Top of the Pops 3 July 1986

Introduced by Chris Arnsby. [3] The Housemartins: Happy Hour. Janice Long. “Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops and here, in the studio, at number three with Happy Hour. It is, The Housemartins.” London 0, Hull 4 is written on the front of Hugh Whitaker's drum kit (a sneaky bit of promotion for their album), and he's rooted around in his wardrobe to find a 1984 model FRANKIE SAYS ARM THE UNEMPLOYED t-shirt. There's more sneaky promotion for fellow Go! Discs artist Billy Bragg who makes it on to Top of the Pops, sort of. Stan Cullimore's t-shirt features the cover of Levi Stubbs', Tears Bragg's new single.

Down at the front, the audience are waving THE HOUSEMARTINS banners. Last spotted back in December 1983 when they were issued to the crowd for Slades' performance of Me Oh My, although those banners had SLADE printed on them obviously. What are the logistics of this? Are they paid for by Top of the Pops or the record company? The SLADE banners were pretty crummy, thin strips of plastic with SLADE printed only on one side. These are a much higher quality. Double-sided printing, and solid enough that the text on the far side doesn't bleed through; unlike the one-sided SLADE banners which caught the light and made it look like the audience had been issued with banners that read EDALS (but mirrored).

Someone's spent a lot of money today.


Janice Long. “Housemartins four, Top of the Pops nil. They are Hull heroes. Check out the album, it's also at number three. Here's Gary Numan and I can't stop.”

[27] Gary Numan: I Can’t Stop. On video.
[12] Samantha Fox: Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me). Janice Long introduces Samantha Fox flanked by Housemartins. Hugh Whitaker has covered up his Frankie t-shirt and is waving one of the banners. The other three waft their hands around Janice's face and grin self-consciously as she comments that they are her “biggest fans.”

Norman Cook looks like he smells something nasty as Fox's name is mentioned and he copies Stan Cullimore's thumbs down gesture. Not fans then, boys? Or are they referencing the classical Roman use of the gesture to signify approval? Sam Fox appears on the pentagram-decorated Beezlebub stage (maybe Norman Cook was reacting to the smell of sulphur) and serves up three minutes of lukewarm Kim Wilde. Amusingly someone on the production team appears to be worried about the Satanic look of the stage, and perspex shapes have been attached round the frame to try and break up the symbol of the evil one.

Top 40 Charts. The studio audience suddenly cheer as the chart count down passes number 18. Could it be because the next act have taken the stage in studio.

[19] Claire & Friends: It’s ‘Orrible Being In Love When You’re 8 ½. Another Top 40 record from the St Winifred's Roman Catholic Primary School which must surely be the UK equivalent of the New York High School of Performing Arts.

[8] Bucks Fizz: New Beginning. On video.

[23] Sly Fox: Let’s Go All The Way. Clare & Friends got a considerably kinder and more indulgent response from the audience than the song deserved. Sly Fox are also greeted with whoops and cheers of approval, but at least the pair are working hard for them. However, despite trotting out all their slickest moves they can't get the audience to copy the “wind it up” gesture used on the chorus.

Praise needs to go to the camera operator who also pulls off a very stylish move at the start of the performance. The camera begins focused on the holes in a circular grating. Then the grating defocuses revealing we were looking at an extreme close up of a piece of scenery, and as the focus continues to shift we see Sly Fox standing on a stage across the studio with their backs to the camera. Swish.

Top 10 Charts. Another big audience cheer from the studio is allowed to bleed into the charts, they really like Madonna at number two.

[1] Wham!: Where Did your Heart Go. Last week Mike Smith confidently asserted that we were about to watch “their last Top of the Pops as Wham!” and yet the pair are here again to perform side two of their double A-side single. However, listen carefully to Janice and she reveals the truth. This performance was “especially recorded for Top of the Pops.” and must have been taped as part of the studio session for the 26/06/1986 edition.

This second Wham! Performance is also recorded on the main stage, but the background neon lights have been turned off and the lighting is more subdued to reflect the slower song.

[26] Art Of Noise & Max Headroom: Paranoimia. To say goodbye Janice is joined by Clare & Friends, who are have more Housemartins banners draped round their necks. It's a chance to get a proper look at the things and it tuns out they are proper scarves, none of your plastic or paper tat. THE HOUSEMARTINS is printed on one side and LONDON 0 HULL 4 on the other. It must have been pretty expensive to buy loads of these for the studio recording. No wonder Go! Discs later closed down.

Simon Bates hosts next week. The background to the credits is the same blurry shot of blue and purple neon we've seen for the last couple of weeks.

Performance of the week: The Housemartins: Happy Hour.


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