The kids presenters thing was a strange experiment really. It didn't last long though, apart from Anthea Turner who managed to hang on until the 1991 revamp.
Andy Crane said, in his interview on Offthetelly, that Paul Ciani came up to him in the bar and said "You’ve got a very powerful audience of young people, you could bring them to my show". Of course, he was always promoted as the first person not from Radio 1 to present it, which is clearly wrong - we saw that one the other week when the acts themselves did it, plus Mike Smith did it for two years while he wasn't on Radio 1, and of course it started three and a half years before Radio 1 was on air.
I think the introduction of all the new presenters in 1988 was quite a lot to do with them needing more women on it - they even used GMR's Susie Mathis for two shows. Funnily enough I remember the Top of the Pops sticker album in 1990 had Pip Schofield as sticker number one, but despite being on Radio 1 at the time, he never did it.
Probably has a lot to do with having a producer who was pushing 60, not really the best choice for a "trendy yoof" show. The "no miming" rule was hardly a success either. Apparently it partly done through his desire to "kill off" dance music- even though it's what the show's target audience was buying.
I have images of him sitting there moaning about how today's music was all a noise and how things were so much better in his day, while booking Paul McCartney and Barry Manilow to play in front of an audience of teenagers, while sulking about The Shamen and the Utah Saints being terrible (and forcing them to perform their samples "live").
It seems bizarre now that someone like Stanley Appel would be producing Top of the Pops in 1991 when he was in his sixties, but a lot of that was based on how the light entertainment department worked in those days, which would be very much along military lines, so you would have to work your way up from floor assistant and so all the producers would be fairly veteran figures. Will Wyatt said that they lose quite a lot of talent in those days because researchers would come up with great ideas but were told they couldn't produce them because they hadn't put in the required hours and so they would go to other companies. By the time Ric Blaxill arrived that policy was no longer in place.
The no miming rule was ridiculous, it's not a competition. It's up to the artists what their records sound like, because they made them.
I do wonder how the 1991 revamp might have gone if Paul Ciani hadn't fallen ill and ultimately died? Considering the amount of planning that must have gone into the revamp and the move to Elstree, I presume it would have been well underway before Stan Appel took over (and presumably made changes).
I did read that apparently the set at Elstree had to be changed at the last minute to fit in with the technical requirements of live vocals, which was apparently a decision made very late in the day. I can almost exactly pinpoint the first I heard about the revamp based on the episode guide on Popscene - it would have been the beginning of June 1991, because I remember reading in the Sunday papers that they were going to change it to include records that weren't in the chart, and then that same week, in the episode of 6th June, they had Northside and Marillion at number 41 and 42 respectively, and I assumed the new policy had already been introduced. Of course, that wasn't the case, it was just they were so short of live acts that week they had to go outside the Top 40, which did occasionally happen throughout the eighties.
At that point I think Michael Hurll was still standing in for an ill Paul Ciani, so I'm not sure how much of the revamp Stanley Appel was responsible for, or when he was confirmed as full-time producer.
ISTR the first edition of the All New Top of the Pops revamp featured a performance clip of Elton John, something that I also don't think really appealed to teenagers of 2003
That's right, performing Your Song as well. Presumably the thinking behind this is that they still wanted to illustrate that they were a family show, so they would have to have a veteran act and they just whacked in that because he was Elton John and he was famous. It's a bit like when Live and Kicking was revamped in 1999, they skewed much younger with Steve Wilson and Emma Ledden (as I mentioned in another thread, this was seemingly because they were getting a bit concerned that under Zoe and Jamie it was getting a bit too adult and alienating the child audience) but would still book the likes of Phil Collins and Sting. Which didn't appeal to anyone.
They did make good use of Television Centre though.
They did, that Blazin' Squad performance was fantastic, and I would certainly say that under Andi Peters the one good thing was that they actually tried to make the show an event and a proper happening every week. That did mean it apparently spiralled way over budget, and so often it wasn't very good, but the thought was there.
I know everyone slags off the 2003 revamp, but it wasn't really all that good before that anyway. I mentioned this on another thread but under Chris Cowey there were no exclusives, it was records in the chart and nothing but - the "classic" format everyone apparently asks for - and it was unbelievably dull, and because of the way the chart worked at the time it meant it seemed incredibly out of date, it was full of songs you'd already seen on every other show for the last six weeks. So it became less relevant. And for the last few months of Cowey's reign they introduced some half-arsed "features" and interviews which were no good.
One quite interesting period was the interregnum between Cowey's departure in August 2003 and the revamp in November, where they started introducing one or two exclusives in the mix and it seemed a bit more interesting than before, an intriguing mix of the two eras. There was also an intermission between Ric Blaxill departing in February 1997 and Chris Cowey arriving in June which led to an interesting transitional phase where some of Blaxill's ideas - guest presenters, exclusives - were dropped.
One of the oddball editions is the 25/8/94 edition, as the whole episode (bar the title sequence) has a faux-widescreen letterbox on it, and everything apart from the opening link, a via satellite performance and the Wet Wet Wet performance repeated from the previous show is filmised, and with varying amounts of desaturation (one performance is entirely black and white). The clips shown during the end credits montage have the proper colour levels and without the film effect though.
I remember this, and I also remember Gaby Roslin talking about it on The Big Breakfast the next morning (I remember her trying to engage Angela Rippon in conversation about it). I remember Malcolm McLaren was the host who delivered all his links in suitably cryptic style, so presumably the whole thing was an attempt to reflect his personality and make it look a bit cooler and more stylish.
They always used to say that because Blaxill didn't come from a traditional TV background, he was far happier introducing new ideas, and that on his first day he gathered together all the pluggers and gave them envelopes with "the new rules" inside - which were empty.