Top of the Pops 23 March 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby

Mark Goodier: “Hello. Welcome to a special Easter-stylee Top of the Pops.”
Andy Crane: “A lot of girls on the show tonight. Live in the studio there's Kim Wilde, also Alyson Williams and Lisa Stansfield with Cold Cut.”
Mark Goodier: “Of course. And you get them all in FM stereo on Radio 1.”
Andy Crane: “But first...”
Mark Goodier: “...The Reynolds Girls.”
Andy Crane: “I'd Rather Jack.”

 [10] REYNOLDS GIRLS: i'd rather jack. Merry Easter. Through zero planning I've found myself writing up the Easter 1989 episode in the week running up to Easter. Will I actually get it sent over to John in time for the Bank Holiday weekend? Watch that space.

Speaking of Easter, Mark Goodier unironically describes tonight's show as “Easter-stylee.” He must be hunted down and neutered for the good of the species. I don't know if it was Mark Goodier's thing* to refer stuff as BLANK-stylee, but it's driving me nuts trying to remember what I associate this with. I've got a vague memory of a song lyric which goes “something something dance hall-stylee something,” but I don't want these write ups to turn into middle-aged man noodles about half remembered things from 40 years ago so I'll just stop this sentence here**.

Assume everything I said about the Reynolds Girls last time, 09/03/1989, still applies. They're still doing their dance routine. It looks a little more polished because they've had a couple more weeks of practice. I'm still fascinated by how poorly served the pair are by the direction. Paul Ciani seems determined to avoid using close ups and instead prefers to keep the pair in the middle distance as much as possible. The audience get better close ups than the Reynolds Girls. Is he sabotaging them? It seems more likely that he watched the Reynolds Girls cheesy routine in rehearsals and realised it would be next to impossible to get any decent close ups with them constantly bobbing around, and didn't bother. Or, maybe he really likes Fleetwood Mac?

(John- Fascinated by the awfulness of this song and it's message I wondered what else lies in the Reynolds Girls' oeuvre and whether other 70s music legends were given short shrift. Turns out there is only one other single called suitably enough `Get Real` which they made after falling out with Stock Aitken Waterman . According to all known sources as of 2022 "their whereabouts remain unknown". So if you spot a Reynolds Girl please ring the helpline.) 

For further Reynolds Girls intrigue check out this 2021 Classic Pop Magazine article

[18] ALYSON WILLIAMS: sleep talk. The Crow's Nest has been decorated with Pikachu-yellow Easter bunnies. Lovely. We've had heart-shaped balloons for Valentine's Day. Now rabbits. I hope this set decorating trend continues into the rest of the year.

Alyson Williams pulls off a couple of pretty impressive microphone height kicks. She's not someone to mess with.


[3] DONNA SUMMER: this time i know it's for real. On video.

[24] COLDCUT FEATURING LISA STANSFIELD: people hold on. Paul Ciani's found a new camera angle on Mark Goodier for the introduction; looking up from the studio floor through the rails of one of the studio bridges.

Yazz has moved on so here's Coldcut's next star. Lisa Stansfield's career got very big very quickly and it's odd to see her playing second fiddle to a guy who's treating a synthesiser as a percussion instrument and a guitarist in a silly hat.


[34] PAT & MICK: ii haven't stopped dancing yet

[29] ROACHFORD: family man

[33] BANGLES: eternal flame

[35] KYM MAZELLE: got to get you back

[32] KIM WILDE: love in the natural way. I think this might be Kim Wilde's last appearance on Top of the Pops. Not a bad run from 26/02/1981 when she first performed Kids In America.


[4] PAULA ABDUL: straight up. A repeat of the performance from 09/03/1989. “You really should see this again,” says Mark Goodier in an unusual acknowledgement of footage reuse by Top of the Pops. Then again, it would be difficult to pretend this was new given the performance includes Lenny Henry wandering into a panning shot, in his distinctive red nose jacket.

TOP 10:

[1] MADONNA: like a prayer. First week at number one, second week of use for the BBC's carefully edited two minute version of the video.

[27] BOBBY BROWN: don't be cruel. Gary Davies and Bruno Brookes next week. “But finally a man on this evening's show,” says Andy Crane. Yes, the first man on tonight's show except for both of Coldcut, Pat and Mick, Roachford, Lenny Henry (and about a third of Nicky Campbell) and indeed Andy Crane. And Mark Goodier.

 PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield, People Hold On.

 *Radio One DJ's liked to have a “thing” as a hook to hang their personality on. Steve Wright had his posse; Gary Davies imagined he was the Radio One Romeo; Simon Bates told you what time it was; Adrian Juste was unlistenably bad; etc.

** I just looked up the definition of middle-aged in the faint hope that I didn't fall into that category. Boy, do I. I also note Wikipedia's charming sentence “this phase of life is marked by gradual physical, cognitive, and social decline in individuals as they age.” Thanks Wikipedia. Now where are my keys? Why don't pubs have horse brasses any more? Where are my keys?

1 comment:

  1. Slight spoilers, but Kim Wilde does appear just a few more times on TOTP after this - again at the end of 1989 for a reprise performance of 'You Keep Me Hanging On' as part of a one-off 80s review edition (which besides her + Erasure is so mind-bogglingly subpar in its choice of studio acts I'd be kind of amazed if you even bother with it), and then on a couple further occasions in 1992 and 1993 each to perform her admittedly pretty forgettable final top 40 hits.