Top of the Pops 78: 13/04/78

…as watched on BBC4 by Chris Arnsby

Originally broadcast 13/4/78

Tony Blackburn, “hello and welcome once again to Top Of The Pops, and straight away here's the brand new top thirty.”
Chart music: Bee Gees, Night Fever [14]

Child, When You Walk In To The Room [NEW]. The audience are waving scarves printed with the word CHILD. This performance has two big visual gimmicks.  First a weird split screen effect at one point to show the drummer and one of the guitarists. Second a camera on a crane at the side of the stage so the Child lead singer can croon into the lens in close-up while the rest of the band remain in shot behind. This odd angle also allows us to see the next stage along in the studio where Tony Blackburn is preparing for his next link. He's tapping his feet and absent-mindedly swinging his arms like the proverbial uncle at a wedding disco.

Johnny Mathis & Denice Williams, Too Much Too Little Too Late [10]. John Carter is in charge of lighting this week and he starts this duet with a clever trick. When Johnny starts the song Denice is in shadow, then when Denice sings the light is faded up on her and brought down on Johnny. Denice and Johnny are apparently singing about the breakup of their relationship, “it's over, it's all over, it's over,” they sing. At least it's something they seem cheerful about.

Chic, Everybody Dance [24]. Danced by Legs & Co. This week it's red sparkly hot pants and boob tubes. Legs & Co have been put on a podium in front of the studio audience. This is a risky move. It's been done before and there were a couple of occasions when the teenage girls in the audience stood and glowered like the children of the damned at Legs & Co. Luckily this week everyone's still on a high from being given free CHILD scarves and the audience bop along and clap mostly in time with the song.

Chic resolutely ignore their own demands for everybody to dance.

Alan Price, Just For You [NEW]. Top Of The Pops is getting the most out of the camera crane this week. It's used to capture Alan Price's performance in an unusual single shot panning around, and zooming in and out, with no cuts to a different camera. The vision mixer is also indulging in more trickery. He randomly mixes small star filtered lights into the shot but it seems like a lot of effort for very little return.

Suzi Quatro, If You Can't Give Me Love [4]. The first repeat of the night from an earlier show.

Gerry Rafferty, Baker Street [3]. Tony Blackburn introduces the song while it starts to play in the background. As he says, “Gerry Rafferty,” the camera pans right as if moving to a shot of Rafferty in the studio. Sadly this proves not to be the case and Suzi Quatro is followed by a repeat of the Baker Street promo film. 

Dee D. Jackson, Automatic Lover [NEW]. This starts out looking like a lost Blake's 7 episode. Dry ice; check. Woman wearing cape and futuristic skin tight jumpsuit; check. Crap robot; check (Blake's 7's robots were infinitely crapper than those in Doctor Who). “Your body's cold. There's not a hand to hold.” Dee D. is warning about the dangers of impersonal robotic relationships but no one's looking at her as the robot jerks around the stage droning, “I am your automatic lover, automatic lover.” The bloke in the suit clearly has badly restricted vision and every time he wanders near the audience down stage it looks like a heath and safety incident waiting to happen.

Richard Myhill, It Takes Two To Tango [26]. Last time Richard was on he brought a female mannequin along for visual hijinks. This time he's going solo. He should have brought the mannequin.

Bonnie Tyler, Here I Am [NEW]. It's a nice enough song but not very memorable. In places it sounds like Bonnie Tyler's earlier hit It's A Heartache which my friends and I satirised in the playground by singing It's a Fartache. Blam! Take that Tyler.

Doctor Hook, More Like The Movies [17]. Wimp rock. “The castles that you built so high were just too steep for me to climb,” sings the lead singer looking like he is about to start blubbing like a baby. For visual interest a rotating glitter covered drum in mixed in to provide some sparkle.

Gene Farrow, Move Your Body [41]. Wearing a white suit Gene joins Legs & Co on the disco podium. Move your body Gene, offstage.

Genesis, Follow You Follow Me [7] Phil Collins Genesis, not Peter Gabriel Genesis. A dull song accompanying a dull promo film of the band performing in a studio.

Rafaella Carra, Do It Do It Again [49]. This is endearingly bonkers. A catchy Latin American rhythm plus kettle drums. Each time the drums go boom-boom Rafaella Carra pumps her arms and flings her head back. The drums go boom-boom a lot in this song. I worry that she'll end up with a concussion and a knackered occipital lobe. Still, it's good to see she's still got the presence of mind for a cheeky wink at the camera towards the end of the song.

Number 1: Brian And Michael, Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs. A repeat of an earlier performance. Not on the stage with the telegraph poles from last week, this is the sitting on crates version.

Closing titles: Let's All Chant, Michael Zager Band [29]


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