Top of the Pops 9 June 1988


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: “Hello! Welcome to tonight's edition of Top of the Pops! On the show tonight! We've got Voice of the Beehive! Mica Paris! And also Morrisey!” 

Simon Mayo: “And we're going to start at number four. Look out for the new sport of synchronised drumming. Because these are the Time Lords and Doctorin' the Tardis. This is just brilliant. Watch this.”

 [4] THE TIMELORDS: doctorin' the tardis. Simon Mayo speaks the truth. This is a brilliant performance. Perfect start of the show stuff. It's also a great return to the studio after all the asbestos disruption of the previous week. It seems odd that Peter Powell doesn't mention it, considering he was one of the hosts in the makeshift studio. Maybe everyone at the BBC was bored of the subject.




Reviews- Asteroid City, Elton John

 The recent spate of memes depicting films remade in a Wes Anderson style has irritated the director yet demonstrates how- in a similar way though different style- Tim Burton became ubiquitous some time ago. Anderson has now arrived at that odd position where his work has never been so well known yet his choices have never seemed so obvious. Asteroid City will do little to change people’s opinion either way as it is very Wes Anderson indeed.



Top of the Pops 2 June 1988


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Asbestos was discovered in BBC Television Centre at the end of May 1988. The peak of the disruption, which closed virtually all the studios, came in the week of 30May when programmes scrabbled to relocate to alternate venues around Television Centre. Tomorrow's World was broadcast from the car park, Wogan came from reception, Blue Peter used their garden, and Newsnight and Breakfast Time came from what Stage and Television Today -2 June 1988*- described as “tiny, cramped, back-up studios,” and noted, “a final decision had yet to be made on the venue for Wednesday's recording of this week's edition of Top of the Pops.”

Peter Powell: “Hello! Tonight's edition is not so much the big bash as usual, more like a private party!” Nicky Campbell: “And I've, er, I've gatecrashed it. Where's the fridge.”
Peter Powell: “Why didn't you RSVP?! We're not in our usual studio setup bit we do have a show!”
Nicky Campbell: “What a show we've got. Rod Stewart. Aztec Camera. Wet Wet Wet. You name it. To start us off with their second hit in as many months, here's Aswad.”

 [18] ASWAD: give a little love. So what venue did Top of the Pops choose? The following week's Stage and Television Today reported a BBC spokesman who said it was broadcast from “the gallery.” I assume he means the studio gallery rather than Tony Hart's place. Later, the 2019 documentary The Story of 1988 describes the venue as “a corridor.” Who is right? Well they both are. The opening link is filmed in a doorway. A Top of the Pops logo has been tacked to the wall to the left of the door and Rob Litertherland, credited with Lighting this week, has dragged in a few bits and pieces to try and replicate the colours of the real studio, and also provide a few flashing lights. Check out the neon disco strip draped over the back wall of the room behind the hosts. How retro and seventies.



Review- The Flash


I’ll say it right away- this is a great film. Funny, exciting, occasionally poignant and always visually arresting it is more or less what you want from a trip to the movies. However, there is of course a lot of baggage surrounding The Flash and superhero movies in general. If it flops it will be the fourth live action superhero film in a row to underperform after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol3, Shazam – Fury of the Gods and Quantumania. What may at first have seemed like unlucky coincidence is beginning to look like long term decline. The Flash has the extra hurdle in that after a catalogue of incidents and allegations, the film’s star is sort of cancelled but sort of not, an unsatisfactory half-life for all concerned. Still, I suppose superhero films thrive on excess of all kinds and the best thing is to watch a film with an open mind and try not to be distracted by the noise around it.



Top of the Pops 26 May 1988


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby.

Steve Wright: “'ello there!! Good evening!! I'm Steve Wright!! Welcome to Top of the Pops!! We have an excited crowd!! And some good bands!! And our other host is Mark Goodier!! Say hello Mark!!”

Mark Goodier: “Thank you very much Steve. Let's start tonight with a lady who keeps on coming back to the UK because she keeps on getting hits. Debbie Gibson at number nineteen with Out of the Blue. Across there.”

 [19] DEBBIE GIBSON: out of the blue. Last week the hosts kept sitting down. This week, in Paul Ciani's ongoing quest to make Top of the Pops look slightly different, the two hosts are separated. Steve Wright introduces the show from the edge of the main stage and hands over to Mark Goodier who is up on one of the studio bridges. It doesn't work because it looks like they've had a row and refuse to appear on camera together. Everything's blue for Debbie Gibson. Blue lighting. Blue scenery. And a blue costume. I'm sensing a theme. It looks like she's performing live from Metabelis 3. Is that a spider on her back? Debbie's a solo performer so she performs in front of a bank of monitors to add a little visual interest. It's a competent performance. Nothing ground breaking but it gets the show off to a solid start.




Midsomer Murders- Picture of Innocence (2007)


Here’s an odd episode. It’s very enjoyable to watch and has a strong cast, it’s even got quite a clever title when you think about it. It is just that the plot doesn’t really make too much sense. Every television detective will eventually come to a case in which they become personally involved somehow and `Picture of Innocence` is Midsomer Murders’ attempt though there are times when you might think they’re doing a spoof.


"It doesn't even look like me!" Barnaby is framed.


Reviews- Across The Spider-Verse, Shadow and Bone season one


Spider- Man – Across the Spider -Verse (film 2023) Five years after the acclaimed Into the Spiderverse, Miles Morales is back for another burst of imaginative storytelling and visual pizzaz. Fictionally a year has passed and Miles has become accustomed to his Spider-Man gig as well as hiding his true identity from his parents. Yet the nature of his transformation seems to have set off a chain of events that will come back to ensnare him in an even more dangerous scenario than last time. And that’s all I can tell you about the plot because to appreciate the movie you need to experience a string of developments as they happen. Just reading about them in a review will spoil it completely. 


Top of the Pops 19 May 1988


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Gary Davies: “'ello! Simes and I would like to welcome you to another excellent edition of Top of the Pops. In the studio tonight we have Derek B, Aztec Camera, Billy Brag, and Wet Wet Wet.”

Simon Bates: “So much more as well. A double A-side at the end of the programme. Plus here in the Top of the Pops studio. It's Prefab Sprout. The King Of Rock And Roll.”

 [14] PREFAB SPROUT: the king of rock 'n' roll. In May 1988 I was revising for my GSCEs. This process broadly involved sitting down in my bedroom at 9am and switching on Radio One. It was time to stop at 5.30pm when Newsbeat began. I feel more familiar with the Top 40 at this point than any other time, and The King Of Rock 'N' Roll is one of those songs I'll permanently associate with trying to remember why U-shaped valleys meander or calculating the surface area of five moles of Hydrogen disulfide.
New Quantel effect! Just before the line “Up from suede shoes to my baby blues*” there's a whooshing noise, a bit like a plane taking off, and the picture squeezes itself into a small box and arcs across the screen. Lovely.

What's the title of this song? Well if you're Simon Bates it's “The King Of Rock 'N' Roll From Albuquerque.” 
* a line which I've always heard as “hot frog, my shoes, my baby blues.”




The curious world of live game streaming

Sounds unusual but stick with me, chatters, as I would say if I were a live streamer. We're travelling to  worlds occupied by ardent gamers for whom playing is just not enough! Whether it’s FIFA or Hearthstone or Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft or Careless Marjorie there is probably as big an audience watching people play as there are players. I may have made up one of those names! Or I’m just back from the future. There are a whole gaggle of game streamers who actually make a living from people watching them playing popular games. Its one of those jobs that just didn’t exist twenty years ago but how do they make any money and is it entertainment?