Presented by Chris Arnsby. 17 July:  Steve Winwood: Higher Love. Mike Smith. “Good evening and welcome to Top of the Pops from Television Centre in London. Let's start this week's show with a man at number fourteen in the charts. It's Steve Winwood and Higher Love”.
This Mike Smith show went unrepeated on BBC4 because of his never resolved contract dispute with the BBC. It's an off-air recorded in 1986 and it hasn't gone through the modern photosensitive epilepsy compliance process. Maybe I was tired when I watched this episode but it felt particularly hard on the eyes. Steve Winwood appears on the main Top of the Pops stage; the one with the hideous new (ish) neon logo to stage left. The space behind this stage is where the Floor Manager sometimes arranges Cheerleaders but on this occasion they've been replaced by a couple of spinning light poles. When the light poles shine directly into the camera the entire picture whites out and the abrupt change in contrast from the normal dark, smokey studio is noticeable.
I don't recall previous
Mike Smith episodes being this squint-inducing. Maybe the studio is a bit
darker than usual, or there's more smoke, or maybe this episode has been
encoded differently; who knows. It's the first time I've noticed and been
grateful for the process which reduces the contrast of the BBC4 repeats. I
don't normally need to watch Top of the Pops with a paracetamol chaser.
It turns out my nan was right. Too much telly really is bad for my eyes.