Top of the Pops 26 January 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby.
Gary Davies: “Hello. It's a new-look fast-moving Top of the Pops. Not only on BBC1 but also in stereo on Radio 1FM. Tonight we have seven bands in the studio.”
Anthea Turner: “And we've got a brilliant band to start off with. They're the highest new entry at twenty one. They're here, they are, Then Jericho.”

 [21] THEN JERICO: big area. Do none of the hosts watch Top of the Pops when they're not on? Gary Davies seems to think this is the week of the big relaunch, or does he just feel it doesn't start until he says it does?

New caption effect. The one for Then Jericho is drawn line by line a bit like the way loading screens used to appear on the ZX Spectrum (sweet sweet nostalgia, où sont les neiges d'antan? etc) but out of order rather than neatly. It looks good.

Lead singer Mark Shaw is a menace. He's going to hurt someone if he keeps waving that microphone stand around. And what happens to his long coat? He's wearing it, then the camera cuts to the drummer and we hear shrieks of approval from the audience, and then in the next wide shot the coat is gone. I guess he threw it into the audience. Did he have to go and ask for it back later?

Suddenly Gary Davies pops up at the side of the stage. “Woo! What a great song.” He says half-heartedly. If it's that great, why interrupt it? Then Jericho are clearly still performing. Paul Ciani's war against the clock continues as he desperately tries to fit 35 minutes of songs into a 30 minute slot.

[20] ADEVA: respect. Gary Davies introduction. “Coming up now a lady who's twenty five years old. Last time she appeared on TV. Her bra snapped. Hopefully it won't happen. Here's Adeva.” Nice one Gary. Adeva is singing a song called Respect and you want to talk about her underwear.

This is a pre-recorded performance. Can I work out when? I think so. Last week, based on the idiot wearing the white shirt and red bow tie at the front of the stage, “last week”  he was part of the crowd in the crow's nest for the start of the 19/01/1989 edition.

Ironically, Adeva is cut off right in the middle of saying the word respect thanks to Paul Ciani's  quart/pint pot approach to editing.


[14] ROB BASE & D.J. E-Z ROCK: get on the dance floor. “Or D.J. Easy Beat,” as Anthea Turner thinks Rob Base's associate is named.

[19] MICA PARIS & WILL DOWNING: where is the love. The cutting short of songs is a bit less brutal this week; only having three Breakers helps. Paul Ciani's still trying to make the show look like a seamless whole, see the way the camera pans off Rob Base, et al, then pans to find Gary Davis, and then pans on again to find Mica and Will.

For some reason the camera move at the end of Where is the Love is quite languid and Gary Davis ends up speaking before he's on screen. I wonder if it's a more difficult shot to pull off than it appears. The crane has to pull back from Will and Mica and then I think it zooms in while also tracking left. Certainly Gary Davis looks more blurry than usual when he comes into frame which suggests the camera operator is having difficulty keeping focus.


27 BOBBY BROWN: my prerogative

28 LEVEL 42: tracie

34 SHEENA EASTON: the lover in me

[17] TEN CITY: that's the way love is. Anthea Turner has laboriously worked out a link, “it's great to see her back in the city... anyway... here now at number seventeen is Ten City.” This would be very clever if Sheena Easton's song had anything to do with cities.


[15] BROTHER BEYOND: be my twin. This is Anthea Turner's third time hosting Top of the Pops so I'm inclined to cut her some slack but I do need to mention her bizarre facial expressions during Gary Davies' link. Granted, she doesn't have anything to say and sometimes just standing there and pretending to be interested can be the most difficult thing to do, but during Gary's 10 second link she does the following; gaze directly into camera with eyes half closed in the classic look-I'm-drunk-at-the-BBC-bar-at-closing-time; turn left profile to camera and gaze adoringly at Gary Davies' ear; turn back to camera and grin vacantly down the lens; turn into half-profile, open eyes and mouth wide; hold the previous expression and turn to face the camera again; blink and then open eyes and mouth even wider; clap and then punch the air in excitement. It's only Brother Beyond, Anthea.

Vision Mixer Susan Brincat (a new name to Top of the Pops) does a split screen mirror of, I don't know... Nathan?, for the bits about being his double.

It's all pretty bland. And then a bearded bloke wearing a nasty pair of high-waisted trousers and a red jumper wanders on stage and pretends to play the saxophone.

TOP 10:

[1] MARC ALMOND & GENE PUTNEY: something's gotten hold of my heart. A repeat performance from 19/01/1989.

[16] MILLI VANILLI: baby don't forget my number. Steve Wright and Simon Mayo next week but first, here's Milli Vanilli on video.

 PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Then Jerico, Big Area. I suppose.

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