Top of the Pops 14 Aug 1980

Guest post by Chris Arnsby
Tommy Vance, "hi everybody. Good evening and welcome once again to Top of the Pops. My name's Tommy Vance and to help me on the programme tonight I've got the McVicar himself, Roger Daltrey, who's looking a bit miserable.
Roger Daltrey, "with good reason mate. With good reason."
Tommy Vance,"why?"
Roger Daltrey "I've come all the way here to see The Clash and now I find they're not on."
Tommy Vance, "well, we've got some great people on the show.
Roger Daltrey, "who have you got then?"
Ultravox: Sleepwalk [29]. The keyboard player in the black jacket needs some dancing lessons. His preferred move of thrusting his hips backwards and forwards makes it look like he is committing an indecent act with his keyboard.
David Bowie: Ashes To Ashes [4]. The two presenter format is floundering, and it's only week two. Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey plod through a spontaneous interview in which we learn that The Who have been on tour in Texas, and they have a new album out next year. Fascinating. After a brief discussion of the merits of David Bowie ("a great guy") Tommy Vance turns to camera and pulls a number out of thin air as he tells us that this "piece of film" [it's video Tommy Vance, don't you even know that? I do] "cost something like £40,000 to make". Wow! After that build up the video is going to have to be something special. Luckily it is.
"You're not going out dressed like that!"

Electric Light Orchestra: All Over The World [18]. Say kids, what time is it? It's Legs & Co time. This week they are dressed as all the races of the world. There's American, Hawaiian, Bavarian, Scottish, Japanese, and Lulu. It's not clear who Lulu is representing, but she is wearing a hat.
Mike Berry: The Sunshine Of Your Smile [22]. It's the bloke from Are You Being Served?  or, from the perspective of 1980, it's the bloke who will be in Are You Being Served? next year when Trevor Bannister gets fed up with playing Mr Lucas. The audience are remarkably indulgent with this song and opt for gently swaying on the spot rather than their usual sulky glowering.
Grace Jones: Private Life [24]. Grace Jones has a fag tucked under her arm. It's part of her stage persona rather than her being caught unawares having a quick puff before the song starts. And it's probably a Gitanes rather than a Capstan Full Strength. Grace Jones is one of the few people capable of being more surly than the Top of the Pops audience and she stares them down.
Village People: Can't Stop The Music [27]. And here's the controversial bit. Included in The Story Of 1980 documentary shown earlier this year was the Tommy Vance/Roger Daltrey introduction to this song.
Tommy Vance, "...what about Disco? I can see you bopping along to Disco."
Roger Daltrey, [pulling a sucking a lemon face] "Ah, can't stand it! It's terrible!"
Tommy Vance,"that's a terrible shame Rog, because here come the Village People."
Roger Daltrey "watch your backs!"
The BBC edited Roger Daltrey's final line from both Top of the Pops repeats. I have no problem with cutting the early evening showing because it's not playing to an audience expecting to be confronted by 35 year old homophobic remarks while they are eating their tea. However, I do think it should be left in the late night repeats which are only watched by tired old bores like me who will happily drone on about archive repeats being historical documents, and that censoring comments like this runs the risk of giving the impression the prejudice never existed. This, along with other edited material like the slit eyes gesture in the cut Barron Knights performance of Food For Thought, also gives a really interesting insight into what was considered acceptable prime time television within living memory. The bigger question is, why was this clip included in The Story Of 1980? It just left tired old bores like me on the edge of our seats waiting to see how the line would be treated in the repeat. Presumably in the context of a documentary it's simple to show people reacting with disapproval, whereas broadcast on BBC4 as part of an archive repeat there is the risk of people assuming it is being shown with the approval of the BBC; a risk which could be removed by a few words from the continuity announcer.
Sue Wilkinson: You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On [30]. Roger Daltrey is apparently terrified that appearing on the same show as the Village People will make people think he's gay. He's so keen to get his heterosexuality on the record that he immediately follows Can't Stop The Music with a comment about the "lovely birds on the show." With the best will in the world I can't work out how You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On has broken into the charts. There's no obvious audience. It's not like Mike Berry's song which probably appealed to the Radio 2 listeners. Presumably it's some quirk lost to history which makes this as much an anomaly as Guy Marks unexpected appearance with Loving You Has Made Me Bananas back in 1978.
Number one: Abba, The Winner Takes It All. With Abba out of the way we get one final limp exchange between Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey. The two presenter format hasn't been killed yet, but it's coughing up blood. The Top of the Pops disco has been sensibly tweaked for the closing titles. Last week Peter Powell and Elton John were almost trampled when the audience rushed in from behind them towards the cameras. This week Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey are placed at the back of the studio, with the cameras at the front, and the audience fill up the gap in the middle. Much safer for all concerned.
Closing titles: Diana Ross, Upside Down [2].
Performance of the week: Grace Jones: Private Life.

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