Top of the Pops 28 Aug 1980

As shown on BBC4. Words: Chris Arnsby
On Youtube there's a 1980 edition of World In Action called The Chart Busters which examines the ways record companies manipulated the record charts. It's very much worth a watch, if only to see the prehistoric way record sales were measured. Obviously there's no suggestion the acts concerned knew what was happening to their records but it's timely to talk about the programme now because one of the singles briefly mentioned was Bang Bang by B. A. Robertson.
(Who are these masters of visual comedy? Could it be Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy sprung back to life? No. It's Peter Powell and B. A. Robertson. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.)
Peter Powell. "Good evening! Uh, I pleaded with them, I begged with them! Please don't let me do Top of the Pops with B. A. Robertson! Look what I got!"
B. A. Robertson. "I got on my knees [barely suppressed chuckle form Peter Powell], and they said you too can be on Top of the Pops. And I'm following in the line of other great guest presenters like... Attila the Hun, Dame Edna Everage, and Elton John.
Peter Powell. "[even more poorly suppressed chuckles] Uh... hopefully...!
B. A. Robertson. "Don't laugh."
Peter Powell. "Hopefully he'll disappear at some stage [B. A. Robertson does a comedy fall off camera] but if he doesn't we have got some great acts lined up for you [cut to shot of B. A. Robertson lying on the floor] and so let's take a look at what's on this weeks' show!"
The Barracudas: Summer Fun [37]. Oh. This is one of those performances that fails to come together. The song reminds me a little of Top Of The Pops by The Rezillos, but it's a lot less engaging. The Barracudas' lead singer turns in a frenzied performance but it's sloppy and under-rehersed. At one point he jumps forwards towards the crowd and by the time the cameraman has followed him and got a good shot the lead singer is off on his travels again. In the second verse he kneels down and is obscured behind the cymbals. Watch Bob Geldof performing The Boomtown Rats songs Like Clockwork or She's So Modern for a masterclass in how to give a charismatic and energetic performance. The Barracudas are not helped by the studio layout. The standing crowd at the front are having a great time, but the group in the tiered seating look bored and unengaged, and close-ups of the band are filled with a background of disinterested teenagers; like the old Top of the Pops audience of yore.


The Best of This Way Up

Articles, features and episode guides from the archives of This Way Up are collected together in a unique volume.

Classic children’s Tv: The Ghosts of Motley Hall,  The Feathered Serpent, Sky, Tom Grattan’s War, Richard Carpenter, Children’s and post Watch with Mother serials

Telefantasy: Strange, Firefly, Invasion Earth, Out of this World, Virtual Murder, 1990s telefantasy
Films: Alien, Handmade Films, Jaws, Duck Soup
TV: Nigel Kneale,  Second Coming, Phillip Saville, The Comic Strip Presents, Lives & Loves of a She Devil, Adverts
Theatre: War Horse, The Pillowman, RUR
Miscellany: Pluto, La Machine, Anatomy of a tv advert, The end of record shops and much more
Written by Tim Worthington, Sean Alexander, Oliver Wake, David Rolinson,Matt Salusbury, John Connors

Available in print or digital version from Amazon here Tomorrow Is Now or search on Amazon for Tomorrow Is Now

Excerpts after the break....


Doomwatch Sex and Violence & The Iron Doctor

The infamous banned episode that became part of the argument it discusses. It’s easy to see why it upset people in the 70s as some of the views espoused within Stuart Douglass’ dense script are more in tandem with ideas that were rarely debated till much later. That the opposition to a growing feeling that society was being swamped with pornography begat violence in itself is apparent in the early part of proceedings when Dr Tarrant is attacked as she tries to see a play rather amusingly titled `Do It`. Being a psychologist and also lately co-opted to a government committee reviewing such issues she wants to know why the woman attacked her. This leads to the meat of the episode in which the committee discuss the pros and cons of parent’s attitude to sexuality and how children can grow up ill equipped to properly deal with it. Heady stuff especially as the committee comprises a number of familiar television actors of the day more usually seen discussing less risqué matters. Bernard Horsfall, how could you have such views?!!


Summer In The City 2015

Last weekend Summer In The City the annual get together of YouTube vloggers and general Internet type people took place at London Excel on the Royal Victoria Dock with attendees from all over the world. Though the event has been going since 2009 it was only last year that the likes of the wider media (and me) heard of it as it should be. Now you can imagine vloggers saying “Oh it’s not the same since everyone’s talking about it now even that blog thiswayup.” Well they’re probably not saying exactly that but you know how it is when your niche interest becomes common currency. I felt the same when egg shell juggling went viral in 2010. Perhaps this is why a number of well known YouTubers did not attend this year? Or could it be that they are part of a rival event touring the UK later this year called AmityFest? Well the latter actually though you sense that once it broke into the mainstream media it lost some of its cache as an exclusive event. And where it not for the story of such giants in the field as Zoella and others not attending most news outlets did not seem as interested in it this time round. 


Top of the Pops 21 Aug 1980

Guest post by Chris Arnsby
Steve Wright: "Welcome to another enthralling edition of Top of the Pops. I'm Steve Wright and this here is Cliff Richard. "
Cliff Richard: [Neddie Seagoon voice] "Hello folks."
Steve Wright: "How come you always look so brown?"
Cliff Richard: "It's rust, mate."
Steve Wright: "Right, we'll get to that later. Let's have a look at what we've got on the show, shall we?"
Cliff Richard: "Right, why not mate?"
Nick Straker Band: A Walk In The Park [28]. This song has apparently been such a huge hit in Europe that Steve Wright needs to lay that fact on us twice. It's hard to see why. This is the most mundane song ever. "A walk in the park/I've got to get some sense back into my head/I'm in the dark/And I can't see where I'm being led." What's next a song about having a bath? Or letting in the cat? Or making some nice toast. "I'm making toast/I need something with beans for my tea/I don't mean to boast/But I'm good at making toast, me."


Doomwatch - Waiting for a Knighthood & Hair Trigger

So, since the last available episode this happened..

John Ridge went crazy and threatened world powers with a phial of anthrax, was sacked and is now in a psychiatric hospital. Both Fay and Hardcastle have vanished. Colin now gets out a lot more and Dr Quist has got married to Dr Tarrant and moved to the country. There are government spies in Doomwatch as well. It must be something in the water, or perhaps the petrol fumes?


Doctor Who - The Tale of the Africa 90

(Or at least the Nigeria 9!)
WARNING! This post does not include any new information about the location or future release dates of any missing episodes. Just in case you got too excited.

Africa 90 sounds a bit like the name of a football tournament but is actually the unofficial name given for a supposed haul of most of the missing episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria. It’s the most fluid Doctor Who related news story there’s been in years and by the time you read this it may well have changed again. It’s a tale of dangerous expeditions to Africa, of financial intrigue in the UK and of how key movers in the Doctor Who world can close ranks with surprising effect. It is about blatant denials from various sources. It’s a better plot than anything last season! The one immutable fact is that some of these episodes have seen the light of day. `Web of Fear` and `Enemy of the World` both containing previously missing episodes were made available in the autumn of 2013 first via iTunes and subsequently in 2014 on DVD.  The rest is less certain.


Top of the Pops 14 Aug 1980

Guest post by Chris Arnsby
Tommy Vance, "hi everybody. Good evening and welcome once again to Top of the Pops. My name's Tommy Vance and to help me on the programme tonight I've got the McVicar himself, Roger Daltrey, who's looking a bit miserable.
Roger Daltrey, "with good reason mate. With good reason."
Tommy Vance,"why?"
Roger Daltrey "I've come all the way here to see The Clash and now I find they're not on."
Tommy Vance, "well, we've got some great people on the show.
Roger Daltrey, "who have you got then?"
Ultravox: Sleepwalk [29]. The keyboard player in the black jacket needs some dancing lessons. His preferred move of thrusting his hips backwards and forwards makes it look like he is committing an indecent act with his keyboard.
David Bowie: Ashes To Ashes [4]. The two presenter format is floundering, and it's only week two. Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey plod through a spontaneous interview in which we learn that The Who have been on tour in Texas, and they have a new album out next year. Fascinating. After a brief discussion of the merits of David Bowie ("a great guy") Tommy Vance turns to camera and pulls a number out of thin air as he tells us that this "piece of film" [it's video Tommy Vance, don't you even know that? I do] "cost something like £40,000 to make". Wow! After that build up the video is going to have to be something special. Luckily it is.
"You're not going out dressed like that!"


Farewell Then, Arfur and 'Ar Cilla

Words on Cilla Black and George Cole
Two giants of classic tv died this week and yet I have barely seen any of their most acclaimed work. Not because I was snubbing them or anything, just that neither Blind Date nor Surprise, Surprise were the sort of shows I’d watch and I never saw Minder either. Yet both did do other things that I’ve always liked.


Agent Carter Bridge and Tunnel

Season 1 Episode 2

There’s a playfulness to `Bridge and Tunnel` even if it’s punctuated by occasional acts of violence. The focus is on chasing up leads from the events of the first episode and as such an opportunity to broaden out some of the characters a little using a touch of humour, much of it fairly dry as far as the other agents are concerned. When it comes to Peggy and Jarvis however the dynamic is wittier and reminiscent of the old 1960s Avengers wordy camaraderie. No matter that the positions here are reversed and it’s Peggy who takes the lead the result is that the series ups a notch when these two are together. 
Peggy goes undercover again


Doomwatch Public Enemy

In a sometimes powerful and occasionally odd episode, Patrick Alexander pens a missive to the future. By the time we reach a final speech that might have been written about global warming far more recently, `Public Enemy` manages to make a mark in excess of any other episode of the series so far. That it was written in the early 1970s when issues like these were a lot further down the political agenda is remarkable. 


Oh My Vlog!

Well you just never know what you can learn in a day do you? Today for example I discovered the number of years Tanya Burr had piano lessons, that Zoella’s grandad has an Instagram account with 25,000 followers, that Marcus Butler has a huge phobia about bees and how I can get 10K Likes.
Exhausted with such a haul of trivia my brain was only just about capable of playing the Web Celeb Trump Card game. Life is so simple when filtered through the pages of a teenage magazine. If you don’t know what I’m on about then allow me to introduce Oh My Vlog the hilariously monikered glossy pop style mag about vloggers. 
What you ask is the point about such an interactive of the moment media having a magazine about it but these people are taking to more traditional media nowadays. Several of them have books coming out. Dan and Phil have ended up with a regular Radio One show. So they are very much the pop stars of the day and glossy magazine coverage is the logical outcome. Oh My Vlog caused quite a stir if not a buzz last week with people initially believing it to be a hoax. Having now read it I can confirm that if I wasn’t already aware of some of the people in it I would consider it a hoax too.