from there

    police: more cod-reggae going on, something i thought this lot had moved on from by now. not as good as "everything she does is magic", but still miles better than "invisible sun". they have finally decided to grace the the totp studio again, although it's not clear if they are playing "live" or not. andy summers' guitar probably is probably a working device rather than a toy/prop, but even though he's a shortarse it still looks absurd

    1. Funnily enough, the infamous final episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast just three days before this edition of TOTP! I completely agree with you about Wizzard. Ball Park Incident is a great track, but thereafter Roy Wood's attempts to outdo Phil Spector come across to me as a lot of sound and fury signifying very little.

    2. If you want to hear Roy Wood trying too hard then check out the 1973 Wizrard Brew album. It has none of the singles on it but 6 lengthy pieces which are unlistenable proggy dirges.

      What was good about Roy Wood was that he let each member of his band write the b-side to the Wizzard singles so they all got a share of the writing royalties, which is very unusual in the music industry.

      Sadly the track by sax player Nick Pentelow - "Nixture" - was the B side of This Is The Story Of My Love (Baby) which didn't sell.

      My fave was Rock and Roll Winter but they never gets played these days, it's always I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.

    3. I found a great spoof of Benny Hill as Roy Wood on Supersonic on YouTube:

    4. I remember that episode of Blakes 7 from first time round - it was shocking at the time (and I don't mean the special effects).

    5. Chris Boucher, who wrote that episode, later quipped that he had ruined Christmas for a lot of people with such a downbeat ending! Incidentally, I was sad to see that Blake himself, Gareth Thomas, died for real recently.

    6. avon was never shot on screen like the rest, and as the credits came up it was suggested that he was as likely captured as killed. presumably on the basis that the series might continue in some form at a later date? although the bbc never did another series, many years later paul darrow (who played avon) tried to revive it with an independent cartel. but in the end nothing came of it...

    7. My fave Blakes Seven episode was Mission to Destiny from the first series, a whodunnit set in space.

    8. My favourite is Rumours of Death from series 3 - there's some great scenes between Avon and Servalan in that one.

      Wilberforce - I think the B7 production team knew the show probably wouldn't be renewed, but they left themselves wriggle-room just in case it was. Not only is Avon still alive at the end, but Blake is the only one who is definitely dead...

    9. Series 3 was my favourite out the four they made and Avon the best character - much more fun and sarcastic than goodie two shoes Blake.

      Incidentally Gareth Thomas returned for the final episode on the basis that viewers would be left in no doubt that he was dead.

    10. The final episode of Blakes 7 was entitled 'Blake' as it saw the one off return of a disfigured Blake (the late Gareth Thomas) after being absent from series 3 and 4. My favourite episode has to be the very camp 'Gambit' featuring Aubrey Woods.

    11. i had no time at all for "star wars" back then (i still don't), but "blake's 7 was a brilliant series, which i remember having to watch most episodes on the "spare" black and white telly in the dining room as no one else in my family was interested in watching it ("family viewing" seems such a quaint concept now!). then nothing was seen of it for nearly 20 years until the beeb finally repeated it on bbc 2 on saturday afternoons... and i again ended up having to watch it in black and white on a student friend's tiny telly that had a shit reception! i finally got to re-watch the entire series again on dvd (in glorious colour for the first time!) about 5 years after that...

    12. The last thing I expected to see on here was a very interesting B7 discussion!

      For my part, I certainly watched the last couple of series at the time with my Dad, as he loved it. I can remember watching that final episode and being pretty shocked.

      It's just a shame that it wasn't treated with as much love as Doctor Who when released on DVD (and you still can't get all series together unless you invest in a Dutch release) and that there are so many parties fighting over the rights that a (by all accounts very good) making of documentary never saw the light of day.

    13. Small bits of the documentary ended up as extras on the DVD releases, what a shame it was never released in full.

      I watched a few of the series 3 episodes a few weeks ago when my wife was away with work. The effects haven't aged well but the stories are still pretty good.

  6. like the totp festive specials, it's a two-parter:

    kool & co: all i can say about this is that i remember an "alternative" version being sung by guys of my aquaintance for several years afterwards (but not by me, i hasten to add): "get down on it, suck my helmet"! to me it seems a bit odd watching julie "chopper" harris dancing with her zoo colleagues, as i so clearly remember her as one of ladies camping it up with tight fit the following year

    abba: yet another track with a cod-reggae feel about it, but an excellent catchy tune none-the-less. art imitates life as the ladies sing of splitting from their partners - in this case the very ones that gave them such painful and personal lyrics to perform! i always think of benny as the beardy one, but of course bjorn had also lost his razor by now (and outdoing his songwriting partner in the hirsute stakes in the process). frida is now definitely showing her age (maybe that's why benny gave her the elbow?), with the "mad max" image not helping in that regard

    altered images: not as annoying as "happy birthday", but still fairly lightweight with the vocal and bass line once again copying each other. why didn't one of them pretend to play the tubular bells? is that disco dancing world champion grant santino up there by the drummer?

    dollar: this may have been produced (and written?) by trevor horn, but it's not a patch on the offering by their rivals bucks fizz. and the ending is particularly weak. trevor and howard goodall have now wisely been replaced (visually anyway) by some younger and trendier guys as the "backing band". i have to admit that thereza is looking particularly hot here, but do you think david van day deliberately bounces up and down just to show how fulsome and lustrous his locks are? note how kid (sorry, david kid) grooves along with this in the background - not something you'd likely see slimy bates doing

    human league: hoorah - we finally get to see them in the flesh in these re-runs, but i'm still more than a little annoyed that i never got the chance to see them perform "the sound of the crowd" and (particularly) "love action". now phil has been shorn, his heavy make-up seems rather surplus to requirements. and in fact even somewhat unsettling

    phil lynott: i've got so used to hearing the truncated instrumental totp theme version of this, that it seems a bit weird to hear "mr thin lizzy" warbling away in his own unique manner on top of it!

    1. It was great to see the playout of Thin Lizzy's Yellow Pearl in full on the late night repeat, as this was markedly truncated on the early evening showing, and the whole party mood in the studio with the intensely colourful costumes of Zoo, meant that we were well into the throws of an intense party atmosphere on each and every show by now at the end of 1981, and this was to be the future style of the show for the rest of the decade.

      I appreciate this transition much more now in adulthood on these weekly repeats than I did back then as a teenager, where I couldn't get to see the show every week, as we only had one TV in the house in 1981, and I had to compete every Thursday with all the family members who generally wanted to watch other channels, so I would see some TOTP shows, but not all of them!

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  7. Compliments of the season, everyone. First up, the second most clichéd opening number ever, Wizened with Thank God It Isn't Christmas Every Day, I hear this too often in December so no need to listen to it in June.

    Was one of Adam's Ants really called Dairylea? Did he ever wonder how you get triangles from a cow? Anyway, love this, a great big stupid chant with a video to match. Did Adam really take that tumble into the moat? Looks very perilous.

    Elvis Costello and his country tune, pleasant enough but in marked contrast to the rest of the show. Got distracted wondering if he was going to play that guitar.

    Are we given to believe that the ladies of Bucks Fizz weren't wearing underwear? Maybe the blokes weren't, too. Undaunted by fake snow, they plough ahead with their dance routine and a song that nobody would have minded being the Christmas number one.

    I like to think Andy of the Police showed up at the studio on one of those mini motorbikes to match his little guitar. Was Sting's hankie the remnants of that legendary stripy jumper?

    Then the very rude Kool and the Gang song, they weren't backward about coming forward, fair enough as Zoo's formation dancing seems to be the same, though how come there are different people in the rabble every week? The "punk" bloke reminded me of the "Dad, why do you have green hair?" joke, which is a bit visual so I won't attempt it here.

    Any Swedish speakers able to identify Agnetha's reading matter, or her choice of albums? Benny and Bjorn now only able to be told apart by DNA testing thanks to the beards.

    You look happy already, Clare, so don't give us it. Chiming pop from Altered Images with daydreaming in a bad place lyrics, that guitar sound was so distinctive.

    Think I've mentioned this before, but when I was little I thought Therese Bazaar was totally beautiful, and those memories are coming back watching these repeats. Might have been the ethereal pop vocals too (though I didn't fancy David, who is dressed as Freddie Mercury this time for some reason).

    Ah, finally we see ver League in the studio on BBC Four, and they looked pleased as punch to be there. What's great about this song is how ominous and dramatic it sounds to match the emotional turmoil of the lyrics, as the video shows it's really cinematic.

    Phil to end on. The panda must have been absolutely boiling.

    1. Agreed regarding Theresa Bazaar, which were also my thoughts back then, and I thought it was not possible to be more beautiful than her. I guess her beauty came out by the way she adored her partner on stage David Van Day, which was not usually the norm, as all the other pretty singers would perform for the camera to promote themselves, but Theresa was different in that she cared more for Dave than the camera, and this uniqueness set her apart from the other so called 'beauty queens' that ever graced the TOTP studio in those days.

    2. I think David fancied himself.

    3. Maybe appropriate that David Van Day and Bucks Fizz were on the same show when Dave teamed up with some of them for a disastrous tour in the 00s, and one of the greatest pop documentaries ever made for TV when the BBC did an episode of Trouble at the Top about it. I still associate him with The Terminator theme.

  8. Shakey Shakerson17 June 2016 at 02:26

    Whilst his Radio 1 cohorts have clocked off for Christmas and are busy getting rat-faced down the local boozer, David Kid has drawn the short straw and has to present this LIVE Xmas Eve edition.

    Up first - Wizard's perennial chart-botherer 'I Wish It etc'. I had it in my mind that this was released (and charted somewhere in the top 50) every year since 73. Turns out that it hasn't. In fact this re-mastered reissue is the first time it has charted since then. The kids are new ( well the originals would be late teens/early 20s by now) and a couple of Wizzards are new to the fold as well. Isn't it weird that whenever we get one of those clip-show things showing Xmas hits, the clip they use of Wizzard is the old 73 one and never this? Oh, and look who's back! Up there in the very middle of the balcony. It's white-suit-man from last week! This time sporting an olive green jump suit and still trying to get his mug on screen.

    We then get a not-at-all-Christmassy Christmas message from Imagination and another play of Ant Rap, before Elvis begins to sing 'She' before realising his mistake and switching to 'Sweet Dreams. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Just to prove we are LIVE the lights go down for a mo as David Kid introduces Bucks Fizz. A Christmas Eve treat for all the dads right there. Apparently this song is about Margaret Thatcher. I kid you not!

    The Zooologists en masse now for a lively run through of Kool's Get On Down With It (as David Kid calls it) Don't like the song - still not feeling any love for the dancers either. Maybe there are too many of them - making it hard to get to know them. It also makes for a messy performance.

    Little Pixie Clare Grogan with a hankie tied to her forehead gives another spirited performance. The guitarist gives up miming halfway through to get his revenge on some silly-string firing audience member. He really should have turned round and fired at the 'dancers' standing in front of the drummer who were really off-puttingly annoying.

    Look! He's back again. White-suit-man-now-in-olive-green-jumpsuit man, standing alongside David Kid and getting close-up screen time this time. He IS familiar looking and I am leaning toward him being a minor TV actor.

    Dollar clock up another Pops appearance. Nice outfit for Thereza, bad Dad-dancing from David Kid. (Both of these people are Canadian-born, fact fans).

    The final bit of chart rundown leads us to The Human League being this year's Christmas number 1. And they are in the studio to celebrate and get covered in silly string ( fired by, I think, their 'Dare' producer Martin Rushent).

    And we say goodbye with Phil Lynott's Yellow Pearl and more dad dancing from David Kid.

    Okay then - scores. David Kid scores a commendable 8. Keep in mind that this was LIVE and he was constantly surrounded by screen-hogging wannabes and must have had the producer in his ear all the time, then the one mistake ( the Kool song title) merits a good score.

    The show itself loses points for the Zoo performance ( too many of them) Elvis (in the studio but so boring), and for allowing white-man-in-suit-now-in-olive-green-jumpsuit-man more screen time. However, points are awarded for the party atmosphere, all the decorations, and the performances from Bucks Fizz, Dollar, Altered Images and The Human League. So, in true Christmas spirit I award the last show of 81 an 8.

    Merry Christmas Everyone!

    1. Interesting point you make about Zoo, Shakey.
      The 80s was the decade where for the first time and in the new Thatcher era, everyone could have more, and however much they wanted.
      In the 70s, Legs & Co were six girls that you could get to know every week with close-ups of their bodies, and it was the same six girls for around 5 years.

      The 80s left that all behind, in this new era of the more the merrier, but this meant with Zoo that there was no focus on individuals, and that not every edition had the same dancers, as they now had so many to choose from. Example is Anita who seemed to appear in the November debut of Zoo, but then not until this week's show on Xmas Eve, even though she looked just as happy on that first debut.

      And how long did Zoo last on TOTP? Erm, a few months I think.

    2. Sorry, that should be 29 September 1983.

    3. Good grief, this comment system is really playing up today! A previous post went missing where I mentioned that Zoo's last performance on TOTP was 27/09/83 - I meant to say 29/09/83. However, long before then Zoo's appearances had become very intermittent.

    4. Zoo lasted almost two years. Their last credited performance on the Pops was transmitted on 27 September 1983, dancing to What I Got Is What You Need by Unique.
      Some of the members from Zoo later became uncredited "cheerleaders" and were seen dancing in the background and in the audiences, this continued up until 1986.

      There have been a few appearances from actors, presenters and such alike on the Pops, notably Emma Forbes and in 1984, Nicola Bryant pops up beside Gary Davies. The white suited/green jumped suited young man does look vaguely familiar, although my memory could be playing tricks on me. Does anyone recognise him?

    5. Shaky,

      TOTP: The Story of 1982 confirms that the mystery man in the white suit/olive green jumpsuit was a young Craig Fairbrass, later known for the role of Dan Sullivan in EastEnders.

    6. I have seen this Wizzard performance on the Christmas TOTP2 a few times.

    7. Craig Fairbrass - of course I can see it now.

      Some of the other dancers were contestants on the UK Disco Dance Championship shows from 1978 - 1981 (they're on You Tube) including oriental guy Philip Tann who is now and actor and stuntman, Clive Clarke who was in Zoo and Grant Santino who's been on several recent shows.

    8. Shakey Shakerson18 June 2016 at 15:04

      Yes of course it is. I don't watch Eastenders but I have seen him in other things. By the looks of it 1982 is gonna be chockful of Fairbrass. I fear that he - and the other 'cheerleaders' are going to be a permanent annoyance to me.

    9. i remember craig fairbrass appearing in "london's burning" in the late 80's/early 90's before ending up in hollywood picking up the parts that vinnie jones probably turned down. but i didn't know he was in eastenders

    10. Wasn't Mr Fairbrass in Cliffhanger, where he plays football with Sylvester Stallone's head (still attached to his body)?

      I'm one of the few people to have seen his film Beyond Bedlam in the cinema, in the days when I'd go to see any old rubbish. Not many can claim they've seen an Anita Dobson movie on the big screen (she was in it too).

      A quick check of IMDB reminds me he starred with another TOTP perennial, Status Quo in their recent Bula Quo movie. Ah, the showbiz anecdotes must have flowed like wine on that set.

    11. FWIW, I called Mr. Fairbrass as an actor in a post relating to an earlier show, though I couldn't for the life of me remember his name, so thanks for digging that out. I knew that he'd been in soaps.

  9. Incidentally, is Leee John really short or is Kid Jensen really tall?

    1. when kid co-hosted a show with peter powell the latter was also noticeably shorter. but what is short? i'm 5' 8" which was apparently the average height for men in the early 80's, although it's probably at least an inch more now. so does that make me a shortarse?

    2. I always imagined you were tall, with a name like Wilberforce

    3. It's not the size that counts.

  10. The curious thing about this show is the choice of some of the acts. Now I was a huge Roy Wood fan when I was young and bought as lot of the Wizzard and Roy Wood singles and while it's great to see I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day again it was only at number 41 in the chart. By comparison Slade had re-entered the chart at number 32 with Merry Xmas Everybody, so why did Roy get preference? Still it's a cracking performance, even if it is a bit odd to see different musicians and children miming to the orig 1973 recording and the kids on the original single must be about 18 now. Nice TOTP cake, I wonder if they all had a bit afterwards?

    A shame that they couldn't persuade Adam and Co to come into the studio to perform instead we see the video again, in full again. It's ironic that the rap talks about the solidarity between Adam and his four men, three of whom would be sacked before the release of the next single. This is one of a handful of songs where the band get name checked by themselves, the others I can think of are Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet, Float On by The Floaters and Song For A Future Generation by The B52s - any others?

    Now I am a big Elvis Costello fan as well but like Roy Wood he didn't really deserve to be featured either because he was only at number 45 and was a non-mover. This is the first of several downbeat songs on the show that isn't really in keeping with the upbeat feel of the show. Rightly they don't show any of the zany dancers or maybe Elvis had it written into his contract - "Elvis is not to appear with any of the wally dancers".

    Artists who maybe should have been featured instead of Elvis are Foreigner at number 19, The Tweets at number 22, Meatloaf at number 30, Bowie at number 24, John Lennon at number 28, The Four Tops at number 37 or Christmas On 45 by Holly and The Ivys, a high mover at number 40.

    Bucks Fizz have really got the formula right by this point, a top notch catchy song, a glossy production, sexy revealing costumes and a specially built set on which to perform which echoes the video.

    The Police - a repeat but a worthy one, I had forgotten how good this was. Slightly lacking in atmosphere though, probably because it was a repeat.

    Oh dear the various multitudinous members of Zoo get down with Kool and The Gang. A bit of a mess. Did this lot ALL get credited at the end?

    One Of Us is one of the later ABBA hits which is often forgotten but it's a superb song, albeit another sad one, with a great video. I would love to live in Agnetha's flat, it looks cool.

    More sadness tinged with happiness from Altered Images. This lot clearly don't have a caveat in their contract because here the dancers look as though they wee part of the band but hey get their own back by squirting a few other dancers with silly string.

    And then Dollar. Not their best song, this one highlights the limits of David's vocal abilities but still a decent catchy song. I note that Howard Goodall and Trevor Horn were otherwise engaged and have been replaced by looky-likeys.

    The Top 8 and then a brilliant perforamance of Don't You Want Me. This is a different mix again, it follows the pattern of the single rather than the video but it sounds slowed down and a bit ploddy but we can hear Joanne's backing vocals which is nice and the silly string antics are a nice touch.

    Playout with Yellow Pearl - another song outside the top 40 - but it's fair enough as its the shows theme and the dancers go crazy here, a bit too crazy perhaps as none of the real crowd get a look in. And I notice that out man in the white suit from last time is back again, this time sporting a green flying suit (a la Sting) and is still desperate to be noticed.

    1. do rap tracks count with regard to performers name checking themselves? if so, you can start with the sugarhill gang and then the floodgates probably open...

    2. chris hughes (aka merrick - does anyone know why he used that pseudonym?) did pretty well for himself after getting his cards from adam, as producer for tears for fears. but it seemed the end of the line for terry lee and (more surprisingly given he'd already played in three charting bands by this point) gary tibbs...

    3. Apparently Merrick is his middle name.

  11. One further thought - what was the significance of the panda?

    1. Maybe they ordered a polar bear from props and that panda was all they had available?

    2. maybe that's what the costume department provided in response to a memo saying "please supply appropriate attire for the new totp dance troupe zoo"?

      seriously, i have no idea what the panda was doing there. but he was cool! hopefully he'll be back...?

    3. He might have had a Kit-Kat ad to appear in.

    4. Was it a pun on the police's mode of transport at one stage, the Fiat Panda?

    5. The panda cars were the blue and white patrol cars driven by the police which at that time in 1981 were likely to be Austin Allegros or Ford Escorts depending on the police force. They got their name from the blue and white combination. The Kit-Kat advert was from about 1987.

  12. I think anyone who watched this show on original broadcast would have felt suitably festive by the end of it. There was a great atmosphere in the studio, not too obviously choreographed, and Kid proved himself to be a consummate live TV presenter, the howler when introducing Kool and the Gang being his only major mistake. He did seem to suggest that Super Trouper had been number 1 the previous Christmas, but in fairness he had been in the US at that point...

    Given it was Christmas Eve, an impressive number of acts made the effort to appear in the studio. Roy Wood returns to TOTP for the first time in years with the song that must provide him with a Noddy Holder-style pension. Truth be told, I have heard it far too often, and listening to it in the middle of June does not improve the experience! Nevertheless, it's a colourful performance and the brats weren't too nauseating. Sadly, Elvis Costello's turn sticks out like a sore thumb among the songs surrounding it, killing the party mood stone dead. It's quite a nice tune, but a touch too downbeat and Elvis' vocals grate.

    After the Fizz give us a tinselly new performance in front of more post-apocalyptic Christmas trees, Zoo hit the floor for Get Down on It. As with their debut routine, I think there are simply too many dancers here for the viewer to really engage with the individuals, making it all seem a bit cold and impersonal. I can't say I like the song that much either, as it is very repetitive. Altered Images certainly enter into the festive mood, with dancers on stage and Clare Grogan in her best party frock. This is a better song than Happy Birthday, with some excellent guitar work, though again Clare's vocals and little girl stage mannerisms put me off a bit - that huge bow she was wearing must have annoyed her, as it was constantly getting in her eyes!

    Kid dances along gamely to Dollar while Zoo do their best to blind everyone present with their mirrors, and then after the final countdown (I like the Christmas cracker graphic accompanying the mugshots), the League triumphantly return to the studio as 1981's festive chart-toppers. I wasn't too keen on this mix of the song, which did sound a bit muted - I wonder if they had to re-record the song for the show because the MU were sniffing around? In any case, the silly string at the end makes this an iconic performance. I'm not sure if Phil had cut his hair, or whether he just had it pinned back - it was hard to tell.

    Yellow Pearl then plays us out in fine style, with plenty of energetic dancing in the studio. I'm glad to see the panda was still going strong, as you might have expected him to have collapsed from heat exhaustion by this point...

    1. Incidentally, I notice BBC4 left in Kid's plug for the Christmas Day show, and the acts appearing were all listed after the end credits, even though it won't actually be shown again! Talk about tantalising and taunting the viewers...

  13. I Wish It Could Be Top Of The Pops Everyday eh Angelo? On BBC4 it practically is!

    1. :-) I wonder if they will keep it up into next year?

  14. Plenty of festive atmosphere on this edition from the Kid. I probably did see this at the time.

    Wizzard – I wish it could be Christmas – I have seen this umpteen times on the Christmas TOTP2 but being in June now I just couldn’t bear to watch it through. Please take ages to come Christmas, it seems we’ve only just come out of the season!

    Adam & the Ants – Ant Rap – One that just doesn’t grow on me, could be the lack of a recognisable tune. In fact on each hearing I wonder just who bought this dreadful record.

    Elvis Costello – Sweet Dreams – No naff twins in a video this time, but I don’t really remember this pleasant but unremarkable song. Love the personalised guitar.

    Bucks Fizz – Land of make believe – Phoarr! Cheryl. Wonderful, snow falling rendition much better performance than the one two weeks ago. Once again we’re spared that kid talking at the very end.

    Police – Spirits in the material world – Nothing more to say on this than before other than a couple of repeat TV shows I have watched in the past week both featured Frances Tomelty.

    Kool & the Gang – Get down on it – Not to be confused with ‘Get down’ by Gilbert O’Sullivan, this Zoo lark is just not grabbing me at all. What did Legs & Co do to upset someone?

    Abba – One of us – Shorn of the intro, this repeat showing reminds us once again just what we’ve missed since 1982.

    Altered Images – I could be happy – OK, it’s not as bad as ‘Happy Birthday’ and here Claire is bouncing around in her Little Bo Peep outfit. The audience just love this.

    Dollar – Mirror Mirror – I have to agree with some other thoughts noted on here; Theresa must be the most beautiful women ever on TOTP and here with the make-up and outfit she looks absolutely stunning. Lovely chemistry with the two of them singing holding on to each other. Kid himself is dancing away and in shot for most of this. Great record.

    Human League – Don’t you want me – Finally we get to see the League, in the studio on BBC4! The girls dance style never changes and they look mightily hacked off having their lovely frocks ruined by silly string (what ever happened to that?). Phil just looks wrong with the lipstick. Worthy Christmas no.1 tough and 100% improvement on the previous year.

    Philip Lynott – Yellow Pearl – Dance out to a great track and theme tune and the audience love this one, although Kid seems to have made an early exit for the bath (or bar).

    No Foreigner on this show despite a bit leap for ‘Waiting for a Girl like you’ although I do recall a live film of this being on the show; perhaps next week?

    Incidentally, David Bowie’s ‘Wild is the Wind’ entered the Top30 on 29/11 and went:-
    28 – 25 – 27 – 24 – 28 – 29, (32). Never featured on the show however, but clearly quietly popular and for me better some of his more famous records.

    1. both cheryl baker and thereza bazar were stunning on this show. but whilst cheryl always looked really friendly to me, i got the impression that thereza could be a right nasty bitch!

  15. Merry Christmas!

    I'm typing this before seeing any recent comments on the last three shows, so apologies for any duplications.

    Boy, did it feel weird watching Christmas Eve 1981 on the 3rd longest day of 2016. Just not right. Still, a right load of Christmas crackers on this show, and I don’t just mean those adorning the mugshots. Talking of which, a great juxtaposition between the cheery smiles of The Snowmen and the ultra frumpy Kim Wilde shot which followed in the, erm, count-up.

    I read Ian Gittins’ TOTP book on holiday, and it mentioned that Roy Wood’s actually quite shy offstage. Hmmm. For the record, my fave of his ids "Forever".

    Good grief, it’s Leeeee John wearing trousers with two legs!

    Marco, Merrick, Dairylea! Boy, this was shite.

    Elvis Costello’s track was way too slow to be a big hit or maybe even a single really, but well executed nevertheless.

    Police. Bring on the panda. Next.

    Wahay! Look at Jay and particularly Cheryl, the latter in a costume for which the camera ‘up’ shot was obviously banned! Apparently, there were also two blokes on stage.

    “Get On Down with It”, Kid? Further to mention on this forum of re-working of Kool’s lyrics to include the word ‘helmet’, I was aware of this version – the next two lines were “please don’t bite it, just excite it”. Another FF after a quick peak at the shy wallflower that is Chopper Harris.

    That Abba video was very, very sad. A great group in meltdown. Agnetha still had the “Winner Takes It All” eye make-up, while AnniFrid looked scary in a terrible way.

    Clare Grogan was a bit too squeaky in that group composition for my liking.

    Woah! Thereze Bazar dressed as Betty Boo to absolutely stunning effect. David Van Day knows all about mirrors. My fave Dollar song, as it happens (oops, sorry).

    Ah, the debut of the new look Human League. Erm, hang on! Bless, the gals are still uncoordinated. Slightly disorientating to see Phil Oakey laughing. Still, not as bad as that goon in the sombrero next to Kid waiting to unleash his blowy thing before the Mr. Thin Lizzy outro.

    Right, must crack on - it’s June, therefore it must be January 1982. Errr...

    1. welcome back arthur - i didn't know there was an additional lyric to the "naughty" version of "get down on it"!

    2. Arthur - you've got great taste! 'Forever' is my favourite Roy Wood track also. Great song you hardly ever hear these days.

    3. A third vote here for 'Forever'. If you've ever seen the 20th December 1973 edition of TOTP Roy performs it makeup-less with his trusty bass player from Wizzard, Rick Price, who is wearing a benny-hat. And I notice it is the same Rick playing on this performance eight years later, not a young new addition to the group that an earlier comment alluded to. Strangely though he does look younger here than eight years previously.

    4. In between Wizzard stints Rick Price worked as Peters and Lee's manager and is now married to Dianne Lee.

      The B-side to Forever is an instrumental called Music To Commit Suicide By which is superb and in complete contrast to the Beach Boys-influenced A-side.

    5. just to add that roy wood did a half-decent instrumental homage to john barry's 007 work with his "premium bond theme" (ho ho). according to the label he played everything on it, including the horns and woodwind!:

  16. Incidentally, in the 90s E-Motion had a top twenty hit with a song "adapted" from Ant Rap called The Naughty North and the Sexy South. The video is on YouTube and is possibly the most 90s thing ever. Not necessarily a good thing, mind.

  17. I do remember that! In fact, it was somehow a hit twice despite being barely remixed at all second time around.

    I always suspected that one of the Ants was behind that 'outfit' actually....

  18. Christmas party, yay! I absolutely must have seen this at the time and the 9 year old me would have been very excited I expect (with one notable exception)

    I wouldn't have known the Wizzard song at the time so probably boggled at it - this year was the slight beginning for Christmas song nostalgia that increased over the net few years. I actually didn't mind listening to it out of context! (maybe because it's not played to death in June as it is in December?)

    A welcome showing of 'Ant Rap' then the exception mentioned earlier. Who thought that Elvis Costello's tedious song was right for this show? I think I'd rather have seen The Snowmen again.

    Bucks Fizz - Brilliant, of course and a nice performance of this.

    Kool & The Gang - Actually, come to think of it, here's another exception though I suspect I didn't mind at the time. Unfortunately now it's another housewife song (though not at the same level as 'Celebration')

    Altered Images with a brilliant pop song and the lovely Clare, though not with her best outfit. I have a feeling that we see her sporting something better on a later performance if my memory isn't failing me.

    More perfect pop with Dollar though this performance isn't as good as the last one. Those idiots constantly flexing their mirrors aren't helping - I know where I'd like to shove them!
    I may have mentioned before that I know someone who had, ahem, relations with Thereze. Lots of love for her on here I see - I thought she was lovely too for what it's worth.

    Even though I'm bored of the song, I felt I owed it to Phil and the gang to watch their studio performance of 'Don't You Want Me' given how much of their (better) songs we've missed in 1981. In the spirit of Christmas (!) I quite enjoyed it.

    Then another playout to 'Yellow Pearl' which is fine by me. Happy Christmas to you all! (Posting this on the longest day, not weird at all....)