Friday, 30 December 2016

Orville's Top of the Pops

It's now December 23rd 1982 and the final regular Top of the Pops of the year is a live one hosted by David Jensen.

I wish I could sell 400,000 copies of this record.....


23-12-82: Presenter: David Jensen (Live)

(39) THE MAISONETTES – Heartache Avenue
Lol Mason, formerly of one hit wonders City Boy, fronted this latest one hit wonder group, with Heartache Avenue peaking at number 7. Would have made a perfect follow up hit for Mari Wilson.

(3) DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY – Peace On Earth – Little Drummer Boy (video)
Little Drummer Boy dated back to 1941, but Peace on Earth was a new addition (in 1977 anyway) and the combination was now at its peak.

(28) INCANTATION – Cacharpaya (Andes Pumpsa Desi)
Apparently a Cacharpaya is a song of farewell from the Andes, which is apt because this was their only hit, peaking at number 12.

(2) SHAKIN’ STEVENS – Blue Christmas
Now at its peak. And was that Peter Duncan and Simon Groom from Blue Peter in the audience?



(43) IMAGINATION – Changes
Went up to number 31.

(26) ABBA – Under Attack (video)
And so we say a fond farewell to the fabulous Abba, this being the group's final single, bar a couple of re-releases, and now at its peak in the charts, and another clip from the Late Late Breakfast Show I do believe.

(33) KEITH HARRIS & ORVILLE – Orville’s Song
This Bobby Crush song found its wings and flew all the way to number 4.

(1) RENÉE & RENATO – Save Your Love (video)
Alas no studio performance for this year's Christmas number one, but after the video who should pop into the studio but Santa Renato to wishes us all a mario christimas!

(8) MODERN ROMANCE – Best Years Of Our Lives (and credits)
Our 1982 theme tune closes the show and then went up four more places.




That brings us to the 2pm Christmas Day 1982 edition next.

60 comments:

  1. It's the final pop chart of the year, and David Jensen during the show tells us it is snowing outside the TOTP studio in London, so at least we can note here in 2016 that it was snowing in London on 23rd Dec 1982.

    The Maisonettes - while watching this I was liking more the two cute backing girl sweeties in their miniskirts, instead of the ugly lead singer. Oh, and the song was OK, but nothing special.

    David Bowie & Bing Crosby - the 1977 TV special from America was only now brought to the UK five Christmas's later in 1982, but still a cracking Christmas song to rival even some of those No.1 Christmas songs of years gone by, and very narrowly missed getting to No.1, just behind Renee & Renato.

    Abba - ah, so this was their last hit before the early 1983 breakup. I do like it, and a pity that Abba could not perform it in the TOTP studio, but instead on another UK TV show called the Late Late Breakfast Show. Didn't this happen in November also with Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker? This was becoming a trend it seemed in late 1982.

    Renee & Renato - ah so we got slightly more of the video than on the show two weeks earlier with Simon Bates - in fact all of the video this week. It's not possible to know at this stage how much of the video was shown on the previous week with Jimmy Saville, as so far we only have the short TOTP copy cut off before the end of the video, and even without the Donna Summer playout.

    As Angelo mentions, great see Renato joining David Jensen, and popping up in the TOTP studio in a Santa Claus outfit at the end of the video. What a happy Christmas it turned out for TOTP viewers with this surprise and then the live playout with Modern Romance with the ever reliable 'giant' John Du Prez on trumpet.

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    1. The Old Groaner's TV special, with The Thin White Duke among his guests, had been broadcast on ITV at Christmas '77; I remember it well.

      The Maisonettes' two female backing singers - both shop assistants, if I remember rightly - were replaced soon afterwards by two drama students, one of them being future comedy actress Carla Mendonca. She's the brunette in this later performance of the song, which I believe is taken from a continental TV pop show:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAq5goVTvAU

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    2. Do you know which ITV show it was, as I would love to see how this Bowie & Crosby song was originally introduced in 1977 on TV?

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    3. The show was 'Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas', which was made by ATV subsidiary ITC Entertainment. Other guests included Twiggy, Stanley Baxter (who lampooned some of the characters from 'Upstairs Downstairs') and Ron 'Fagin' Moody.

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    4. Found it! Thanks Julie, here is the whole 50-minute ITV show on Utube, and worth its own blog if we have time in between the TOTP blogs put up:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE9XVKka_tA

      The Stanley Baxter sketches are also worth a view.

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    5. Dory - The Late Late Breakfast Show was also produced by Michael Hurll, hence the large number of clips from it that were now showing up on TOTP.

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    6. Bowie claimed to have only appeared on the show because his Mum liked Bing Crosby. The show (broadcast on 30th November 1977 after Bing Crosby had died on 14th October of that year) featured this song sung as a counterpoint of two different songs, as Bowie felt that ‘Little Drummer Boy’ didn’t showcase his own voice well (and indeed, what a wonderful rendition he gives of ‘Peace on Earth’ as a result). When released, Bowie was allegedly unhappy with it and became estranged from his label RCA as a result, leaving for EMI America soon afterwards.

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    7. So when was the show and clip recorded, if Bing died in October 1977? Surely it would not have been Christmas time, and still British Summer Time (BST) at the start of October. Could it have been recorded the previous Christmas in 1976 I wonder?

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    8. It was recorded the month before Bing died, so September 1977.

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    9. It's a bit strange to record a Xmas show in September, so I wonder if Bing knew he had not long more in our dear world t get this whole show done in the summer end. Still, it's always one of those likeable songs every Christmas.

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    10. Stranger things have happened. Slade recorded "Merry Xmas Everybody" in the summer!

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    11. Almost all Christmas specials are recorded in Summer or Autumn Dory!

      Check out the weather in most Doctor Who Christmas episodes for a start....

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  2. Abba - First time I'd heard this song and whilst it's by no means bad, to me it sounded like the spark had gone from the group. I'm pretty sure they appeared on the Late Late Breakfast Show again to promote 'Thank You For The Music' and there was an awkward interview with Tidybeard where they confirmed they were splitting up. Maybe it was on the same edition this performance was taken from.

    I once had the misfortune to hear the follow to 'Save Your Love' as the hospital radio station I volunteered at had a copy in the library (and the non charting third single). It made 'Save Your Love' sound like a timeless classic.

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    1. A hospital radio story from me...

      We had a young lad join whose musical knowledge didn't extend beyond the current 'boom-chakka-boom' noise. My colleague decided to introduce him to material which was rather more 'melodic' and selected a few songs for this lad to play on air. One of them was this absolutely stunning ABBA track which I had never heard before. Turned out to be the flipside of 'Under Attack':

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQy8D8APo9E

      Certainly sparkier than the A-side, I think.

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    2. Must check that song out.

      One of the best things about our hospital station was digging through the record library and picking out random tracks. When I was there it still contained thousands of vinyl singles and albums. I discovered the Lotus Eaters and Blancmange that way.

      Having computer playout systems for music certainly makes presenting easier but it's not as much fun as picking out something at random. God I sound old...

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    3. Must check that song out.

      One of the best things about our hospital station was digging through the record library and picking out random tracks. When I was there it still contained thousands of vinyl singles and albums. I discovered the Lotus Eaters and Blancmange that way.

      Having computer playout systems for music certainly makes presenting easier but it's not as much fun as picking out something at random. God I sound old...

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    4. There wasn't so much in the way of random stuff at the Hospital Radio station I presented on, but my student station had all sorts of random stuff dating back to around 1980 so my music tastes expanded vastly while I was there!

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  3. mercifully someone has managed to post the complete edition of this show on youtube, so for once i can do a proper review rather than a scrappy one composed mainly of memories. thanks to them, and also thanks to angelo for being ultra-reliable with these postings in what has been a rather frantic year that even i've found quite demanding at times!

    host: unlike many of the ringers in the audience, kid.. sorry david doesn't really seem to have made the effort for the occassion sartorially with his golfing jumper. and he stumbles over the bowie/bing intro. but at least he pronounces bowie's surname properly - slimey take note!

    maisonettes: city boy guy lol has finally made his way back to the studio after several years in the totp wilderness, but unfortunately his silly beard has as well. a year or so back it there was a lot of 50's revivalism going on despite it being the era of synth pop, and now what with mari wilson, the human league and this it seems harking back to the 60's is the new fad. not that i cared for either of them at the time

    incantation: perhaps appropriate that the panpipes popularity should start at this time of year, as it gives me the chance to mention that my father's only interest in collecting music was christmas-related shit that he would play non-stop throughout the entire month of december. and he had speakers set up in both the living and dining rooms, so short of barricading myself in my old bedroom whilst i was visiting there was no escape from it - perhaps a factor in why i stopped going back to my parents' house at christmas in the end? but even now i can imagine "panpipes at christmas" getting an airing each year! i originally thought that panpipes had quite an appealing sound, but once the bandwagon-jumping kicked in then like most i couldn't take them seriously any more (although i have quite a good "panpipes" version of the "blade runner love theme" in my collection!). they also look quite silly too - as if the players have got zz top-style beards! this lot have obviously have been nowhere near the andes in their life (where are the andes? at the end of the wristies! arf! arf!) despite their attempts to look like south american indians with long dark hair and facial fungus. that is apart from the ukulele player on the left, who with his floppy blond hair looks far more like a member of blue zoo or something!

    shakin's stevens: even though i tried avoiding this, i got a brief exposure to what seemed like an end-of-the-pier king impersonator going through his routine. pathetic

    imagination: even though kid.. sorry david puns on the title of their latest effort, somewhat ironically they're not going through any changes musically but simply giving us more of the same. having said that this is certainly one of their better efforts, but by this time they had long outstayed their welcome as the diminishing chart returns demonstrated. and not even errol's transformation from drummer to somewhat-lumbering backing dancer was going to reverse the decline. by the way, does anyone know what that number 7 display at the side of the stage was all about?

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  4. pt ii...

    abba: i thought they'd already split by this point, but apparently not so. not one i remember at all, but it starts off quite promisingly with a contemporary 80's dance feel to it (including computerised voice sounds that were becoming the vogue). and then it becomes just another abba pop song, and not a very good one at that. at least agnetha had finally straightened out her hair, although the headband (that she's nicked from incantation?) does her no favours. and i can't work out if frida's hair is dyed blonde or has gone grey. but whatever, she looks alarmingly old here

    keith harris/orville: kid.. sorry david's intro to this almost sounds like he's saying "'orrible song", which of course is most appropriate. i was a resident of bournemouth for several years, but despite a thriving local music scene that started in the 60's and is still likely going to some extent now very few people from there ever appeared on totp. sadly, keith harris is one that did. however much this makes the bile rise in one's throat (and however much you want to smash harris's face in with a lump hammer!), there's really no point in attacking it as it's just shooting fish (or ducks in this case) in a barrel. so better to just accept it for what it is i.e. novelty light entertainment. i had to laugh though when orville described himself as a clot!

    renee & renato: a few years back a friend used to sell CD's at car boots and suchlike, so i had a lot of pop music at my disposal and asked another friend what he'd like done for him on CD comps. he emailed me back with a list that actually included this - after which he put in brackets "i am being serious!"! ironically it was one of the few things he wanted that i couldn't get hold of a copy on CD, so in the end i think i had to borrow an old single from a local record shop and transfer it to digital format for him

    modern romance: the odd co-singer arrangement remains, but this time the pair don identical outfits in what looks like a bizarre tribute to "thunderbirds". so david jaymes has to keep jumping up and down to make sure the audience knows he's the one with the blonder and floppier hair!

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    1. of course what i should have put about the keith harris single is: when it comes to criticism, orville is a sitting duck!

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  5. What a relentless rollercoaster ride of shows over Xmas, and it looks like I'll be starting here and working backwards.

    I do like the Maisonettes tune now, as I did as a young 'un, and I'm sure I have it on 7" somewhere. It's always linked with the League's Mirror Man in my mind, and this run of ToTPs confirms that's in part due to them being in the charts around the same time...as well as the retro pop similarities.

    What a great atmosphere they had in the studio for this episode, and what a shame there's not really another decent tune of note, the Christmas silly season really was upon us in Dec 1982. Such a shame after the recent run of stunning pop hits....but that's ok as I can work back through those now :)

    My sister bought that dreadful single from the duck who was full of self-loathing, what a dreadful schmaltzy waste of the talent Mr Harris obviously had....and she also had a collection of Shakey singles that included this rather pointless Xmas number, but more on that later. Bless her, she may have only been 9 but she didn't have great music taste at the time!

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    1. Oh and it's not just goodbye to 1982 but also to Abba? Truly the end of an era. How did Agnetha NOT go on to be a huge solo star after the break-up? She's truly on top form, in every sense, at this stage....

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  6. I’ve watched out of sequence as I was able to get some TV time, so could view on BBC4 there in peace. Yes, another enjoyable edition this was from a stuttering in places ‘DJ’ DJ.

    Maisonettes – Heartache Avenue – A real turn up for the books this one! Fantastic retro 60s sound that I probably gave short shrift at the time but now can fully appreciate. The picture sleeve is a master stroke too with its pseudo 60s back sleeve notes, EMItex advert and, er, eye catching front sleeve that doesn’t show the lead singer as the main focus!

    David Bowie & Bing Crosby – Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy – Yes I have seen this umpteen times on Christmas TOTP2 editions (though not this year) but it still excites. It was such an unlikely combination and for me its David’s exquisite singing on the counterpoint medley that shines out. Bing looks slightly bewildered throughout.

    Incantation – Cacharpaya – Pan Pipes were big business around this time with the similar sounding ‘Flight of the Condor’ TV Series music getting much play. Zoo are ideally utilised on this.

    Shakin’ Stevens – Blue Christmas – Who bought ‘Now the Christmas Album’ when it was first released in 1985? This track was on it (and the ultra-rare ‘The Christmas Compact Disc’ which followed). You don’t see or hear much of it now as ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ completely overshadowed it in the ‘Shaky Christmas’ stakes, so it’s a welcome change to see him perform it here.

    Imagination – Changes – No change to the formula, nor the dress code. Enjoyed seeing Leee on ‘Pop Quiz’ the other night.

    Abba – Under Attack – Don’t recall seeing this performance before, but I must have done as this edition of ToTP is definitely familiar. It’s really not one of their memorable singles at all and a sad way to bow out of a legendary run of timeless hits. In contrast, shame we didn’t get to see ‘The Day before you came’ in October as that is definitely one of their single highlights for me, and also (seemingly) for Blancmange shortly afterwards….

    Keith Harris & Orville – Orville’s Song – Thank goodness for FF. One of the worst records of 1982!

    Renee & Renato – Save your love – Novelty value and ‘what can I buy Mum for Christmas’ surely propelled this to the top? Renee is so chuffed in his Santa outfit afterwards that he grants us an insightful interview.

    Modern Romance – Best Years of our lives – I can’t get enough of this wonderful, party, feel-good hit. It’s just great to see the band once more belting this out amidst all the balloons and streamers. One of the singers is so excited he just can’t stop bouncing! Is it just me or was this a slight different mix?

    PS. Over the pond, the US were having none of 'Renee and Renato', and instead were treated to a wonderful festive no1 c/o Hall & Oates with the excellent 'Maneater'.

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    1. It is Renato, and not Renee, in the Santa outfit in the interview with David Jensen.

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    2. Indeed yes....thanks for the correction!!

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  7. For the second year running, Kid takes capable charge for the last regular show before Christmas, and the last regular show in a long while that would have just one host. The party atmosphere on this occasion does seem genuine rather than contrived, and it was an enjoyable 30 minutes, despite the variable quality of the music on offer.

    I thought I recognised The Maisonettes' lead singer, but couldn't place him until Angelo reminded me that he was in City Boy. He still looks as irritating here as he did with his former band, but the song itself is a decent if unremarkable bit of retro-pop. I agree with Dory that the best thing about this is the 60s-styled backing singers. Incantation look as if they have travelled forward in time from 1975. A jaunty enough tune, but it's no El Condor Pasa, that's for sure - the best thing about this was the 360 degree pan around the studio, with the audience all looking as if they were having a genuinely good time.

    Shaky is stuck up on a balcony for this performance, until he rather awkwardly walks down the steps during the instrumental break and finally gets the opportunity to show off his King-like pelvic moves. Imagination abandon their instruments and go full-on boy band for this latest effort, with Leee donning some festive tinsel for the occasion. Their dancing actually looked pretty coordinated to my untutored eye, and the song was fine, though they are continuing to stick rigidly to their patented sound.

    This ABBA performance may well have come from The Late Late Breakfast Show, as they had featured on it two weeks earlier, in what was their last ever joint TV appearance. It's a shame this was their final original single, as frankly it sounds very lacklustre, and as if it is trying too hard to be contemporary. However, it is naturally still miles better than the song that follows, which would probably make one's teeth rot away from its sugary sweetness if heard too often. Keith Harris and Orville were a TV fixture of my childhood, though I can't say that I was a fan even then. Apparently Keith earned a crust in later years by doing an "adult" show with Orville and his other dummies for students keen to relive their childhoods. I never saw that show myself, but I guess it might have had some grim amusement value!

    Following a brief chat with Santa Renato, Modern Romance provide a suitable party-time playout, though the costumes worn by the two singers are rather baffling. Incidentally, well done Angelo for spotting Peter Duncan and Simon Groom in the audience - it is definitely them, but where was future Mrs Mike Smith Sarah Greene?



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    1. One other thing I forgot to mention - I wonder who the mischievous person was who added the comedy sound effect when Renato threw the rose up to "Renee"...

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  8. I thought that Maisonettes song was great at the time, and still like its cheeky update of Elvis's Heartbreak Hotel a lot. Two great hooks, farty synth, harmonious backing vocals, Wolfman Jack down the front, what's not to like?

    Glossing over Der Bingle and Dame Dave, we have Incantation, another favourite of mine at the time, it's not a bad little tune if not exactly a varied melody. They try to hide that by speeding it up gradually, so that by the end the audience and Zoo are whipped up into a veritable frenzy.

    Shakin' Stevens allowing the fake snow to fall on him this time (or was there a hole in the roof?), but he's at a loss for what to do in the instrumental break.

    Stripped to the waist and ready for action, it's The Chippendales - no, it's Imagination, at long last admitting they can't be arsed miming playing their instruments. They had been ploughing the same furrow for too long by this point, and sabotaged their chart career in the process. Slightly disappointed to see Leee eschew the sequins for his appearance on the Pop Quiz revival, although I suppose I should be glad Mike Read allowed him on the show at all (and that there were no dodgy calypsos).

    Even lesser ABBA has a nice tune to it, but it was clear they were running out of steam by then. Was Anni-Frid's hair grey or purple? That audience was riotously jubilant to see them.

    Phew, rock 'n' roll! Keith Harris with a song so saccharine that it's almost a joke in itself. One of Orville's first TV appearances was on The Good Old Days repeats recently, it was weird to see Harris have to introduce his puppet now it seems so much like part of the light entertainment furniture. Bring on Cuddles!

    I noticed the added sound effect in Renee and Renato's song too! Had Kenny Everett's spoof been on yet? More importantly, was anyone buying this unironically because they thought it was a beautiful tune beautifully sung?!

    Modern Romance in retro 60s outfits to end on, which is where we came in. Had to go out on a party banger after R&R, I suppose...

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  9. Haven't seen this one, obviously, but there's an obscure connection between the first two numbers. Back in the days when I used to listen to Radio 2 (which would be about 10-20 years ago) I recall Ken Bruce pointing out the clattering noises at the very beginning of 'Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy', saying that it was because the song was recorded in a TV studio. The record is literally the video soundtrack with nothing added or taken away. Meanwhile, 'Heartache Avenue' was, I seem to remember hearing, recorded in an old TV studio in order to get that huge reverberant sound.

    And another thing... 'Save Your Love' was the 42nd and sequentially final No.1 featuring Clem Cattini on drums. He would go on to have one more chart topper in 2005 with '(Is This The Way To) Amarillo' which was of course recorded back in 1971.

    http://www.coda-uk.co.uk/clem_cattini.htm

    Happy New Year to one and all!

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    1. i looked him up and to my surprise clem cattini is not only still around, but still active too. so he could still have another number one hit!

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  10. Another decent bit of Kidology, apart from that pesky hitsound countdown, which included some graffiti for “The Madness”.

    Superb retro from the Maisonettes with monochrome outfits and a single released on the Ready Steady Go label. That’s the brother of Adam Chance from “Crossroads” on vocals. Where was the keyboard player, though? Those gals were always thrown way front stage in the band’s promo pics.

    Great panpipes and bodhran combo by one of Incantation. Eat that, Phil Collins!

    Here’s another blue (peter) costume by Shaky, originally mentioned in the wrong thread earlier tonight. Sorry!

    Imagination are seeing changes all right – in the peak positons of their singles which are getting worse with each release, as indeed is the retread of the same formula, albeit faster for this single . A group workout which shows Errol’s place in the group – neither a drumkit nor a shirt for him this time.

    How sad, how very sad. A vocorised ‘will this do?’ from Abba around the time of that gut-wrenching interview with Noel Edmonds. The end of an era. Please don’t remember them this way.

    Here comes Keith Harris with “Awful song” as Kid almost pronounced it. Orville could fly – if I threw him / it out the window!

    And we finish with this year’s blog’s theme tune. Huge thanks to Angelo and everyone concerned. Three shows watched and critiqued in the last 90 minutes of 2016. Happy 2017 to you all!

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    1. i watched "crossroads" regularly for a while in the late 70's, so of course well remember the character adam chance (who was david hunter's friend and also rival in the suaveness stakes). but arthur according to wiki the maisonettes guy's brother was another crossroads actor who appeared at that time as a character called richard lord - his tenure was much briefer, so i have no memory of him whatsoever. talking of "crossroads", i'm rather shocked to learn that every surviving episode has now been released on a 41-disc DVD set - imagine how long it would take to watch them all!

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    2. Oops! I knew The Maisonette's lead singer's brother appeared in "Crossroads" so at least I got the right programme.

      I forgot to mention, "Save Your Love" is an unusual song, as the verse and chorus have exactly the same tune and format, and the verses are sung by one person and the choruses by another.

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    3. A 41-disc DVD set of Crossroads sounds like a Christmas gift you would only give to your worst enemy..

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    4. I watched a clip of a Crossroads New Years Eve episode a while back to see if it was really as bad as it was made out to be. It was. The opening shot was of a comedy chef chopping up some offal. I assume he was a comedy chef, and also that the offal wasn't a subversive comment on the quality of the script.

      The best thing about Crossroads was the end credits flying across the screen in different directions. Well, it seemed exciting when you were 8 years old...

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    5. I watched a clip of a Crossroads New Years Eve episode a while back to see if it was really as bad as it was made out to be. It was. The opening shot was of a comedy chef chopping up some offal. I assume he was a comedy chef, and also that the offal wasn't a subversive comment on the quality of the script.

      The best thing about Crossroads was the end credits flying across the screen in different directions. Well, it seemed exciting when you were 8 years old...

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    7. it must have been fan favourite huey mcphee! if that escapes anyone, then you might know the actor in question as the crazed POW that tries to scale the wire and gets gunned down in "the great escape"

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    8. The Crossroads DVD releases got further than the reruns via Big Centre TV.

      The last episode transmitted by them featured Glenda Brownlow being picked up by a lorry driver!

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    9. steve now you mention it i vaguely remember the credits coming from different directions, as seen here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENYgSn_kLe0

      what i definitely remember was when macca decided to rehash the original theme tune (composed by tony hatch), which the producers then chose to use. initially i think as a replacement, but due to mixed reaction by viewers it was then limited to episodes that had particularly sad endings. personally i thought his version was as dire as his attempt at writing a bond theme!

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    10. The chef was actually called Shughie McPhee. Actor Angus Lennie died a couple of years ago; among his many credits he put in a couple of memorable turns in Doctor Who, being killed by Ice Warriors and Zygons respectively.

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    11. I must admit that I own Macca's version of the Crossroad's theme as it's the last track on 'Venus & Mars.' It make sense in the context of the album as it follows a track called 'Lonely Old People' - but as a standalone track it is pretty poor. (Not as bad as most of his 'Press To Play' album, but pretty close).

      There's a chapter about Crossroads in Phil Norman's excellent book 'History Of TV In 100 Programmes' which details some of the other opening shots in Crossroads, which included lingering shots of a half eaten cucumber sandwich and a telephone.

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    12. thanks john, but according to IMDB we're both wrong... although you're less wrong than i was, as his name was shughie mcfee!

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    13. That will teach me for obsessing over the first name and not paying attention to the spelling of the surname! I wonder if THX can enlighten us as to whether "Shughie" is a genuine Scots name, or if the scriptwriters just made it up?

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    14. I've never met anyone called Shughie, but it's the sort of stereotypical Scots name that you used to get in TV shows (or comics). Seems to be out of vogue to do that now, aside from the culturally tone deaf (like American stuff).

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    15. I did a quick Google of the name, and Mr McFee is the only Shughie who appears!

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    16. Yeah, it's a lot like calling a Scottish character Hootsman Ochayethenoo.

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  11. You got the feeling Abba really weren't into this single. The sleeve has arguably the worst group photo anyone could have ever taken - the looks on their faces speak volumes - and the promo video was shot in a deserted warehouse, with over 20 seconds near the end given over to the group simply walking out of the warehouse and out of view.

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  12. In Robert Scott's excellent 'Story behind every Song' he notes that Abba "knew that the jig was up by the time of this single..they performed the song live (really?) by Satellite for Noel Edmonds LLBS. It was the last time that the four ever made music together in public".

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    1. I always felt with Abba that they were more interested in making videos than performing in TV studios once they made it big. Performing for TV shows meant travel and hard work, whereas if you could put out good videos and reap the financial rewards for them, then why get made up and kitted out for miming on TV shows or performing live? Abba certainly were one of those types.

      ELO ere another example between 1976-1983. When they regrouped for their final album in 1986 they returned to TV Shows like Terry Wogan (with stand-in presenter Kenneth Williams), but I guess they needed the money again by then.

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  13. A few bits and pieces...

    I loved the Maisonettes single at the time, and I still like it now. Is this the last hurrah of the 50s revival that has been a feature of the rerun TOTPs, or is there still more to come?

    Cudos to Keith Harris for carrying off the tricky feat of miming throwing your voice – I couldn't spot any moments where his mouth was open when it was supposed to be closed. A true pro.

    I remember that my friend Andy and I thought it would be hilarious to programme 'Orville's Song' 10 times in a row on the jukebox in the college bar and then leave the occupants to suffer. I know, a bit pathetic. But as I recall, it didn't work, for some reason. Another song came on after the first play, and we couldn't be bothered to hang around to see if the other nine plays occurred.

    I can't hear 'Cacharpaya' without seeing that recurring sketch on 'The Fast Show'. The original is almost as laughable, though.

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    1. i couldn't help but laugh at your juvenile jukebox japes - probably the same kind of thing i would have done myself in my youth, although i might have alternated it with renee and renato. of course one has to ask why that particular record was on a college bar jukebox in the first place, as it would hardly have been the meeting place of the keith harris and orville appreciation society. also what you didn't realise was you were ahead of your time in that there are now club nights where people actually pay to have shite like that inflicted upon them! i did once read a story that pub landlords would take to deliberately playing the b-side of napoleon XIV's "they're coming to take me away ha ha!" (which is the same recording backwards) on the pub jukebox in order to clear out the punters after closing time!

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    2. I think the 50s revival was largely over by this point, though of course Shaky would continue bothering the charts for several more years, and Billy Joel's Innocent Man album in '83 would be a homage to that era. Chris Isaak would emerge in the mid-80s with his more sophisticated take on the early rock 'n' roll sound, though it would take him a good few years to make any impression on our charts.

      I have a theory that nostalgia tends to kick in after 20 years or so. Hence the 70s obsession with the 50s, and the growing infatuation with the 60s we are seeing on the most recent repeats. I remember in the 90s that the 70s seemed to be everywhere, and these days its the 90s themselves that are increasingly becoming an object of retro-fascination, making me feel increasingly old...

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    3. The 80s seem to be hanging around, mind you.

      As for deliberately listening to terrible music, I am the owner of the compilation Cheggers' Choice which I can't say I spin very often, but is notable for featuring a largely vocal version of Samantha Fox's Touch Me, as if even that CD couldn't bear to inflict her singing on the buyer.

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    4. A belated reply to Wilberforce: it does seem odd that Keith Harris and Orville were on our college jukebox, in retrospect.

      I wonder if the deal was that the company that kept it stocked automatically loaded the top 20 singles of the day, or something like that.

      Has anyone got any experience of managing a jukebox? It's not something I've ever thought about before, but it's sort of like passive DJ-ing, isn't it?

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    5. what seems obvious folly in retrospect was that normal pressings of singles were on jukeboxes back then, complete with b-sides that would probably have hardly been played. of course the americans were decades in front of us, in that they produced 7" discs for their jukeboxes that didn't just have a hit by the artist on either side, but two or three!

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  14. I remember being taken out on a clients’ lunch to a Chinese restaurant on its opening day in February 1994, and the CD player got stuck such that we were subjected for the full two hours to the instrumental version of the theme to “EastEnders”! No idea why they didn’t at least turn the sound off!

    There’s a pub up a hillside five miles from me where the landlord used to clear the pub at closing time by opening all the doors to make it freezing inside and play a CD of military drumming for extra effect.

    I loved TimT’s mention of the Andean group on “The Fast Show”. The same thought came to my mind when I saw Incantation on TOTP, but didn’t mention it as I didn’t think anyone else would remember it!

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  15. Watching the Christmas chart edition on January 4th? Oh, go on then.

    The Maisonettes - Loved this at the time, then it went through a phase of being played on Commercial Radio a lot and got bored of it, now I like it again.

    Incantation - From that South American hotspot of...er...London. As someone else said, you didn't hear pan pipes much at the time so this was a genuine novelty and I thought it was brilliant. I still like it now, actually.

    Imagination - The decent tunes have tried up so now we're down to the dregs sadly...

    ABBA - I can't be bothered to check, but I'm pretty sure that this video (and associated Tidybeard chat) turned up on the ABBA at the BBC compilation that BBC4 did a while back. I like pretty much all of ABBA's singles but I admit that this is one of the lesser examples. I don't mind the video though - surely them walking away backs to the camera with the light flashing is their 'goodbye to all of this' moment?

    Keith Harris & Orville - Being generous, you could argue that this is a brilliant self-help parable, and you do get lots of 'improve your self-esteem' stuff at this time of year. Of course it is a ridiculously saccharine song as well. I always quite liked Orville mind.

    Incidentally, I think I was in my 2nd or 3rd year at Uni when Keith Harris did his 'adult act' with Orville so I didn't see it but a mate of mine did buy the remix of the song which was credited to DWA (Ducks With Attitude) (!)

    Modern Romance - That's definitely a 'Christmas' mix of the song as I remember Tommy Vance playing it on the Top 40. He also played the 12" version of 'Our House' on the same show (the one with the intros of all their previous songs segued together at the beginning, it's brilliant)

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  16. I have to say, I didn't know Bobby Crush wrote "Orville's Song". I just looked up Bobby Crush's real name on Wikipedia - it's Robert Crush!

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