18/05/2022

Top of the Pops 9 April 1987

 

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Mike Smith: “Welcome to Television Centre's own madhouse, Top of the Pops. Thirty minutes of the best music from charts. We kick off tonight with our special guests from Kansas in the USA. The Rainmakers.”

[28] The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go. A good song to kick off this week's edition. The Rainmakers warm up the audience and turn in a good performance. They're not making any great statement or revolutionising the pop industry, but they do have a rockin' good time. Lead singer Bob Walkenhorst puts on a top hat at one point. (John- Not for the first time, see single picture below. It must be his Thing)

 


17/05/2022

The brilliance of School's Out

 

At my posh secondary school they always finished the final assembly with a rather earnest song titled `God Be With You Till We Meet Again` which seemed like a little warning that the big G would always be watching you even in the holidays! Imagine how brilliant it would have been had the end of term song been  `Schools Out`instead! This was such a good single especially if you were actually at school at the time, to love it was almost like an act of rebellion and even in a year full of stardust and metal gurus, Alice Cooper was something else. I think he was the first American pop star I became aware of and he looked like a very dangerous man indeed with his dark eye make up and sneering performance though ironically  he turned out to be quite a decent bloke. `



15/05/2022

Tv Review- Eurovision Song Contest 2022

 

Thanks to Sam Ryder, we’re back in the game!

Its interesting that both success and failure spark all sorts of theories and the narrative for this annual competition as far as the UK was concerned has been a sorry state of affairs for a while now. We’ve tried all sorts of things- veterans, rappers, newcomers, songwriters, public competition winners and even Andrew Lloyd Webber (writing not singing!) but nothing has stuck. Yesterday in  Turin that all changed and our second place – after winning the jury half of the vote- was something to make viewers stare at the screen in some disbelief. As commentator Graham Norton said this was real not a drama but the question is why and why now? The answer, simply, is we had a great song. Just like I said we should a year ago on this blog, in fact just like everyone’s been saying for ages and it seems as if the message has got through.

 


12/05/2022

Top of the Pops 2 April 1987

 

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Gary Davies: “Hi. How ya doin'? I hope you're well because we've got one heck of a good show for you tonight. In the studio we have Curiosity Killed The Cat, we've got Ruby Turner, we've also got the Fine Young Cannibals.”

Janice Long: “And I'm dead made up because at number twenty one this week with the Irish Rover it's the Pogues and the Dubliners.”

[21] The Pogues & The Dubliners: The Irish Rover. Janice and Gary do an energetic jig as the camera pulls back in an impressive crane shot which goes from a close up of the hosts to a wide shot of the studio. But don't be fooled. No matter how made up Janice is, the demands of as-live recording mean there's no time for watching the performance. She and Gary have to dash across the studio and find their marks for the next link. The pair sneak off during a quick close up of Ronnie Drew, and are both gone before Shane MacGowan starts singing.

 


08/05/2022

Film Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

 

Sam Raimi brings horror to the Marvel Universe…in a mostly good way!

It has been a while since Doctor Strange had his own film though the character has played a key role in developments since his introduction six years ago. Director Sam Raimi has form in this area having helmed the trio of Spiderman movies in the 2000’s and is able to bring in some of his trademark horror to the tale in which the concept of Multiverses is explored in more detail. It is very much a film for people who like Marvel movies and even touches on some of the tv series that most of us haven’t seen so it might be an idea to check on those storylines to bring yourself up to speed.

 


Spoilers beyond this point

04/05/2022

Top of the Pops 26 March 1987

 Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Mike Smith: “Right. Good evening. Welcome to Television Centre, Top of the Pops. Spring time. We have something new for you. A new number one. New video for Peter Gabriel. And a new voice for Top of the Pops. Debut tonight for Terence Trent D'Arby.

 [22] Terence Trent D'Arby: If You Let Me Stay. Hello Terence. Right, what's going on with your backing singers? The one on the left, wearing a vest, looks like he's auditioning for Grease, badly, and I'm worried the one on the right is about to sell me a second hand car; owned-by-a-little-old-lady-who-just-used-to-drive-it-to-church-once-a-week. It's been a while since I've seen such a sorry looking pair. Terence cuts loose his big dance move towards the end of the song, an impressive drop into the splits. Maybe this wasn't done in camera rehearsals because the moment is almost entirely lost on screen. The low angle camera shot from the studio floor gives the impression he's fallen into an unexpected sink hole, with the microphone stand following close behind. When Vision Mixer Hilary West cuts to a side angle for a better view, the shot wobbles down as if the Camera Operator is still reacting to a sudden instruction to grab a close up.

 




26/04/2022

Midsomer Murders- The Killings at Badger's Drift

 

The very first episode from twenty five years ago has some differences and a lot of similarities with the series that runs to this day!

This was the first episode of the series shot as a pilot in 1996 and it’s not hard to see why it was subsequently commissioned for a full season and beyond till today! A little quirky, slightly eye opening in its themes and very atmospheric it became the UK television drama hit of 1997 with ratings north of thirteen million,  the highest rated drama of the year. The episode is a little different to the house style to which viewers became accustomed- notably in the tame opening sequence made up of quaint country drawings-  though its more surprising just how many of the programme’s signatures were set from the start. Because it’s based on a novel it is extremely tightly plotted and has a succession of twists each of which cause our assumptions of the villagers to sink a little lower! They’re quite a bunch in Badger’s Drift!

 

"What a lovely day, nothing nasty going on here!"

19/04/2022

Top of the Pops 19 March 1987

 

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: “Hello. Welcome to Top of the Pops. We've got Genesis recorded live in concert later on...” 
Peter Powell: “..!”
Simon Bates: “... and Peter Powell.” 
Peter Powell: “... We've also got The Mission! And we've got Erasure! And to start with Respectable at number two! Mel and Kim!”

[2] Mel & Kim: Respectable. I can't decide if Simon Bates is just a bit hopeless at this broadcasting lark or is he actually really quite devious? Observe the way he immediately takes the wind of out Peter Powell's sails by sneaking the “... and Peter Powell,” bit into his introduction and talking over the point where Powell thinks it's his turn to start speaking. This week Mel & Kim have come in two nearly identical outfits. Can you spot all the differences; there's the hat, the belt, the trousers not tucked into the boots, oh and buttons only on one top. What do I win if I spot all the differences? A night out with Simon Bates! Hope I don't get second prize.