The Extra Day!

How will you spend 2020’s Extra Day on Saturday? Leap years have to happen every four years (with the exception of centurial years like 2000) otherwise we’d lose six hours per annum and eventually end up with no time at all! Well, not literally of course. This addition ensures the Gregorian calendar remains in alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the Sun and was originally the idea of Julius Caesar.  So we have this extra day of 29 February though presumably it could be any day and you could have a June 31st or July 32nd. People whose birthday is on 29 February usually celebrate in the intervening non Leap Years either on 28 February or 1 March. And they endlessly think that saying they're only 8 or something is funny. It’s a bit odd we call this a Leap Year as it has an extra day in it rather than one day less but the name refers to the fact that other events `leap` over a day.


Top of the Pops 14 Feb 1985

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Janice Long: “Hi funsters. Tonight you can rave with Killing Joke, we've got The Colour Field, and also The Smiths.” Simon Bates: “And also we've got, to start with, Dead Or Alive and you spin me round.”

[19] Dead Or Alive: You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). Check out Pete Burns, the old snake hips. He's wiggling his body and arms to create an effect like a human sine wave. Occasionally he also spins round (like a record baby). Also watch out for the BBC camera operator with the most boring job in the world. He's assigned to crouch motionless at the side of the stage and point his camera at drummer Steve Coy. The sum total of this work is three brief shots. Disappointingly we don't get to see the camera operator hobble off stage with a dead leg after contorting himself uncomfortably for three minutes. He leaves before the closing wide shot of the performance, presumably to stand behind the scenery and wait for the pins and needles to fade.


Space 1999 - War Games

You can tell from the title that this episode is not going to play quite as expected but in terms of resolution it cleverly keeps the viewer guessing until the very last scene. It opens in terrific fashion with an attack on Alpha seemingly coming from a nearby planet which the Alphans have been considering for potential colonisation. The attack devastates the base and the production team obviously must have had a lot of fun blowing everything up. There are explosions galore, collapsing joists, falling cables spitting sparks, the whole caboodle. We’re later told that 128 people were killed in the attack which must be something like half the crew. The effects team have a field day with the devastation caused by the attacks during the episode, most impressively when the structure of the buildings is breached personnel are pulled out into space without any trace of how this is done. Some people have spotted cut out Eagles and shots taken from other episodes but the impact of the whole thing together is really powerfully done. 


Birds of Prey review

The colourful adventures of Harley Quinn continue in this sort of sequel to Suicide Squad which paints a familiar yet still entertaining picture of the criminal underworld of Gotham. As a narrative it works hard to disguise its similarity to sundry other movies with time shifts and rather a lot of narration but succeeds largely due to a winning performance from Margot Robbie. Given that Harley is not exactly the most law abiding of people it is her spirited acting and the film’s sense of anarchic fun which enables Birds of Prey fly.


Top of the Pops 7 Feb 1985

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Richard Skinner: "Welcome along to Top of the Pops, and it's truly action-packed to capacity." Gary Davies: "If you want to know how to fit in 21 songs in 40 minutes just stick around. We've got hit after hit after hit." Richard Skinner: "Starting with this one. This is King and Love And Pride."
[2] King: Love And Pride: 21 songs in 40 minutes sounds like a disaster in the making. That's *counts on toes* 1 minute 54 seconds per song. Love And Pride runs 3 minutes and 20 seconds so if they play that in full it leaves only 1 minute 49 seconds for each of the remaining 20 songs.
I should stop whining about the new format. The Top 40 Breakers and Top Ten Countdown are obviously not going anywhere. What lingers is the memory of the terrible first week when the Top Ten Countdown so imbalanced the programme that it took up 85% of the running time. (All figures have been verified by the department of hard sums at Heidelberg University.)
To Michael Hurll's credit, the new format has been tightened up considerably. Tonight's edition features four studio performances and three full videos, which is comparable to the good old days of 1984. However, tonight's edition also runs for 40 minutes. In a couple of weeks the programme will be crammed into a 30 minute slot as part of Michael Grades' relaunch of BBC1. Is it going to start feeling rushed?
King get a very positive response from the studio audience. 1985 is clearly going to be a good year for them, and a quick search of BBC Genome shows that Paul King will be cropping up across assorted BBC programmes; most notably King at Hammersmith Odeon on BBC2 on 9th July.


Ad Break #17 Ridiculous 5G Graham

First Choice- “Ridiculous”

You know how on holiday you sometimes see Queen Cleopatra feeding prawns to a dummy that looks just like her? Well, it is now represented in a great new ad from holiday company First Choice. Part of TUI, they were previously known for offering all- inclusive deals covering all costs including meals and drinks but have now repositioned themselves as a low-cost holiday provider. The ad focusses on that low price and starts conventionally with a sunbed reclining couple commenting on how cheap their holiday was. “It’s ridiculous!” says the wife. Cue a succession of `ridiculous` sequences.  A boy blows a blast of sound from a conch causing doves to fly outwards; a man rises out of the swimming pool playing a drum kit made of water melons. A woman dressed as Cleopatra feeds prawns to a ventriloquist’s dummy version of herself while something is carried by a parrot in the background. A merman is shot out of a cannon; and two sumo wrestlers have a pillow fight while suspended in mid -air by helium balloons. All this takes place against the introduction to the old Tight Fit version of `The Lion Sleeps Tonight` It’s my new favourite ad!


Top of the Pops 31 Jan 1985

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Janice Long: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops. Tonight it's a wee bit shorter than usual but there's loads and loads of stuff in it." Peter Powell: " And for starters a band who you must look out for in 85! They're going to be so big! They're called the Big Sound Authority and this is This House!" 
[36] Big Sound Authority: This House (Is Where Your Love Stands). A 30 minute edition, as opposed to the standard 40. Top of the Pops is cut short by evening coverage  of the Benson and Hedges Masters second quarter-final of boring old snooker. But that's not all! The unbreakable back-to-back pairing of Tomorrow's World and Top of the Pops has been broken asunder. Top of the Pops has come adrift and is currently going out as late as it ever did; 7.50pm in the evening! Paul Daniels' quiz Odd One Out is awkwardly inserted between Tomorrow's World and Top of the Pops. In this schedule Paul Daniels is the odd one out. And what's going to happen when the six week run of Odd One Out comes to an end? Stay tuned! Big Sound Authority are destined not to be as big in 85 as Peter Powell predicted. I'm surprised this song hasn't been used as the soundtrack to a building society advert.


Space 1999- The Full Circle & End of Eternity

The Full Circle 
A curious and atypical episode that teeters on the precipice between being interesting yet unintentionally amusing. While you can sense the big reveal a long way off the journey there sees the series abandon much of its usual technology dominated sequences for some basic running around and screaming. It is bold and sometimes gripping but also bizarre. You do have to feel sorry for Koenig and co though as every planet they encounter gives them nothing but trouble and Retha is no exception. As the episode opens there’s already a reconnaissance team down there on the promisingly Amazon like surface but they’ve vanished and Koenig, Helena and others go down to look for them. One by one they disappear till there’s only a somewhat terrified Sandra huddling in an Eagle in what is a great performance from Zienia Merton. Of course in ignorance of horror film etiquette she only goes and opens the door.