Top of the Pops 23 and 30 Jan 1986

Presented by Chris Arnsby. 23/01/1986.
Paul Jordan: “Hello and welcome to another Top of the Pops and tell me something, have you ever seen this man's face on the television before?”
Mike Smith: “I doubt it very much indeed. A wonderful line up coming your way tonight and a new number one. We start off with a band who have flown back specially from Germany, from Hamburg, to be with us tonight. The Alarm. The Spirit Of '76.

[22] The Alarm: Spirit Of '76. This is a fallow edition of Top of the Pops. I nearly skipped writing it up because none of the studio performances are great*. Nana Mouskouri's going to get Performance of the Week so you can stop reading now, if you want. The Alarm make their second return to Top of the Pops in three years (that's how popular they are). I note The Alarm's last appearance on 22/09/1983 edition was also introduced with a story about the band's globe-trotting ways. Simon Bates launched into an unlikely story about the band being stopped by a US cop wielding a telegram summoning the group back to the UK to appear urgently on Top of the Pops. I suspect The Alarm don't actually travel anywhere. They just make up these globe-trotting stories to sound cool. The Alarm's last song was called 68 Guns. Are they only allowed to release songs with numbers in the title? And what is the spirit of '76? Is it something to do with those swarms of ladybirds that got everywhere?


 [12] Eurythmics: It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back). On video.

[8] Nana Mouskouri: Only Love. Preceded by another plug for the British Record Industry Awards. Vote for your favourite video by a British act (by postcard, natch) and remember to tune in to BBC1, 7.30pm on Monday 10th February, to see the winner. It's a simultaneous broadcast with Radio 1 so, as The Radio Times tells us, “viewers with stereo Radio 1 may wish to turn off TV sound and position their speakers on either side of the screen, but a few feet away. Stereo headphones provide a suitable alternative.)” Afterwards, turn over to BBC2 at 9pm for the fifth episode of Comrade Dad and finally, as Mike Smith has to remind us, please don't vote for Take On Me because A-Ha are Norwegian and not even part of the EEC.
Greece is part of the EEC, and so Nana Mouskouri is allowed to appear on Top of the Pops under Treaty of Rome rules. It's a fair trade, we've sent Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley to sing The Phantom Of The Opera on Κορυφή των Pops.
Only Love was the theme for the CBS miniseries Mistral's Daughter which aired over three nights on ITV, starting 01/01/1986, and presumably accounts for the song rocketing up the charts. It's a game performance, her only one on Top of the Pops in a 50+ year career, but it's notable that the audience are not particularly engaged.

Top 40 Charts.
Top 40 Breakers: [15]
Madonna, Borderline; [20] Grace Jones, Pull Up To The Bumper; [21] Sarah Brightman & Steve Harley, The Phantom Of The Opera.

Top 10 Charts

[1] A-Ha: The Sun Always Shines On TV. Morten and the boys have dressed formally to mark their first number one but Paul Waaktaar-Savoy has sneakily taken off his bow tie and is now going about with his shirt open at the collar. He's clearly the rebel of the group.

[13] Five Star: System Addict. Audience dancing and credits, and on my downloaded off-air copy a sudden fuzz of static into a brief image of “dirty” Den on the telephone. Next week, it's Gary Davies and Janice Long.

*except A-Ha, obviously.
Performance of the week: *shrugs* Nana Mouskouri.

Janice Long: “Hi it's your weekly dose of pop. Now a few weeks ago on my show we had a competition where people could design outfits for Gary and I to wear on Top of the Pops. Now Gary's has been designed by Dot Jackson, mine by Andrew Divenham (?). I shall give you a twirl. Will you please twirl?”Gary Davies: “Yes, I'll twirl.”
Janice Long: “We're not the perfect models but who cares?
Gary Davies: “Yeah I don't care. Listen, these are the clothes right now let's get on with the music. The highest new entry... no the highest climber on the chart this week, up 22 places to number six, Billy Ocean, When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going.”

[6] Billy Ocean: When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going. Gary Davies looks marginally worse than Janice Long. Gary is wearing a long tail coat, pin-striped in charcoal grey on black. It's too long for his torso and makes him look like a kid dressing up in his dad's clothes. Janice comes off slightly better in what can only be described as a trouser suit with the jacket snipped away at the midriff to awkwardly expose her white shirt and braces. It would have been funnier if the pair had swapped. Billy Ocean's band are all sensibly dressed in full Man at C&A style; although someone should have talked the saxophonist out of buying that nasty dark green jumper patterned with red and blue triangles. Billy Ocean, and the rest of his street there as well,” says Gary Davies afterwards, referring to the eight other people on stage who are required to help Billy Ocean get the “you” of the song to give him love, in the old-fashion way.

[4] Madonna: Borderline. On video

[22] Talk Talk: Life's What You Make It. “Watch the drummer,” he's brilliant says Janice Long. I can't, he only gets three close-ups but he certainly looks energetic bouncing around in the background, or disappearing off the side of the screen as the camera pans (Fact John- Lee Harris was the drummer with TalkTalk and later formed a group called Orang). One of those three close-ups involves a breach of Top of the Pops screen protocol. Close to the very start of the performance, the first time we get a shot of the stage through the screen next to Mark Hollis, a hand held camera operator runs right towards camera and positions himself in front of the drums. Executive Producer Michael Hurll seemed to have a problem with the technical crew appearing on screen and this would definitely make him purse his lips, but while the cat's away Producer Brian Whitehouse will play. Five years since they were last on Top of the Pops,” comments Gary Davies, and he's nearly right. They last appeared in 1982. However, they appeared on Top of the Pops before Gary Davies joined Radio 1 in December 1982, and so belong to the hazy before time which Gary Davies always refers to as “five years since...”

Top 40 Charts.

Top 40 Breakers. [19] James Brown, Living In America; [17] Simple Minds, Sanctify Yourself.

[15] Grace Jones, Pull Up To The Bumper. On video. “If this is about driving then I'm the Queen of England,” says her majesty Janice Long. “Pull up to my bumper baby/ In your long black limousine/ Pull up to my bumper baby/ And drive it in between.” You know what, if this is about driving then I think I might be the Queen of England.

[8] Fine Young Cannibals, Suspicious Minds. More silly leg action. I'm sure they are doing it on purpose. Everyone's wearing gold lamé suits.

Top 10 Charts.

[1] A-ha: The Sun Always Shines On TV. On video. The boys need a break. We're five weeks into 1986 and A-ha have already appeared three times in studio.

[30] Kurtis Blow: If I Ruled The World. Audience dancing. Tonight's show was introduced by “Gary Davis,” according to the credits which means next week will be Simon Bats and Paul Jordan.
Performance of the week: Fine Young Cannibals, Suspicious Minds. (John- I’ve decided it’s Talk Talk, Life’s What You Make It, as it is one of the best singles ever!)


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