08/01/2018

Top of the Pops 13 Jan 1983



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. [John Peel and David Jensen are both wearing Mexican mariachi hats] John Peel: "Hello. We're on a five pounds a man bonus for wearing these hats. Welcome to another Top of the Pops. We're the Burke and Hare of British broadcasting. I'm John, he's the likeable Canadian." David Jensen: "And this week we're going to kick off, amigos, with Incantation and Cacharpaya."

It's a new year on Top of the Pops. Michael Hurll (now credited with Production, rather than as Producer for some reason) has resurrected the dual presenter format. Wisely he's gone for two Radio 1 DJs instead of the terrible DJ plus guest format used in 1980 that gave us such combinations as Peter Powell and BA Robertson, or Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey. Also different, weirdly, are the Top of the Pops titles. The 23/12/1982 edition introduced a modified version where the Top of the Pops logo was superimposed over the flying records rather than being on its own slide with a black background. This week we're back to the original film which strobes as it rapidly cuts between the logo and the records. Three editions of Top of the Pops have just been skipped by BBC4 and a quick check of Youtube shows all these (25/12/1982, 30/12/1982, and 6/1/1983) used the old titles. Was the new version done as a one-off technical demo, or did Michael Hurll hate it, or was it just lost in the Christmas hangover? Lets see what version gets used next week.



[14] Incantation:Cacharpaya (Andes Pumpsa Desi). Incantation's appearance on the 24/12/1982 show was one of the highlights. It's not a great song but that performance benefited massively from the scale and energy of the live broadcast. Seen here without the sweeping camera shots of the audience, and the studio and all the dancers it falls a bit flat.

[7] Men At Work: Down Under. John Peel has ditched the hat, and also David Jensen, to introduce Men at Work who appear via the medium of film. There's an audible bang towards the end of the promo which isn't on the official version (for anyone who really cares- turn up the sound for the line "can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder" on the shot of the group walking across the sand with the pallbearers and coffin). It sounds like someone has burst a balloon in the studio. The studio microphones must have been turned on so that the audience can cheer as the song ends. (Obscure John- This song was the first time I’d ever heard of a vegemite sandwich though for ages I thought he was singing a “bet you might sandwich” which of course makes no sense!)

[53] Sharon Redd: In The Name Of Love. Now it's David Jensen's turn to do an introduction. Sharon Redd has got some sort of prop feathered shawl which she caresses and drapes across herself before dropping it onto the floor. The second time she goes looking for the shawl it's lost under a covering of dry ice. Luckily Sharon Redd is employing a very eccentric staccato style of dancing so when she crouches down and sweeps her hands through the fog it looks like part of the routine. Still no sign of the shawl, where can it be? She stands up, scuttles across the stage, and crouches again; no luck. After a short step to one side she spots the shawl, crouches down, and grabs it. Then it's discarded and lost in the fog again after only a brief moment of clutching it, and stroking it, and draping it over her shoulders. Was it really worth all the effort?

[4] Keith Harris & Orville: Orville’s Song. Watch David Jensen's face after John Peel introduces Keith Harris & Orville. He assembles his expression into something resembling an actual human smile but the eyes are so sad and full of pain. This is a repeat from the 23/12/1982 edition of Top of the Pops and it's just as lousy second time around.

[51] The Belle Stars: Sign Of The Times. Obvious things I've only just realised #1. The group that sang The Clapping Song also did Sign Of The Times. Sign Of The Times would do well at the start of the programme but I wonder if it's placing here was to try and pick up the show after Keith Harris' musical prolapse. The song is more than good enough to do that but surely all eyes are on the Eidophor screen behind the group. This is normally used to display footage from one of the cameras -see Incantation's performance earlier- but for a change it's used to cycle through the captions which will appear on screen when The Belle Stars finish.

LP Top 10: A new feature! It's the LP top 10. Pretty much what you'd expect. Number 1 is Raiders Of The Pop Charts Part 1 by Various Artists. I was given a copy of this on tape for Christmas. You got part 2 free with part 1. There was no part 3.

[17] John Williams: Theme From E.T. This Way Up's Social Media Team keep reminding me that childhood reminiscences are an ideal way to focus customer engagement and strengthen brand loyalty with today's nostalgia hungry audience. I remember standing outside the ABC cinema in Chatham with my mum and younger brother around Christmas 1982. He wanted to see Tron, and I wanted to watch E.T. My mum compromised and took us both to see Mother Goose at the Chatham Central Theatre. I subsequently saw E.T. on a pirate VHS (that should stop the MD of Strategic Marketing emailing me for a couple of hours). The promo for Theme From E.T. is a blurry collection of film clips. It's a bit dull but it shows how big E.T. was at the time. John Williams didn't get his themes for Superman, or Star Wars into the charts.

[22] Eddy Grant : Electric Avenue. Eddy's in the space time continuum in Barbados, so he appears on video.

[15] The Maisonettes: Heartache Avenue. The good looking, mini skirted, polo neck sweater wearing, backing singers seem to get more camera time than the lead singer. What's that all about? Fortunately this focus allows us to see the backing singer on the right coolly bat away the balloon launched at her by some dire fiend in the audience.

[1] Phil Collins: You Can't Hurry Love. On video with multiple Phil Collinses.

[21] Donna Summer: I Feel Love. The audience dance out the show to some proto-house music from Donna Summer. John Peel and David Jensen famously had a good working relationship and that's visible on screen. Watch how John Peel says something to David Jensen which makes him double up with laugher during the big camera pull back at the end of the show.

Michael Hurll for a day. An intermittent feature in which I play around with the running order of Top of the Pops.
Michael Hurll- Not sure if he likes this idea or not..


Michael Hurll                  

[14] Incantation: Cacharpaya (Andes Pumpsa Desi)   

[7] Men At Work: Down Under [video]                        

[53] Sharon Redd: In The Name Of Love                   

[4] Keith Harris & Orville: Orville’s Song [repeat]         

[51] The Belle Stars: Sign Of The Times           

[17] John Williams: Theme From E.T. [film clips]         

[22] Eddy Grant: Electric Avenue [video]          

[15]The Maisonettes: Heartache Avenue                              

[1] Phil Collins: You Can’t Hurry Love [video]              

[21] Donna Summer: I Feel Love [audience dancing]

Me

[51] The Belle Stars: Sign Of The Times

[7] Men At Work: Down Under [video]    

[15]The Maisonettes: Heartache Avenue

[4] Keith Harris & Orville: Orville’s Song [repeat]

[53] Sharon Redd: In The Name Of Love

[17] John Williams: Theme From E.T. [film clips]

[14] Incantation: Cacharpaya (Andes Pumpsa  Desi)  

[22] Eddy Grant: Electric Avenue [video]

[1] Phil Collins: You Can’t Hurry Love [video]

[21] Donna Summer: I Feel Love [audience dancing]  


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