Top of the Pops 1988 Triple Bill!


Words: Chris Arnsby

Gary Davies: “Hello. Good evening and welcome to Top of the Pops. You know, the last time my friend Susie Mathis appeared on Top of the Pops was in 1968 with a group called The Paper Dolls.”
Susie Mathis: “But I was only seven at the time Gary. Mind you, they must have been impressed because they asked me back twenty years later.”
Gary Davies: “Well it's good to see you back. We've got a great show for you. We start off with who?”
Susie Mathis: “Start off with Yazz at number two.”

 [2] YAZZ: stand up for your love rights. Who is Susie Mathis? Gary Davies is right. She did indeed appear on Top of the Pops in 1968 as part of a trio called The Paper Dolls.

The group made three appearances with a song called Something Here In My Heart; 28/03/68, 11/04/1968 and 18/04/1968. I don't understand how they made two back-to-back appearances when they weren't at Number One. The Paper Dolls were back once more on 21/11/1968 to sing their less successful follow up song, Someday. Then, after a few more unsuccessful songs the group split in 1970.

Susie Mathis moved on and joined Manchester's Piccadilly Radio in 1979. The same year as Gary Davies. She had a decent radio and television career, including an eight week stint on Radio 2, in May and June 1986, in the sleepy 4-6am slot.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Susie Mathis is here. Gary Davies describes her as a friend and I think we can take him at his word. I can't help feeling he's the √©minence grise, arranging for her to be booked at a time when Top of the Pops was trying out new hosts and also as possible to the twentieth anniversary of her last appearance.

Meanwhile, Yazz is repeated from her performance on 03/11/1988.


TV Review: Doctor Who - Wild Blue Yonder


Shrouded in mystery by modern standards (no plot leaks, no full cast list, a vague trailer, just a few photos, quotes about how unusual it is) this episode has been the subject of assorted rumours in the week leading up to today. You know what, this is a good and rare thing these days. When even teaser trailers can ruin some surprises it makes a pleasant change to approach something with no real knowledge of what is about to unfold. Pre Internet, pre smartphones most things were like this, now its very difficult to keep secrets. If you’ve seen the episode, you'll know it's worth watching without knowing what happens so if you haven't then the review that follows reveals things...

Spoilers ahoy after the break


Film Review- Napoleon


Napoleon Bonaparte is an iconic figure whose story we feel we know and in a sense we do. Ridley Scott’s ambitious biopic aims to corral his busy life into a little over two and a half hours, a length that would suffice most movies but which seems to make this one rather piecemeal. Then I found out that there’s a four hour version to be made available for streaming soon and that is probably going to be a more complete and probably more satisfying look at his life. Napoleon seems to get an easier ride than history’s other dictators and this movie does little to draw attention to the fact he was a villain in his story however you slice it.



TV Review: Doctor Who- The Star Beast


Good goodness me, Russell T Davies, David Tennant and Catherine Tate are back, Back, BACK!! Like some multi- million selling band that split for a while they have reformed for a limited time only kickstarting a period that someone amusingly dubbed RTD2 which is just something we all wish we’d thought of, right? This opening episode of a Tennant trilogy doesn’t even have to be that good really. It just has to exist and people are happy before they’ve seen a second of it. I know I am. Yet I’m also a little puzzled. What can this team do that they didn’t do thirteen or more years back? Subsequent showrunners and many other programmes have tried their best to match the sheer brio which RTD1 gave Doctor Who yet none have quite been able to match the thrills, spectacle, emotion and character. So just like that great old band getting back together again for a victory lap do our triumphant trio focus on that illustrious past or try out some new material?


Lots of spoilers after the break…



Film Review- Saltburn


A movie whose opening credits are backed up by the pomp of `Zadok the Priest` is clearly going to be somewhat off the scale and Saltburn is definitely that. It is quite an eccentric film that is by turns serious, odd and funny. I’m not sure it always knows quite what it wants to be (this is a good thing) but as the blurb describes it as a psychological comedy I’ll go with that. I do know it is very interesting and also difficult to review without letting slip its ultimate destination. I’m not sure it goes far enough sometimes, at other times it seems the opposite but a story like this demands a slightly messy film because messy is interesting.



Top of the Pops 10 November 1988


Words: Chris Arnsby

Bruno Bookes: “Hello. Welcome to Europe's number one TV pop show this is Top of the Pops and a moment of broadcasting history as I stand one inch taller than my co-presenter Sybil Ruscoe.” 
Sybil Ruscoe: “Thank you very much shorty. Good evening. No competition for them this week. Brother Beyond.”
Bruno Bookes: “... [inaudible]... get this, brilliant.”

 [8] BROTHER BEYOND: he ain't no competition. Sybil Ruscoe? The name rings a bell. BBC Genome has reminded me that Simon Mayo hosted the Breakfast Show with Sybil Ruscoe and Rod McKenzie. In fact, checking Genome more thoroughly, Ruscoe and McKenzie only seem to have been credited in the Radio Times from around 10/10/1988. Before that they were just mentioned in the listing as “the Breakfast crew.” If that is correct then Sybil Ruscoe has done well to parley that credit so quickly into a Top of the Pops hosting gig. When can we expect Rod McKenzie?


Why don't more people use an umbrella?

 Once upon a time most people used an umbrella. People took them along if they went out just in case of  a shower. Anyone who worked in an office would often carry a lengthy one – the image of bowler hatted gents striding along with an umbrella even on a sunny day- is an enduring one. It is after all one of the uncontradictable facts that it’s frequently raining in Britain whatever the time of year and when that happens British people used to do one thing. They would produce an umbrella from their pocket or bag or they’d just be carrying one. The high street was packed with umbrellas jostling for position as they are inevitably wider than the average person. The etiquette was that you would get out of the way for every other person and they would reciprocate. Now though if it starts to pour umbrellas are rarely to be seen even if it’s the middle of winter. Even if it’s not windy. So is the humble umbrella disappearing into extinction and if so why, what can be done or indeed if anything does need to be done?



Top of the Pops 3 Nov 1988


Words: Chris Arnsby.
Nicky Campbell: “Good evening. Welcome to another star-studded edition of Top of the Pops we've got Tanita Tikaram, we've got Yaz, and let me tell you no expense has been spared, we have got Mark Goodier.”
Mark Goodier: “Oh-ho. And everything on Radio One in FM stereo. We start tonight with a welcome back to the charts for Gloria Estefan, One Two Three.”

 [24] GLORIA ESTEFAN & MIAMI SOUND MACHINE: 1-2-3. Observe the way Mark Goodier raises his microphone and then lowers it as Nicky Campbell starts talking. Did Mark forget how the introduction went or is Nicky Campbell cutting in?

I don't really have anything interesting or insightful to say about 1-2-3. It's one of those songs I remember being played to death on the radio(in FM stereo, natch) but the rhythms of Gloria Estefan, who now takes top billing over the Miami Sound Machine, never really thrilled me.