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Top of the Pops

1990 on BBC Four

DE
deejay Oxford
Often wondered what the point of it was. I queried it myself donkeys years ago when BBC Prime used to show vintage TotP editions and I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to have come off it. A senior colleague in presentation who had been a BBC 1 network director back in the day explained that the concept of “the totp playout” was so that pres could come off it whenever they liked in order to get to the Nine o’clock News on time. Possibly a fanciful story, and I’m not sure programme production teams ever worked with pres in such a cooperative manner! But it could have been a happy coincidence that totp always gave the audience something to dance along to at the end for a bit of fun and pres knew they could linger on it as long as necessary in order to help that evenings timings.
Two minutes regions...
Interceptor and Larry the Loafer gave kudos
BC
Blake Connolly Founding member London London
I heard the same thing from someone who was in Pres at the time, though they were talking about the end of the Christmas Day episode having the long hold so they could hit the Queen's speech at exactly 3 o'clock.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
The playout stops after the 1991 revamp, after that every show has a definitive ending, on a caption with the TOTP logo, producer credit and copyright date.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Rather stupidly they cut a bit out of last night's show, where Richard Skinner's mic didn't work for a few seconds after the Dire Straits video. But they left in Richard & Simon joking about it in the next link. Not sure why they felt they had to cut that bit out really.

I hope they don't cut out the infamous Martha's Harbour performance if we get to 1988.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Often wondered what the point of it was. I queried it myself donkeys years ago when BBC Prime used to show vintage TotP editions and I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to have come off it. A senior colleague in presentation who had been a BBC 1 network director back in the day explained that the concept of “the totp playout” was so that pres could come off it whenever they liked in order to get to the Nine o’clock News on time. Possibly a fanciful story, and I’m not sure programme production teams ever worked with pres in such a cooperative manner! But it could have been a happy coincidence that totp always gave the audience something to dance along to at the end for a bit of fun and pres knew they could linger on it as long as necessary in order to help that evenings timings.


I’m pretty sure I remember the TOTP endings going ‘free range’ in the 80s as a way of padding time out.

As far as editing out comments ‘of the era’ a couple of years ago ITV repeated a Bruce Forsyth and Sammy Davis Junior show. It was full of what are today seen as inappropriate comments ( from both performers). There was a simple and straightforward warning during the CA announcement. I didn’t sence any editing had been applied
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
DJ
Dai Jestive Wales Wales Today
For your pop pickin' pleasure, here's the chart for tonight's cavalcade of potential calamity from 15th August 1985, presented by Poptastic Pete & Peachy Dix

http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/singles-chart/19850811/7501/

Particular attention should be paid to one new entry in the lower bowel of the chart (#96), where there's a surprisingly decent effort by none other than Mike Smith, who shouts a lot in a Medley four Years too late.

By the sound of this 'chicken in a basket' compilation, Smitty was a big fan of the Dave Clark Five Wink



"Join in the fun while the BBC makes a hash (tag) of TOTP"
Last edited by Dai Jestive on 5 April 2018 3:23pm - 16 times in total
"Greetings pop pickers...here's the one that's called "Cast Your Wind to the Fates" - Alan "Fluff" Freeman
RT
Rich Tea Anglia (West) Look East
Top Of The Pops of Thursday 15th August 1985 shown tonight and it was a double top for Madonna and the remarkable Royal coincidence of King, Prince and Princess in the very same chart together. Just a shame that Queen didn't release top ten hit One Vision three months sooner than November '85 to complete the full regal set.

Some of the better big hits from the current period haven't been seen in their entirety which is a shame, such as the fab White Wedding by Billy Idol and We Don't Need Another Hero by Tina Turner. Yet we had to endure multiple performances of My Toot Toot - incidentally Denise La Salle passed away just a few weeks ago in January.

I'm not a fan of this Chart Breakers segment on these 1985 editions. I'd rather just a full track was played or performed. The choice of the three chart breakers always seems somewhat arbitrary to me. When you add the full video Top 10 clips it just adds far too much pick'n'mix in such a historically speaking shortened show that isn't even half hour of transmission time. These run to just 29 minutes now.

We got Kate Bush in the breakers segment and then within seconds she's played again in the Top 10. Just daft production choices.

Looking at some of the hits played and King seemed to fizzle out almost as soon as they arrived. Alone Without You was okay but nothing special. One of their guitarists in the orange top looked like a member of Doctor & The Medics. At the time I never realised that the 80's were quite so poor taste in appearance as the 70's had been, but in a different way. Oh how the 1970's were mocked at the time too.

Someone should have told Peter Powell and other TOTP presenters that their microphones were not ice creams hovering near their lips awaiting a lick. Always holding them in or near their mouths so needlessly.

I Got You Babe by UB40 & Chrissie Hynde hit No1 in August 1985 exactly 20 years virtually to the week since the original Sonny & Cher had done so. I found it a bit pedestrian at the time. UB40 had well and truly blanded out compared to their earlier 80's output. After 1981's One In Ten I would have thought they could have had plenty of continued social comment in their hit music even in 1985, although 1985 did suddenly seem a world away from 1981.

Phil Collins in the studio doing Take Me Home at this point in 1985 was a big deal. It's fair to say that by mid '85 he was probably the biggest solo artist, certainly British artist, in the world, topping both the UK and US chart multiple times and even at the very same time but with different singles. Take Me Home seems to be one of his more forgotten hit records but I enjoyed hearing it again and always appreciated people of his calibre actually showing up in studio during an increasingly video littered era. On this appearance the single had surprisingly stalled as a non mover at No28 and so his appearance was probably an effort to give it a second wind, which it seemed to do as it rose to 19 the next week but that was the peak.

The big question is why Phil couldn't seem to get suits that fitted him nicely. Is it just me or did his suit look too big for him? At least he didn't have the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. How did that naff 80's trait get going? Answers on a postcard or sealed down envelope to W12 8QT.

The Total Contrast dance single Takes A Little Time was just dreadful. Symptomatic of those tinny later 80's production values to come by the bucketload.

The video they played for The Cars, Drive during the Top 10 countdown was the original one from the release a year beforehand in autumn 1984, yet I always thought when Drive came back in the summer of 1985 due to being played at Live Aid with the emotive Africa imagery that they used this instead.

It's curious to me that I have no memory of Dixie Peach presenting TOTP during 1985 whatsoever, yet there is no doubt I must have watched all these shows as it was appointment to watch TV each Thursday. I had no recollection of Pat Sharp from the 1983 editions either.

They said that Madonna was the fastest selling since Band Aid, which wasn't saying much since it was only 8 months earlier, but record sales were about to go into sudden decline after the Jennifer Rush million seller The Power Of Love later in the year. Not another million seller until that infamous 16 weeker in 1991 I believe.

I expected to enjoy these 1985 shows a bit more than I am doing but seeing them again is diminishing my memories a touch and knocking my rose tinted glasses aside. The substance of the music, the genuine classic nature of a lot of hits and the production values have diminished.

I love the music of Sister Sledge. Thinking Of You, their big hit from the previous summer in 1984 (although recorded in '79) is just perfect. But how the heck did they manage a full month at No1 during the early summer with the feeble Frankie? Even worse still is how that track could possibly have been produced by Nile Rodgers! Clearly one of those dreadful "earworms".
Last edited by Rich Tea on 6 April 2018 3:45am - 2 times in total
DJ
Dai Jestive Wales Wales Today
Worse than finding Novochok on your door handle, here's an agent that'll definitely get on your nerves...

The Countdown Capers
15th August 1985 (Poptastic Pete & Peachy Dix)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09xzvbs/top-of-the-pops-15081985

Wearing the 80's fashion of a suit jacket that looks like the coathanger's been left in whilst also wearing an expression that looks like he left an upwardly pointing coathanger in his trousers, one of our purveyors of pop for this Pops experience is Dixie Peach.

Riding shotgun is a rather chirpier Poptastic Pete, who looks a lot more relaxed with this Peachy pairing, no doubt relieved to have shaken off the annoying presence of the smugtastic 'bloke who fixed our boiler' (for the uninitiated, Mike Smith).

The high presentation standards previously seen in earlier Pops' Years seem by 1985 to have dramatically diminished, despite the obvious technological advances taking place. All the 'bells & whistles' seem to still be there, including the pulsing strobe lights which were rumoured (but only by me Rolling Eyes ) to be the product of Herr Hurll forcing a coach load of pensioners to flash high intensity torches on & off behind a screen in rapid succession.

But there just seems to be something missing in the latest incarnation.

I don't think it helped Pops matters with the '85 advent of EastEnders & the format of the show being reduced to half an hour. It seems such a laborious process wading through a truncated set of the Top 10 videos, together with some of the music being quite forgettable, especially during these Summer Months.

Mainly though, there seems to be way too much music being attempted to be crammed in to half an hour for the show to be effective, in marked contrast to previous Years where the programme displayed songs more fully and was a better reflection of the charts as a shop window for the music industry.

In this Pops Year so far, the format of the programme seems like the Pops shop window's been put through to make way for some soapy Saaaarf Laaaanderners.

It's strange how your mind plays tricks with you, as I also find myself (like the Teameister above) being disappointed with the standard of both the music & the shows, and asking myself....

Was it really this bad?

The whole show looked like it needed a shot in the arm (or a kick up the arse-take your pick!).

Hurll's recent flight of fancy (the infamous public 'vote' at the start of the Year for 'more hits', with the vote probably overseen by Robert Mugabe's returning officer) has been an epic fail & at this point the Pops seemed to just be treading water & dining out on past glories.

Anyway, I don't like to moan (!), so without further ado let's see what awaits us in our Weekly pick 'n' mix but let's hope we don't get many green fruit pastilles, as we begin with...

#40- Juan King Prawn- Subtitlers RSI

Poptastic gives the diner a resume of tonight's menu, and by the sounds of the fayre on offer it's going to be a gristly platter, full of processed junk you wouldn't feed to a stray cat for risk of being reported to the RSPCA, but I digress.

Anyway, "for starters", it's King Prawn (with plenty of Mullet) but by the looks of the routine, this King Prawn's already past it's sell-by date.

On occasion, the quality of a song can be determined by how many crowd-pleasing distractions can be shoehorned into it to try & make it better than it actually is. For me, this is one such example which on first impression sounds like a reasonable track, setting it's stall out early with a good ol' 'Na na na na na, na na na na na na na' . I like a good 'na na na' , but I also like a 'yeah yeah yeah' .

A 'scooby doo be do' must be my all-time favourite though, especially at the end where they unmask the villainous caretaker.

*

"Zoiks! It's the King Prawn!"

It's a decent guitar intro into the first verse & chorus which also promises much, but then you realise "Alone Without You" fills 4 minutes with a repeat of what went directly before, with an incessant reliance on the ' Na na na's ' to drive the song down a repetitive cul-de-sac, like trying to find a particular address in Milton Keynes.

Paul King's exaggerated expression avec amateur dramatics, leaping about like Timothy Claypole with itching powder round his 'nether regions' doesn't help the credibility of the King Prawn either, causing this pop picker to wish he'd Nadia Popov & take his mullet with him.

But apart from all that, musically it's not unlikeable & I'd give it a semi-reluctant thumbs aloft.

*

"Gadzooks! Jazz hands!"


#3 - P45 with Crusty Behind - Piles Got You, Babe

Some cover versions add to the original, or are so different in structure they immediately grab the listener for the duration & make you wonder why such an idea wasn't thought of before.

The Pet Shop Boys "Always on My Mind" being one example.

Unfortunately, when it comes to this version of the Sonny & Cher favourite, for me all the feeling and nuance which made the original so charming is like many cover version cash-in's, stripped of any emotion, sanitised and re-heated for mass consumption, a bit like Boyzone & Westlife for the 1980's.

After watching the video, it did initially seem UB40 had managed to succeed in frightening off all the paying stadium punters by performing this live, reflected in what looks like the sweeper-upper doing a jig but as it 'appens it seems it was just a sound check being filmed and the crowd were admitted later (unless they were airbrushed in!). The unfortunate effect, however, of this live version is it only succeeds in making the track sound even limper and more leaden than the final single mix.

I wouldn't say UB40 & Chrissie's version is necessarily bad, it's just workmanlike and so obviously 'radio friendly' to be aural magnolia, therefore inevitably in the safe World of radio (both then and now), still overplayed, and to be honest it's a bit of a relief when we reach 'the clap' in the hope something more exciting will follow.

On the plus side, the video is a nice opportunity for all 748 members of UB40 to get a cameo at the end during the "I Got You Babe" refrain, extending the track by a further 28 hours.... Razz

Altogether now...



#28- Phil Colons - Send Him Home

Obviously not heeding his own statement on the " No Jacket Required " dress code (which oddly is still yet to be ratified under the terms of the Geneva convention), Phil Collins takes a journey home via TV Centre to perform this rumbling (and some would say rambling) track, pleading with a Pops audience to be taken home but without passing go or collecting £200.

He didn't mention which home as you'd think he's be absolutely minted by now, but by the looks of him on this Pops performance he could do with a bob or two to spend on some new clobber, as the stuff he's been wearing appears to have been residing in a landfill site for the past few Months, such is the state of the ironing.

Just as well he won't be appearing live on TV in front of millions then isn't it?

Poor Phil looks like he's been kipping on a park bench & hasn't got a paint pot to piss in, & rumours the photoshoot for "No Jacket Required" were mugshots taken under a heat lamp in a West London nick following a wrongful arrest for vagrancy were always strenuously denied.

*

"Got 10p for a cuppa tea, guv?...."

An expectant and respectful audience try their best to get 'Into the Groove' of Phil's track, despite not figuring out quite where the groove was located even if they wanted to get into it. Phil seems to know roughly where the groove is which is the main thing, even though in sharp contrast to King Prawn the 'dancing' seems to be borne out of a bout of the cramp, as his propensity for wiggling his hands about like a limbering boxer must mean he's hopeful the premeditated movements will help him relieve himself.

Of the cramp.

Can't someone at the Beeb give him a Nurofen, and so far on the calibre of tonight's turns give me one while you're at it! Laughing

I jest, as I think "Take Me Home" is one highlight from a pretty solid album, which despite the rather sanitised 80s Padgham production & obvious mainstream appeal still has much to recommend it (sans the stuttering opener).

This track for example, which rocks...



The story goes "No Jacket Required" was so named after an incident at a Chicago restaurant where Phil was denied admittance (with Robert Plant no less), as he didn't meet the restaurant's dress code of "jacket required" for dinner while Plant was allowed in. Apparently an argument ensued as Collins was wearing a jacket, but the maître d' insisted the jacket was not "proper".

I don't blame the hapless authoritarian either.

If Phil had turned up in the "Worzel Gummidge at C&A" number he wore on the Pops I'd be worried he'd start attracting flies. Not good for a restaurant's reputation is that.

It's unknown if during the argument Phil uttered the "Do you know who I am?" phrase at the door, but apparently after the incident the restaurant management were named & shamed by Phil so much on TV (like a cross between Watchdog & early Trip Advisor), they later sent Phil a complimentary jacket (his 2nd!) and an apology letter, stating that he could come to the restaurant wearing whatever he wanted.

I'd go for this natty number myself & hope it didn't start pissing down...

*

To be continued....
Last edited by Dai Jestive on 8 April 2018 4:59pm - 30 times in total
"Greetings pop pickers...here's the one that's called "Cast Your Wind to the Fates" - Alan "Fluff" Freeman
LL
Lottie Long-Legs West Country (West) Spotlight
Someone should have told Peter Powell and other TOTP presenters that their microphones were not ice creams hovering near their lips awaiting a lick. Always holding them in or near their mouths so needlessly.


The right thing to do, though, because if you start waving a microphone around needlessly, you’ll invariably cause feedback.
NG
noggin Founding member
Someone should have told Peter Powell and other TOTP presenters that their microphones were not ice creams hovering near their lips awaiting a lick. Always holding them in or near their mouths so needlessly.


The right thing to do, though, because if you start waving a microphone around needlessly, you’ll invariably cause feedback.


Precisely. When you are in a noisy studio with a very loud PA (with your mic on it), proximity is key.
sbahnhof 7 and UKnews gave kudos
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Looks like they brought back the HD upscaling on the iPlayer for last night's edition, so we can get 50fps playback on the web again.
Dai Jestive and rdobbie gave kudos
DJ
Dai Jestive Wales Wales Today
Looks like they brought back the HD upscaling on the iPlayer for last night's edition, so we can get 50fps playback on the web again.


I'd noticed that too James, and very welcome it is too as the iPlayer viewer can once again see what everyone's up to through Herr Hurll's deliberately initiated fog of the Pops.
"Greetings pop pickers...here's the one that's called "Cast Your Wind to the Fates" - Alan "Fluff" Freeman

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