Top of the Pops 6 April 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby
Simon Mayo: “Hi. Welcome to Top of the Pops. BBC1 and Radio 1 together one more time. In order of alphabetical things coming up today we have Paula Abdul, and Cold Cut, and Simply Red, and Anthea Turner.”

Anthea Turner: “Thank you very much, Simon! Hello! Listen can you keep a secret!”
Simon Mayo: “Only on Thursday nights.”
Anthea Turner: “Okay! At number 22 it's Brother Beyond they're on stage now!”

[22] BROTHER BEYOND: can you keep a secret? Simon Mayo can keep a secret on Thursday nights, what a shame Top of the Pops is recorded on a Tuesday. I know this fact, among others, thanks to a link to an auction house sale of five Top of the Pops camera scripts, forwarded to me by commenter mumu03; https://content.easyliveauction.com/auctions/images_lots/59C27F972E0E337C9017486B42435C8C_bou01/1100329224.JPG

There's a lot to unpack but it's only Brother Beyond, so let's dive in. This is episode 1313 recorded in studio TC3. Brother Beyond's appearance is described as PA/DISC. The PA bit is, logically, Personal Appearance. The DISC bit... could that mean they are miming to the single? Also, the studio session for tonight's show featured one pre-recorded performance, The Fine Young Cannibals, and two post-recorded ones; Yazz, and Ten City. Both were directed by Barbara Jones. Will these performances get used in future shows or will they be chucked on the discard pile along with Time Will Crawl by David Bowie? No spoilers.

Brother Beyond are still going on. What else can I learn from the camera script? Visual Effects come from Roger Barham. He'll be operating the dry ice machine and supplying and any pyrotechnical bangs and flashes. Graphic Designer Margaret Horrocks is not the person to blame for any typos in the captions, that would be the Aston Operator who is credited on the script but not the closing titles. Tonight it's Judy Slater. Oh, and your camera team tonight is Crew 8 led by Roger Goss.

What has lead singer Nathan Moore got dangling from his neck. It's hard to be sure but it looks like it could be a small cross. I didn't think the Television Centre vampire problem was so out of hand as early as 1989. Nathan is jiggling around so much it's hard to get a decent look at the cross. The small metal thing could be his dressing room key for all I know.

[8] KON KAN: i beg your pardon. On video, or PROMO VT if you read the camera script.


[14] HOLLY JOHNSON: americanos. Holly is also PA/DISC. This year he's worn green (19/01/1989), and lavender (02/02/1989), now it's time for some gold lamé.

[3] PAULA ABDUL: straight up. This is PROMO VT again.


[37] COOKIE CREW: got to keep on Does Anthea Turner call them, The Cuckoo Crew? [32] YELLO: of course i'm lying

[27] ROY ORBISON: she's a mystery to me

[34] T'PAU: only the lonely

[12] COLDCUT featuring LISA STANSFIELD: people hold on. Some time in the last two weeks Lisa Stansfield became a star. Go back to her first appearance, 23/03/1989, and watch how Paul Ciani directs the camera to wander across the studio and around the stage during the introduction. He keeps the camera back so that Lisa, Percussion Dude, and Hat Man are all in shot at the same time. Then once the introduction is over the camera slowly drifts into a close up of Stansfield which doesn't fully arrive until halfway through the first verse. Compare that with tonight's presentation. We're into a close up of Lisa before the introduction is over. Percussion Dude and Hat Man barely register. This is LISA STANSFIELD featuring COLDCUT. Oh, it's also PA/TAPE. How is TAPE different to DISC? My best guess, this is Lisa Stansfield singing over a backing tape as opposed to miming to the single. Prove me wrong!

[19] SIMPLY RED: if you don't know me by now. Listed as BBC VT. So this is a pre-recorded performance played into the studio by the videotape department. Normally I'd have a go at working out when the pre-record took place but this is Simply Red and I do not care.


[16] TRANSVISION VAMP: baby i don't care. PA/DISC. Wendy James is also wearing a cross, not a small one like Nathan from Brother Beyond, but a proper back-you-fiends-of-hell-style crucifix. I guess in the wake of the fuss over Like A Prayer simply everyone wanted to wear religious iconography.

TOP 10:

[1] MADONNA: like a prayer. The camera script describes it as PROMO VT but this is the fourth time out for the BBC's chopped down version of the video.

[21] INXS: mystify. PROMO VT. Mark Goodier is hosting solo next week. That's going to be a chore.


PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Transvision Vamp, Baby I Don't Care.


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