Top of the Pops 17 March 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Gary Davies: "Hello, good evening, and welcome to Top of the Pops. The last time I was with you was just a few weeks ago. Tony, when were you last with us?" Tony Blackburn: "The last time I was here Vera Lynn was at number one in the charts, Gary." Gary Davies: "Well at number five in the charts at the moment it's Bananarama." Tony Blackburn: "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."

[5] Bananarama:  Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. Gary Davies is trying to make a hilarious joke, but the boring answer is that Tony Blackburn last appeared barely six months ago on the 30/9/1982 live edition for the 15th anniversary of Radio 1. Before that he really had been off for a while having last hosted a show on 05/04/1979. Unusually Gary Davies and Tony Blackburn are standing in front of the projector screen (on the left hand side of the main Top of the Pops set) rather than in front of the neon logo (on the right of the set) where hosts usually start the show. The reason for this change seems to be so that the Director can set up a shot that pulls back from the hosts to Bananarama. It also means we get a better than normal look at the DJ's exit routine. Davies and Blackburn both turn, place their microphones carefully on the floor, and then leave via the side of the set. During the Bananarama performance a studio microphone is left on and at various points someone (Floor Manager, Tony Guyan?) can be heard shouting instructions. "Get your hands down, is yelled at one point. Followed later by the contradictory, "wave your hands in the air." Make up your mind. Later there's "let me see you clapping, hands in the air," as, presumably, instructions come down from the Director that the audience aren't pretending convincingly to have fun. (John- And they were always careful the viewers never saw the electrodes)


Ad Break #1 Dilly Dilly, Natalie Portman and U

An occasional series looking at ads of the moment.
Bud Light - “Dilly, Dilly”
The best thing for an ad campaign is that it contains a slogan or saying that sticks in people’s heads yet this can also be the worst thing if they don’t actually remember what the advert is for! Bud Light’s latest may be destined for such a fate as it’s tagline is much more prominent on the advert than the product. Though American Bud Light- a sort of weaker version of Bud – seems aimed at European markets with its medieval theme showing a banquet at which people bring gifts for the King in the form of packs of Bud Light. The King accepts these with a call of “dilly, dilly” which is then repeated by the assembled. However one man brings “honeymead” beer that he likes for which he is dispensed to the “pit of misery”. The campaign was created by the Wieden + Kennedy ad agency and launched last August to coincide with the season finale of Game of Thrones and there’s a second ad, not yet seen in the UK, that follows up the story in the Pit. A third ad set on a battlefield debuted at the Superbowl last month. 


Papadopoulos and Sons

A feelgood movie about the recession sounds unlikely but this film, shot in just 40 days, is presented as such. Written, directed and financed by independent filmmaker Markus Markou it’s the story of millionaire entrepreneur Harry Papadopoulos whose plans to build a shopping precinct are derailed by financial woes to the point where he loses his fortune and even his mansion. His estranged wayward brother Spiros comes to the rescue with the idea that the family live and work with him reviving the fish and chip shop their parents used to run. Such a plot could be a serious –even tragic- film or a comedy of manners but Markou choses neither option. Instead he presents as realistic a scenario as he can on what is clearly a low budget. It’s more reminiscent of a TV drama than a big screen outing but has its heart in the right place.


The return of milk bottles!

It’s funny how we’re often told that such and such a thing will be obsolete by a certain date and yet somehow it endures. Vinyl was a recent one; a seemingly moribund format that has enjoyed quite a revival in recent years. Now one of the most surprising rebounds turns out to be….milk bottles! You wot? Yes, milk bottles. For the past twenty years people in the UK have increasingly bought their milk in plastic containers from shops. It’s cheaper and more convenient because you can just chuck the container away in the recycling bin afterwards. However it now turns out that far too many of these plastic containers end up in the sea becoming a pollutant. None other than Sir David Attenborough, the nation’s wisest man warned in Blue Planet 2 about the harm caused by disposable plastic products and this has helped fuel large numbers of people reverting to having their milk delivered in glass bottles. It’s not just Sir Dave of course, the trend back towards glass bottles was already underway due to an increased awareness of the environmental dangers of plastic containers. 


Top of the Pops 3 March 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. John Peel: "Hello again. We're the joy boys of radio." David Jensen: "Chasing electrons to and fro." John Peel: "Welcome to another Top of the Pops. Lots of treats again this week including the Top Ten Video Show." David Jensen: "Our opening melody comes from Icehouse and Hey Little Girl."
[17] Icehouse: Hey Little Girl. The David Jensen/John Peel double act continues to develop. Tonight the pair are wearing jumpers with the others name on the front. Rather unfairly John Peel's jumper reads "Kid Jensen," when David (that's Mr Jensen to you) dropped the Kid moniker ages ago. In case you were wondering, that "joy boys of radio" comment is a reference to Ed Walker and Willard Scott of Washington D.C. radio station WRC. (John- Is Chasing Electrons a band? It’s a good band name)


The Death of Stalin

Armando Iannucci’s inspired reading of real life events following the 1953 death of the USSR’s legendary leader boils down the power struggles that ensued amongst his Central Committee colleagues to a level roughly equivalent to student politics. With killing. The portrayal of the committee members reminds me of those US films about student council elections where vanity and greed is as much drivers as power and with a cast well versed in this sort of comedy the film can’t go wrong. That the Russians banned the movie suggests it hit closer to the truth than they might admit. That neighbouring countries followed suit also suggests that some the apparatus of intimidation employed back in the 1950s is still standing.