Simon Mayo: “Hi, welcome to Top of the Pops with a
very big Barry White, a not quite so big Donna Summer, and a waif-like Steve
Wright: “Yes it's
true!! Welcome!! We're going to start off with Maxi Priest!! Some guys have all
the luck!! Here!!”
PRIEST: some guys. New
Sets! The initial impression is of neon tower blocks. Actually, although the
blocks do have horizontal neon tubes on them, the blocks are reflective or
semi-transparent -Perspex or some sort of gauze? - which get most of their
colour by being lit from above which gives the blocks the impression they glow
from the inside. There are also a few grills and grates designed for cameras to
look through. These grates carry a hint of the forthcoming 90's trend for
things to look a bit industrial.
If my mental
map of the Top of the Pops studio is correct then Maxi Priest is
standing on what would previously have been the stage with three perspex
pyramids in the background. You can see it in the 12/11/1987 edition, it's the
one Mirage performed on and opposite was the V-shaped stage used by Alexander O’Neil.
Wide shots suggest all the old stages have been swept away although the same
basic layout has been kept; a stage set into the corner of the studio, then
steps leading up to a bridge, then steps down to another stage. Having all the
stages look the same gives consistency and when cameras shoot of the edge of a
stage the scenery appears to continue off into the distance. Has this change
been driven by a desire to make the studio seem bigger, like the one used for Top
of the Pops USA? Take a bow Grenville Horner, who is credited with Design.
I assume he's the person responsible for the new look.
Whitehouse (for it is he) delivers a nice camera move at the end of Maxi
Priest's song. The camera pulls back for the standard wide shot of the studio
then pans left and keeps going, and going, until it finds Simon Mayo standing
on the stage opposite, and then it pans round him some more, until one of the Top
of the Pops logos is visible in the background. Does Maxi
Priest have a couple of siblings called Mini and Median? (John – Yes.)