14/09/2020

Top of the Pops 29 August 1985

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Janice Long: “Hi thank you for joining us. Welcome to a very, very live edition of Top of the Pops. We're standing here right now, aren't we?” John Peel: “That's right. We can say really controversial things like bottom and they can't do anything about it.” Janice Long: “How controversial. He just wants to be in the newspapers. At eighteen this week, it's Mai Tai and this is Body And Soul.”
[18] Mai Tai: Body & Soul. Next week Top of the Pops is on the move again. The programme started 1985 in a 40 minute slot pinballing between 6.55pm, 7.20pm, and as late as 7.50pm when Paul Daniels wanted to play Odd One Out. Michael Grade dragged BBC1 kicking and screaming into the future (ie Wogan three times a week) with his February channel revamp and Top of the Pops briefly nestled between Eastenders and Tomorrow's World at 7.30pm. In April Top of the Pops
and Tomorrow's World swapped places. A clever bod in Programme Planning worked out that shaving five minutes from the end of Tomorrow's World and starting Top of the Pops at 7.55pm created a variable length slot which could be telescoped from 30-40 minutes; depending on how much future news Tomorrow's World had to cover, and if you sneakily delayed the 8.30pm programme to just past the half hour. And that's how the schedule stayed until the autumn leaves start to fall.


 

This is Top of the Pops last week in the 7.55pm slot. Eastenders has been doing okay over the summer but Emmerdale Farm is putting a dent in it's audience figures. If the lovable Cockney's are moved to 7.30pm then the embarrassing clash is avoided and Michael Grade stands everybody a round of G&Ts in the BBC bar. Where does Top of the Pops go? It's job now is to open Thursday night primetime at 7pm. A position it will occupy until June 14 th 1996 when Euro 96 coverage pushes it to Friday and somehow the show never moves back. Do Mai Tai have any comments on these schedule changes? They're being annoyingly tight-lipped on the subject.
[16] Dan Hartman: Body & Soul: Dan Hartman follows Janice Long's quick plug for the new Live Aid book. Dan performs in the same tent-like scenery used by Kate Bush last week.
[15] D Train: You're The One For Me . With Paul Hardcastle on keytar.
Top 40 Breakers: [40] Bananarama, Do Not Disturb; [39] Bryan Ferry, Don’t Stop The Dance; [30] Madness, Yesterday’s Men.
[22] Thompson Twins: Don't Mess With Doctor Dream. It's been nine months since The Thompson Twins appeared in studio. 1984 was a step down for the band, after the highs of 1983 when You Take Me up got to number two, and their last couple of songs cracked the Top 20 but not the all important Top 10. Somehow this performance of Don't Mess With Doctor Dream perfectly encapsulates a moment in time; the look of the studio; the clothes; the music; the shrieking; this is August 1985. If you're a low-rate television producer putting together an eighties documentary you could get together a bunch of talking heads to waffle about Thatcherism at its height; the post-miner's strike aftermath; riots; football holiganism; Live Aid; or could you just play a clip from this performance of Don't Mess With Doctor Dream and cross-fade to a shot of Clive Sinclair in a C5 when Alannah Currie starts shrieking. That's 1985 in the bag.


Top 10: [10] Tina Turner, We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome); [9] King, Alone Without You; [8] Dire Straits, Money For Nothing; [7] Princess, Say I’m Your Number One; [6] Madonna, Holiday. [5] Baltimora, Tarzan Boy. “What a load of rubbish saying that Top of the Pops wouldn't let him wear a loincloth. He was just too embarrassed to show his wares,” says Janice Long referring to some long forgotten tabloid scandal. It would certainly explain the odd moment in Baltimora's 22/08/1985 performance where he briefly whips his jacket back from his shoulders, pulls a Frank Spencer-like ooh-Betty-the-dog's-done-a-whoopsy face, and then quickly flicks his coat back. Presumably the sensational gossip was leaked on the eve of his appearance -with a headline along the lines of BBC Prudes in Saucy Loincloth Ban Shocka. You might believe from this, that Baltimora did nothing but perform Tarzan Boy while wearing a loincloth. A quick Google search confirms this is not the case*. On YouTube there's the Top of the Pops performance plus a couple of others with descriptions in Polish and Spanish (which suggest Baltimora got around) and (sorry some ladies and men) he's fully clothed in all of them. He's not even wearing a loincloth in the official video. Case closed.
[4] The Cars, Drive; [3] Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill; [2] Madonna, Into The Groove.
[1] UB40 & Chrissie Hynde: I Got You Babe. On video.
[33] Amii Stewart, Knock On Wood. Audience dancing and credits.
Performance of the week: Thompson Twins: Don't Mess With Doctor Dream .
*if you're the baffled owner of the blog which got one hit on a 2006 entry with the search terms “top of the pops” “baltimora” “loin”, it was me. Sorry for any confusion this caused. I was too lazy to type out the whole word, loincloth.

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