14/05/2017

Top of the Pops 20 May 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hello! Welcome to Top of the Pops! We've got a great show lined up! We've got Madness, we've got Adam Ant and we've also got ABC! For starters it's Rocky Sharpe and the Replays! Shout Shout! [bonks himself on the head with a microphone] Knock Yourself Out!"
[19] Rocky Sharpe & The Replays: Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out). His purpleness Fred Wright is back on lighting duties and the studio is painted with lurid tones. Check out Peter Powell during his opening introduction. He has the healthy glow of a Windscale worker. But never mind the eye strain, watch Peter Powell once Rocky Sharpe & The Replays get started. Top of the Pops hosts have always had the amazing ability to disappear from the studio like the Blue Peter cats but Peter Powell excels himself. Initially he looks like he's going to stay behind the band for the whole song -as he very creditably did at the start of 1982 when Zoo danced to Yellow Pearl. He's behind Rocky Sharpe & The Replays as the camera pulls back across the studio, and he's still there in the background when the picture cuts to a low angled shot of the group. Next we cut to a left profile of the backing singers and Peter Powell is off camera for the first time. This is normally when the host nips off but when the camera cuts back to the lead singer Peter Powell can still be seen, just, in the background. Then the magic happens. The camera moves slightly and Peter Powell is off the edge of the picture for all of two seconds before the shot pans back to reveal an empty podium. It's so quick I was looking for Road Runner style dust clouds and possibly a faux-Latin caption; speedius enthusiasticus.
Rocky Sharpe and the Replays about to realise someone had moved their chairs

[8] Madness: House of Fun. On film. Wikipedia assures me that parts of this promo were filmed in Great Yarmouth. I thought the wooden roller coaster was the one in Margate at Dreamland and the ride with the loop in it was the Looping Star. Looks like I was wrong.
[13] ABC: The Look Of Love. "Have you got the. Look. Of. Love?" asks Peter Powell before winking at the camera in what he thinks is a sexy way. ABC look sharp in matching shiny grey suits, and with a synchronised dance routine. It's an oddly familiar look that makes ABC seem like they are recreating Godley & Creme's Wedding Bells video -with a superior song.
[3] PHD: I Won’t Let You Down. A very weird promo film containing several ideas that don't gel. Idea 1, the lead singer of PHD is singing I Won't Let You Down to a leggy blonde. The leggy blonde regards the lead singer of PHD with obvious scorn, tosses her head, and has plainly loaded the lead singer of PHD down with too many parcels. This image of the singer of the song as an Andy Capp style henpecked partner doesn't match the tone of the song. Idea 2, the keyboard player of PHD is trying to light-heartedly murder the lead singer of PHD. His murder attempts include poison, a throwing dagger, dropping a full bucket of water, a bomb, and the Beano approved method of dropping a slippery banana peel.
[5] Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes. A big show-stopping rendition of Mr Ant's new single. Adam Ant dances across three stages with nine members of Zoo; sexy Greek muses, sexy French maids, and what must presumably be sexy PVC clad tramps (they're carrying bindlestiffs tied up with red-spotted handkerchiefs). Kim Wilde wandered across multiple stages and catwalks while singing Cambodia on the 26/11/1981 edition of Top of the Pops but here it's more ambitious. The lights are turned up more than normal for the final catwalk dance and the studio behind Adam Ant can be seen clearly. If you can tear your gaze away from Adam Ant's snake hips then have a look at the motley assortment of hangers-on, men in brown suits, technical chappies, and -right at the back- two BBC commissionaires in white peaked caps. Also, watch out for the edit which occurs right after the line "look out or they'll tell you you're a Superstar." Adam Ant's hands drop down from above his head and he's suddenly looking to one side. The dance routine involves him being amusingly clonked by the bindlestiffs so it's probably safe to assume he was accidentally hit a little too hard. (John- Bananarama did the three stages in 1983 but they just sort of strolled around like it was Waitrose)
[14] Junior: Mama Used To Say. The understated but quite technically accomplished video for Mama Used To Say. They've done a good job of bleaching out the real objects to blend in with the drawings used for the CSO backgrounds. There's also some panning and zooming of the backgrounds so they must have used some variant of Scene Sync.
[26] Iron Maiden: Number Of The Beast. Oh no! The silly sausage who types up the captions for the charts has spelt Genesis as Genisis. "Don't ring us. Don't write us... we apologise," says Peter Powell. Meanwhile Iron Maiden have made a film for their song  Number Of The Beast and here it is at number 26 (which is not the number of the beast).
[11] Tight Fit: Fantasy Island. Three videos in a row. This one is very expensive looking. Tight Fit have been sent to exotic San Tropez to make their promo. But San Tropez is part of the French Riviera. It's not an island at all. Fantasy or otherwise. They should have gone to the Isle of Wight. They could have saved some money and been factually accurate.
[1] Nicole: A Little Peace. A repeat from the 13/05/1982 edition -not shown on BBC4 because of D*v* L** Tr*v*s. I'm not sure who was in charge of lighting that edition but it looks great. Nicole and the front rows of the audience are fully illuminated, but then further back the audience is back lit purple (so it was probably Fred Wright again) and appear as a mass of silhouettes. It's atmospheric and suits the mood of the song.
[10] Patrice Rushden: Forget Me Nots. The footage of Patrice Rushden is reused from the 06/05/1982 edition but halfway through we cut to the ladies of Zoo. They are dressed up as dolly birds from down the ages (there's a Barbarella one, a sixties one, an eighties one, and so on) and they pull various sultry Austin-Powers-fembot poses. Then almost as soon as they appear on screen there's another cut to the gentlemen of Zoo who are allowed to dance a little more athletically and show off their ability to do handstands and high kicks and splits. Vision Mixer Chris Gage then cuts between Patrice Rushden, and the various members of Zoo. The show ends on an odd moment as one of the male dancers attempts a backward somersault but fumbles his landing. He lands awkwardly on his hands and knees and then falls forwards stretched out on his front. One of the other dancers kneels briefly over his fallen colleague and then stands up and carries on dancing. Is he all right? Is it possibly part of the routine? We never find out because Chris Gage cuts back to the fembots who strike poses behind Michael Hurll's Producer credit.

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