Top of the Pops 28 Oct 1982

Watched by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: "Hello. It's Halloween night on Top of the Pops so we've got a party here. Why not join us? Here's three ladies from New York called Raw Silk and Do It To The Music."

In 1982 Halloween fell a mere three days from the traditional Thursday night slot of Top of the Pops. What better excuse for a zany Halloween themed show? Producer Brian Whitehouse sets the tone by having Simon Bates burst out of a sarcophagus. It takes two people to open the sarcophagus for him and the process startles a woman dressed in white who jumps as the disc jockey emerges. Evidentially she was expecting someone else. (John- Or she was amazed that an ancient Egyptian King looked exactly like Simon Bates!)

[33] Raw Silk: Do It To The Music. The audience are dressed as witches, and ghoulies, and draculas. It's bonkers! One audience member is carrying 1982's must-have accessory, a cardboard werewolf on a stick. Several members of the audience are dressed in long flapping white sheets as ghosts. This is a bad idea in a space filled with trip hazards and swooping camera's bristling with bits to snag loose fabric. Simon Bates' open sarcophagus (not a sentence I expected to write this year) can be seen rocking backwards and forwards behind Raw Silk as it's jostled by the dancing crowd. It looks disturbingly like someone is trapped within and trying to escape. Which is at least appropriate for Halloween.


The Culture of Celebrity

One of the main aspirations a lot of people apparently have today is to become famous. Sometimes they’re not even sure what they would like to be famous for just that they covet the idea of celebrity and it’s no wonder. We celebrate celebrity like never before but it is a double edged sword for those we deem to have reached that plateau. Yes you can become famous for not very much these days but if you put one step out of line, if you Tweet something controversial or even worse do something controversial you will find your platform of celebrity whisked from underneath you by a welter of public outrage. That coupled with people’s generally lower attention span and desire for new things means that for many celebs- especially those without any discernible talent other than their personality- the journey is swift, the rise meteoric, the fall brutal.
The 2017 I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here stars: Does anyone know them all though?


Justice League

Considering all the flak Justice League had had hurled towards it my expectations were fairly low however while far from perfect this is an enjoyable enough big budget movie best seen in a cinema. It still seems far too soon for these avengers to assemble when only one of them has had their own film but given those limitations the results are better than expected with some interesting script ideas and well delivered action.

Spoilers past this point


W1A Series 3

It’s about the BBC but really W1A’s pin sharp observations of corporate behaviour would fit many a business.  Set mostly in the bizarrely colourful New Broadcasting House which is replete with gaudy impractical furniture and rooms named after television icons, the series follows the travails of Ian Fletcher the BBC’s head of Values as he tries – in the benignly careworn manner only Hugh Bonneville is so skilled at conveying – to steady the accident prone Corporation through the choppy waters of a landscape it is ill suited to exist in. There is a lot of truth in the narrative of the show if you choose to notice but it is also gloriously funny. 


Top of the Pops 21 Oct 1982

Watched by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hello! Welcome to another edition of Top of the Pops! We've got Toyah! We've got Bauhaus! We've got Kool And The Gang! And we've got a new number one! But for openers it's The Piranhas and Zambezi!"
[37] The Piranhas: Zambezi. Top of the Pops is in full wacky party mode tonight. Check out the audience cheerleader dressed early for Halloween as a skeleton. The Piranhas are keen to join in for their first studio appearance in two years. Lead singer Bob Grover is dressed as Dennis the Menace, complete with a copy of The Beano sticking out of his pocket. The backing singers are done up as school girls. And the drummer is wearing a magnificent colourful budgie costume, lovely plumage. It puts to shame the lousy dead-eyed efforts The Tweets wore in 1981. (John- Brilliantly the lyrics include the line “Zambezi, Zambezi, Zambezi, Zam.”)


The John Lewis Xmas Advert

Well I’m not sure I get the new one actually. So child imagines monster under the bed, then becomes friends with it, then imagines he’s going to get it for Xmas and then gets something else and he’s fine with that. Mmm, its not a patch on that penguin one nor as playful as last year’s bouncing dog one. I sense a sixth album syndrome kicking in where expectation outweighs anything that anyone could possibly produce. I can also visualise a more surreal version where it turns out that this is all in the head of the monster and the last frame is of him opening a present in which there is a model of the child. Or is that too creepy for Xmas?


Top of the Pops 23 Sept & 14 Oct 1982

Watched by Chris Arnsby. 23/09/1982
John Peel: " Hello millions of humble admirers and welcome to another Top of the Pops. We've got a lot of treats for you, one rather a special treat. David Christie doesn't sound like a very French name, but French he is, here he is at number nine."
[9] David Christie: Saddle Up. The director (this week it's Brian Whitehouse again) has worked out a kind of walk-down routine for some of the Top of the Pops cheerleaders. At the start of the show they stand adoringly around John Peel and then as the camera pulls back they follow it and dance down to where David Christie has been set up on a podium. The move has a theatrical look that seems a little too stylised for Top of the Pops. Still, it's a very swish camera move. The crane pulls back and around David Christie to give us a wide shot of the studio. Eric Wallis is on Lighting, and he gives us a studio filled with pools of light and shadow. It looks great. Unfortunately someone has positioned the Zoo dancers (wearing skimpy cowboy outfits, natch) in shadow so their efforts go largely unseen.
[17] Fat Larry's Band: Zoom. Fat Larry has been hitting the rhyming dictionary hard. Boom/moon (a bit of a cheat). Rang/sang. Away/play. But wait. What's this? Bloom/wonderland. Why that doesn't rhyme a bit. Luckily the next line is whack/back and the natural order of things is restored. Wikipedia tells me this song was featured in the 1982 Only Fools And Horses Christmas special Diamonds Are For Heather, which would probably have started production around the time this episode aired. Someone is playing around with the caption generator at the end of the song. They've rigged the band name to appear vertically one word at a time with each word a different line; each word is also repeated horizontally across the screen. Unfortunately this means the first thing to appear is FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT.....


Thor: Ragnarok

The previous two Thor films struggled to match their Marvel contemporaries seeming over reliant on eye popping CGI effects and mythological gobbledegook while being somewhat portentous. They were great to watch on a big screen once but didn’t leave much of a deep impression afterwards. This third outing lightens the mood considerably bringing fun into the franchise and hurling our hero into fresh territory. The dialogue is zingy and packed with amusing asides meaning the film is never at risk of taking itself too seriously. This all does mean it is somewhat similar to Guardians of the Galaxy but that’s a good thing right?
Spoilers beyond this point