Top of the Pops 2 October 1986


Presented by Chris Arnsby. Mike Smith: “Welcome to the most heavily lacquered TV programme on the air. Will Michelle change her mind? Find out in half an hour. Until then let's go to the lofty heights... of Top of the Pops and OMD!”

[11] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: (Forever) Live And Die. Mike Smith starts October, which means this episode wasn't shown on BBC4. It's available to download in two flavours from the super-secret super-horde at https://mega.nz/folder/h0snQACa#uiNNqosfbdrfzODHsE1clw/folder/phc3iYCY

There's a copy direct from the BBC archive (good picture quality) or off-air (lower resolution but with a glimpse of the old BBC1 computer generated globe). Take your choice. Mike Smith, like a lot of the hosts, chooses to riff on the latest happenings in Albert Square. Tonight's comment relates to the never-ending saga of Lofty and Michelle. The Eastenders Wikipedia is here to help; Tuesday 30 September “Michelle tells Arthur she cannot go through with the wedding so he takes her home..” Ahh. Poor Lofty. (John- Wasn’t he even a tiny bit peeved by this?)

Let's have a look at the plot summary for the 2 October episode, “Ethel slips on the stairs of The Queen Vic carrying an avocado pear in a vinaigrette sauce.” That's not what I was expecting. Let's try again, “Kath has made Pete a new jumper on her knitting machine.” One last chance, maybe I'll try reading the top line. “Michelle and Lofty sit alone in their respective rooms” this sounds more like it, “she's plagued by a series of well-meaning visitors,” do go on, “he plays the tape of Wicksy's song continually.” Ugh. Wicksy's song is, of course, the third fourth worst song of 1986 after Starting Together and Lady In Red (and It’s ‘Orrible Being In Love When You’re 8½). If it's an imminent chart entry, I'm not looking forwards to the Breakers.

 [2] Five Star: Rain Or Shine. On video.

[29] Status Quo: In The Army Now. Possibly Status Quo's oddest song. It's up there with Pictures Of Matchstick Men as the Status Quo song which sounds least like a song by Status Quo. I was going to speculate on the combination of circumstances which led them to write In The Army Now, but it turns out it's a cover. The original song was by Bolland & Bolland (who sound more like a chain of health food shops) and “spent 6 consecutive weeks on the top of the Norwegian singles chart,” in 1982. 1986 sits in my memory as a year stuffed with television and cinema about the Vietnam War. Seen in that context In The Army Now can be viewed as a neat piece of zeitgeist surfing or cynical bandwagon jumping, as you prefer. However, not for the first time my memory is faulty. Rambo was released in 1985 and Full Metal Jacket 1987. Platoon was released in 1986 in America, but didn't make it to the UK until 24th April 1987. Maybe I'm misremembering 1985 and coverage of the 10 year anniversary of the fall of Saigon and Paul Hardcastle's 19.

Top 40 Charts.

[3] Madonna: True Blue. On video.

Top 40 Breakers. [24] Queen, Who Wants To Live Forever; [21] Cyndi Lauper, True Colours; [14] A-Ha, I've Been Losing You. Luckily there's no sign of Every Loser Wins by TV's Wicksy.
[23] Pet Shop Boys: Suburbia. Live from the Beelzebub stage. Neil's wearing a black leather jacket and Chris is dressed as a sailor. (John- And I bet neither of them is smiling)
Top 10 Charts.
[1] The Communards: Don’t Leave Me This Way.
On video.

[ ] Paul Hardcastle: The Wizard. Gary Davis and new bug Simon Mayo host next week. Meanwhile... “right now, by popular demand, we are releasing the theme tune from this 'ere programme. It's called The Wizard. It's by Paul Hardcastle. And here's the video to go with it.” The subsequent caption also helpfully explains the viewer is watching “(Top of the Pops theme tune)” for anyone tuning in to watch Ethel's date with destiny and an Avocado Vinaigrette. And (gasp)... it's not in the charts; The Wizard. Not the Avocado Vinaigrette. Although being strictly accurate the Avocado Vinaigrette isn't in the charts either. It's on the steps of The Queen Vic. (I'm sorry, I seem to have gone down a bit of a blind alley here. Let me start again)

I would say it's unprecedented for Top of the Pops to play a song before it hits the charts except we all remember that time in 1980 when the BBC played Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna, to give a leg-up to Britain's great Eurovision hope. The song was featured on the 03/04/1980 edition, and just three weeks later it exploded into the Top Sixty at [56] before rising all the way to [48].

Background to the closing titles: Blurry close-up of blue and purple neon scenery.

Performance of the Week: Pet Shop Boys, Suburbia.


No comments:

Post a Comment