Top of the Pops 4 Dec 1980

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Peter Powell: "Hello! And welcome to another edition of Top of the Pops! You're very welcome as always on a Thursday! Got a great show lined up for you, not only musically but also one or two personalities popping in! But for starters let's just take a look at some of the personalities on the show tonight!"
Eddy Grant: Do You Feel My Love? [9]. A repeat from a D*v* L** Tr*v*s presented edition originally shown on 20/11/1980. Eddy Grant spends a lot of time flicking his head from side to side and generally giving the impression of someone who has spent a lot of time in front of a mirror working out how to get the most out of his dreadlocks.
Neil Diamond: Love On The Rocks [27]. Bland. A poor choice of camera angle means that Neil Diamond spends a lot of time obscured behind a giant microphone in this promo film. The BBC's powerful new caption generator is put into overdrive and the word Diamond flies onto screen at the end, in a diamond shape.

Jona Lewie: Stop The Cavalry [15]. I can't begin to be objective about this song. I loved it so much as a kid that it remains the only song I ever wrote and requested be played on the radio. That was in June the following year. I wrote in because I'd noticed with my keen powers of observation that the song seemed to be played less and less as the summer came closer. Still, luckily I was on the case and reversed that trend. I got the song played. Away from all that personal nostalgia, here's a small mystery. At the start of the programme Jona Lewie is shown grinning self-consciously and half-heartedly walking on the spot; a shot which doesn't appear in the actual performance. Presumably the clip at the start of the programme comes from the rehearsal?
Kenny Rogers: Lady [22]. It's time for Legs & Co. This routine starts with a filmed shot of a knight riding his horse along a beach. Have Legs & Co been sent to Camber Sands to film their routine on location in December? Sadly not. The picture cross fades to Legs & Co all dressed as the Lady of Shalott. Lady is a slow song so here come the ballet style moves and everyone has to put on an expression of mild digestive discomfort to convey inner torment and sadness.
AC/DC: Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution [17]. It certainly isn't.
St. Winifred's Girls School Choir: There’s No-One Quite Like Grandma [16]. And here it is. Can there be anything left to say about this song that hasn't already been done to death when discussing Top-Ten-Best-Of-The-Worst-Novelty-One-Hit-Wonder-Songs-That-Kept-Something-Else-Off-The-Number-One-Spot? Well, a couple of weeks ago I mistakenly said the clip of Peter Powell introducing this song while looking like his soul had died was taken from the Top of the Pops Christmas Special; it isn't, it came from here. Obviously I don't want to give away all my A-Grade material when writing about this song, not if I still want to stand a chance of becoming a television talking head and all-round media sensation, but I will say that if you swap the word love for hate when singing this song then the result is instant hilarity; at least it is if you are eight and in the playground.
The Boomtown Rats: Banana Republic [3]. Mike Oldfield nips into the Top of the Pops studio; wearing a green terrycloth onesie. Then it's time for Bob Geldof to use the word whore on prime time BBC1. Oh I say! Sylvia Sims is on next on Blankety Blank, there's no need to expose her to language like that. Meanwhile in the audience a Monty Python's Flying Circus fan wears a t-shirt with the word spam written on the back.
Top Ten Countdown: The BBC caption generator is given another workout. The words Top Ten stay on screen throughout the countdown, and cycle through all the colours of the BBC rainbow. Singles represented by clips are not given a caption, while those represented with a still picture are captioned with both the singer and the song; and the caption rotates around the horizontal axis! Maximum power! Why do some songs get a photograph and others a clip? Why is the video for Banana Republic used to provide a clip rather than taking one from the Boomtown Rats studio performance this week? How come Eddy Grant's clip is taken from his studio performance? Aargh! Where's the logic? Here's my Anne Elk style theory. The top ten is edited before the programme is recorded so that the presenter can talk over the top of the footage, this is cheaper and quicker in the long run because it reduces the need for editing in post-production. The Boomtown Rats clip in the top ten comes from the promo video because that was the only source available at the time. The same is true for Stephanie Mills and Blondie. John Lennon, Kool & The Gang, Dennis Waterman, et al did not produce videos or promo films for their songs which is why they only get a still picture. Eddy Grant gets a performance clip because it was a repeat from the 20/11/1980 show which was called up from the archives. Ok, but hang on, Dennis Waterman and Kool & The Gang also appeared in the 20/11/1980 so how come the editor didn't nab a clip from their performances to illustrate their singles? Well, probably because that week Dennis Waterman and Kool & The Gang appeared on Top of the Pops courtesy of repeated clips from the 06/11/1980 edition and the BBC probably has complicated rules about how many copies of copies of videotapes can be taken before the picture quality is deemed unacceptable for broadcast. [deep breath]. Got that? It's serfectly pimple. And probably also wrong. I'll bet I've thought about this way more than anyone did at the time.
Number One: Abba, Super Trouper. Somewhere out there is a man whose claim to fame is that he is the person turning the light to camera in the Super Trouper promo film. I wonder if he got to meet Abba?
Closing Titles: Diana Ross, I’m Coming Out [13].
Performance of the week: Jona Lewie: Stop The Cavalry.

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