Top of the Pops 9 Sep 1988


Words; Chris Arnsby

[But first, a bit relating to last week's show and the great stereo switch on. Over at https://www.mixcloud.com/espeee/top-of-the-pops-1st-september-1988-with-steve-wright-mark-goodier-radio-1-fm-stereo-switch-on/ there's a recording from Radio 1 on the big day, just before Top of the Pops begins. Steve Wright briefly interviews producer & director “Stan” Appel, and Ian McLean the floor manager, and Mark King from Level 42. You get to hear how TotP was integrated into the Radio 1FM schedule and at the end there's the latest news from 1988].

 Mike Read: “Yes. Top of the Pops time again. Not only that but we're in FM stereo on Radio 1. And tonight, with me, the semi-legendary Andy Crane.”
Andy Crane: “You're too kind. Later in the show we've Britain's brand new number one but to get things underway, Mark Almonds and La Magia and Tears Run Rings.”




[28] MARC ALMOND: tears run rings. Duncan Brown is doing the lighting, and he's been down to the hire shop and come back with a new toy. I've no idea what the technical name is for the horizontal floodlights he's using but they look great. They are fired up for the chorus and the studio smoke blazes with light until Mark Almond looks like he's standing in a river of white-hot lava.

Vision mixer Hilary Briegel pulls off a nice cross-fade at the end of the song. The standard procedure is to cut to the camera crane as it pulls back across the studio. This time, Hilary does a slow fade from a close up of Mark to the wide shot. And it looks tres bon. Tres bon indeed.

[15] Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine: anything for you. On video.

TOP 40 FROM 40 TO 31

[23] SPAGNA: every girl and boy. Mike Read and Andy Crane are still plugging the delights of listening to Radio 1 in glorious stereo. As part of this push a Radio 1FM logo, with a red neon strip around it has been attached to the wall just to the left of the colour screen on the main stage. I think it sits where Paul Ciani had previously pinned one of his multiple Top Of The Pops banners. How long will it stay up? Let's wait and see.

Spagna's back. You remember Spagna. Fright wig. Weird quasi-military costume. Duncan Brown lights her performance with a variation on his the-floor-is-lava technique. He over-illuminates the stage with some white floodlights and the reflective surfaces all flare and over exposes the shot.

BREAKERS: [26 ANTHRAX make me laugh]; [25 BILL MEDLEY he ain't heavy, he's my brother]; [19 THE PROCLAIMERS i'm gonna be].

[16] MICHAEL JACKSON: another part of me. On video.

TOP 40 FROM 30 TO 11. Bill Medley (who he?) hasn't supplied a slide for the chart countdown and so Top of the Pops uses a grainy freeze-frame from the video.

[8] YELLO: the race. Sunday September 11 1988 was the second Sport Aid event. Unfortunately the official single, Running All Over The World by Status Quo, is out of stamina and has slid down the charts to [30]. How to promote the event? Fortunately there's another single in the Top 10 which allows Mike Read to rewrite his link. “It's very fitting this records in the Top Ten with everyone all around the globe running the world this coming weekend.”

Yello are on video. Three in a row. No one available to come into the studio this week, Stanley?

TOP 10.

[1] PHIL COLLINS: groovy kind of love. Well obviously Phil isn't going to be coming into the studio either so... oh, there he is behind Andy Crane. This leads to an odd editing choice. The introduction is clearly set up so the camera can do one of Stanley Appel's patented single-take pans from the host to the singer, but that doesn't happen. Instead, at the end of Andy Crane's introduction, the picture cuts to a different camera which then pans slowly towards Phil. Retake problems? Maybe. Something to do with the logistics of moving all the cameras around the studio? Possibly. I wonder if Stanley Appel was planning ahead. It's obviously expected that Phil will be at Number 1 for more than one week. If it's already known he will be too busy to come back to the studio again then the producer would be looking to reuse this footage, which means it needs to be as easy as possible to edit. A cut to a static camera (which then begins to move) makes for an easier edit point than trying to fade into an already moving shot. In the absence of any Top of the Pops Director's commentaries we'll never know. It's just odd to see the introduction so clearly set up for a camera move that never happens.

[13] JANE WIEDLIN: rush hour. Next week is Peter Powell's last show! He's hosting with Simon Mayo. This is Mike Read's last chance to break out his world famous Peter Powell impression which involves saying “hello mate” in a weirdly camp and not at all Peter Powell-like voice. Mike must have been the centre of attention at all the Egton House Christmas parties.

Anyway, Jane Wiedlin is on video with a song about traffic and cars and called Rush Hour. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? To the dolphinarium!

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Marc Almond, Tears Run Rings





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