Top of the Pops 29 May 1986

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. [3] Doctor & The Medics: Spirit In The Sky. Janice Long. “Hi-ya. Welcome to a live Top of the Pops and would you please welcome, at number 3, Doctor and the Medics and Spirit in the Sky.” Doctor and the Medics have been upgraded to the main stage. It gives them a little more room. Last time The Anadin Brothers (that's the two pale Kabuki-esque dancers/backing singers) had to work awkwardly around the drummer, this time they've got more space.

The band have all dressed in white. Henry Barber is Lighting Director again, and he avoids colouring the band with lighting. Instead he illuminates the foreground audience with constantly changing colours and keeps the background dark. This allows for some great panning shots with the band standing out against the dark background, as the audience pulse from red to purple to green and blue. The exception to all this is the drummer. He looks like the Hulk because he's been sat right on top of a green spotlight. I guess Henry thought it looked nice.


John Peel. “That's Doctor and the Medics, could be number one next week you know Janice. Actually he's from Liverpool, the Doctor.” (Fact John- he was born in Knotty Ash, home of Sir Kenneth of Dodd)
Janice Long. “As we are.” John Peel. “That's right another Merseyside double.” Janice Long. “And Pete Wylie, he's on the show, he's from Liverpool. The Real Thing. They're on the show, and they're from Liverpool. And tonight, Top of the Pops, live.”  John Peel. “Here's Robert Palmer, don't know where he comes from.” (Fact John- He were born in Batley, lad.)

[10] Robert Palmer: Addicted To Love. On video, followed by the “a dickhead in love,” line from John Peel.

[22] The Real Thing: Can't Get By Without You. If I were in The Real Thing I'd insist the lead singer stood in the middle. Standing on the end, as he does, means the other three are barely seen or crop up in the back of shots. The two people in the middle approach Andrew Ridgeley levels of obscurity, they both get one close-up each. Brian Whitehouse is given the Produced and Directed by credit this week. He'll be here pretty much consistently until the end of August (apart from 07/08/1986 when Stanley Appel barges in). I'd be hard pushed to describe any real difference in style between Michael Hurll and Brian Whitehouse, except that Whitehouse seems keener on the use of handheld cameras. During The Real Thing's performance there are two cuts to a handheld camera looking down from one of the scaffolding bridges. It's a striking image because almost a two thirds of the picture is blocked by the silhouette of a dancing audience member.

What's Michael Hurll off doing this time? Pre-production on the 1986 series of The Late-Late Breakfast Show, possibly, and tending to a new arrival in his Light Entertainment Empire Roland Rat – The Series. Both of which would sandwich series 23 of Doctor Who in September.

Top 40 Charts. John Peel is in a feisty mood. He must have had oysters in the BBC Canteen. “Now for what I understand you youngsters call those 'boss' new sounds” is how he introduces the Breakers.

Boss actually has a long history as a synonym for excellent. It's first recorded use comes in John Rogers Commons · A Documentary history of American industrial society · 1910–1911. “ I am a boss shoemaker,” from 1836.

Top 40 Breakers. [21] Nu Shooz, I Can’t Wait. “In which Evangeline looks inside her coffee machine for terrorists,” a bit of whimsy from Peel or a topical reference to event lost in the mists of time? I don't know. It makes Janice Long laugh; [18] Cashflow, Mine All Mine.

[13]  Tears For Fears: Everybody Wants To Run The World. On video, recorded at the athletics track in Battersea Park.

[20] Pete Wylie: Sinful. I don't think those are real nuns. The trio of sexy nuns rather overshadow the good work by Pete Wylie and Josie Jones. Peel is a fan, “if that doesn't get to number one I'm going to come and break wind in your kitchen.” Mary Whitehouse complained, about the nuns not the threat of flatulence.

[1] Spitting Image: The Chicken Song. Back on video. I've been watching television with the windows open recently because of the hot weather. I turned down the volume for The Chicken Song, as much as I like it, because I don't want the neighbours to hear.

[4] Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer. Video and closing credits. Simon Bates and Gary Davies next week.

Performance of the Week: Pete Wylie, Sinful


DARK NATURE by John Connors

The fifth children’s / YA novel in the Heart of the World series set in and around the small English village of Rooksbourne which sits above the world’s elemental energy. Deep inside the mountain known as Devil’s Peak, a group of misfit scientists’ amazing plan to solve ecological problems is threatened by an elemental menace with dangerously different ideas. As Tom Allenby tries to stop this new threat to mankind, he faces the most serious peril of his fifteen year old life. Things will never be the same again. In his toughest, most personal adventure yet can Tom save the world and those closest to him? Or will humanity fall to the storm of the century?

Available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats here

For details of other novels in the series go to: www.johnconnorswriter.com



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