Top of the Pops 22 June 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby

Simon Mayo: “Hi. Good evening. Welcome to Top of the Pops, on BBC1.”
Gary Davies: “And also on Radio 1FM in stereo. An action-packed programme tonight. In the studio we have the Bangles.”
Simon Mayo: “And Clannad.”
Gary Davies: “And D Mob.”
Simon Mayo: “And Beautiful South.”
Gary Davies: “But first to get us underway. Here's Living In A Box.”
Simon Mayo: “Number thirty seven. This is Gatecrashing.”
Gary Davies: “Woo!”



Top of the Pops 15 June 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby
Mark Goodier: “Hello. Welcome to Europe's top TV and radio pop show. With stereo sound on Radio 1FM. And making his debut on the Pops, Simon Parkin.”
Simon Parkin: “Thank you, Mark. What a programme we've got for you tonight. REM, Jason Donovan... in the studio, as are Fuzzbox at seventeen with Pink Sunshine."

[17] FUZZBOX: pink sunshine. Lead singer Vix is still waving her giant pin around. It looks lethal and could have someone's eye out.
“The gossip is there's going to be a cartoon series based on Fuzzbox.” Oh, really Mark? I must have missed it.




Doctor Who- Empire of Death review

These reviews have been very much instant mostly positive reactions to each episode but now we’ve reached the finale after what seems like a short run its time to reflect not just on the thrills of this particular episode but on the overall impact of the season. I do feel that when these eight episodes come to be rewatched without the twists and surprises they will seem less involving. I say this because the best bits for me have been those twists and surprises. Yet now I know them what is left? Unlike some of those knotty Steven Moffat episodes which actually need to be watched more than once, 2024 Doctor Who is more about instant reactions; the gasps and the LOLs. Like a lot of material that now streams into our homes it is not necessarily robust enough to hold up under closer scrutiny. I suppose that is appropriate for a culture increasingly obsessed with what is coming rather than what might already be here


Spoilers after the break



The Golden decade of the England football song


In the Nineties music and football reached a moment of harmony. New Order’s 1990 song `World in Motion` managed to both encapsulate sport and music without being embarrassing to either. It set the standard met by two other similarly inclusive songs ; 1996’s `Three Lions` and 1998’s `Vindaloo`. This trio rescued football songs from the mire in which they had hitherto lurked simply because these are great songs anyway even if you ignore the sport. Back in the Seventies and Eighties football songs largely consisted of a lyric about how the team was going to win the Cup, ironic really that few teams who released such songs managed to achieve that goal. 




Top of the Pops 8 June 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby
Bonus master tape bit
: “This is not the start of the prog... another clock after the warm-up” That's the mysterious message on the VT clock at the start of tonight's edition. And there's a code as well EX T042097 / H50804. What can it mean? I wonder why the editor wanted to keep the studio footage of the warm up (sorry, warm-up) and produced a non-standard tape that had to have a message at the start to stop the wrong bit of the tape being broadcast to the nation?

Anyway, the fake clock reaches zero and we're into a wide shot of the studio. Nicky Campbell can be seen up the Crow's Nest, Nothin' That Compares 2U by the Jacksons is playing over the studio PA, and there are two people on stage. “Alright,” says the bloke holding a microphone who I'm going to guess is Floor Manager Iain McLean, “would Nicola Brand make herself known to me please.” It could be Brand or Brinde or Brine. Surely it's not Nicola Bryant, still loose in the Top of the Pops studio after sneaking in during a Doctor Who recording break on the 02/08/1984 show.

Iain McLean continues: “Nicola Brinde. She has three people, where is she? Nicola?” Did Iain ever find her? There's no way to know because the picture cuts to a 10 second countdown clock for the opening titles and the studio sound is blanked by an electronic tone. This disappointing state of affairs runs for around 40 seconds. And then the picture bursts back into life.


Doctor Who- The Legend of Ruby Sunday review


Let’s Twist again lol. The presence of Susan Twist in roles of varying sizes in every episode this season and even back into the specials has been one of the more fascinating things about the latest run. I laughed at RTD’s comment when asked about this that there was a shortage of actors even though I sort of wanted it never explained and she would just be in every episode and that was all. Inevitably the time has come for explanations though and for Susie T to step up and play a larger role in this first half of the season finale. Yet she is just part of an episode that has a lot of chatter and exposition in its first half before exploding into one of those archetypal RTD finale scenarios he specialised in during his first tenure which people either like or don’t like. Personally, I really like them as they tend to dispense with caution and have a momentum that carries all forward even if admittedly this is sometimes at the expense of logic.

 Big spoilers after the break. She's seen them. She's spooked.


TV Review- Lost Boys and Fairies


Adoption is a wonderful thing yet could also be an awkward topic to get right in a drama, even more so to make it interesting enough for a viewer. Lost Boys and Fairies reaches to fresh territory being a series about a gay couple who decide to adopt. Before watching I wasn’t sure how this would fit together but it turns out to be extraordinarily well. Written from experience by Daf James the three-part series, now on iPlayer, skilfully mixes a story about growing up (and not just the kids), exclusion and a sense of place into a trio of engaging episodes. It delights, intrigues and sometimes shocks and I’m not just talking about the language. While it sometimes does play into the trope of LGBTQIA drama tending to be about tragedy it weaves so much more into its message and is presented with such care and in such a vivid manner (musical numbers as well, of course) that it is irresistible. Its been called a coming of middle age story and I’ll go with that.



Top of the Pops 1 June 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby
Anthea Turner: “ Hi there! And we are well and truly live on tonight's Top of the Pops! On BBC1! And also Radio 1! But you can hear us on FM Stereo!”
Gary Davies: “We have an action-packed programme. Double Trouble and the Rebel MC, Neneh Cherry, Fuzzbox, but to start us off, here is Sinitta.”

 No caption. That's odd. Pressures of a live show, presumably. Well, this is Sinitta and she's at [19] with Right Back Where We Started From. Tut, fancy ending a sentence with a preposition like that. Sinitta is attended to by four cowboys. I don't know why. Then, midway through the song, the stage is invaded by a saxophonist who is just in time for the saxophone break, which is lucky.


Doctor Who- Rogue review


You can’t enjoy every episode though there is always someone wiling to stand up and say it’s the best. So `Rogue` isn’t one of my favourites this year but not for the reasons you may think. I just found it rather lacking in anything special despite one already much discussed scene. Admittedly the bar for the show over the years is set high but not every episode can be a classic and this one left me unmoved.



TV Review- Dead Boy Detectives


Introduced in April, Dead Boy Detectives is an offshoot of what we should probably called The Sandman universe (The Sandverse?). having been an offshoot comic. Like its Neil Gaiman penned parent, this series can be erratic, perhaps deliberately, so that the narrative swings from comedic to horrific. This is exemplified by the opening credits which don’t really capture what the show is like at all even though they are fun depictions of skeletons up to all sorts of japes. Rather than open with an origin story the dead boys are already in business in London in the first episode though by part two end up in the US, an odd relocation to spring so soon. The main cast are excellent, the dynamic between them being the best thing about the series while the strongest episodes are inventive and sometimes disturbing while keeping exposition to a minimum.



Top of the Pops 25 May 1989


Words: Chris Arnsby
Simon Mayo: “Hi, welcome to Top of the Pops. A special lingua franca edition of the programme today. We have Australians, we have Austrians, we have Americans, the odd British person here and there as well. We're also going to be teaching you how to yodel. If you've never yodelled before, here comes your first lesson. It's Edelweiss at number five on Top of the Pops. Down here.”



Doctor Who- Dot and Bubble review


`Dot and Bubble` opens with bold ideas, then labours the point till it breaks out and becomes something more interesting. Its set in what must be the distant future yet uses mostly contemporary references and behaviour albeit slightly exaggerated. Billed as a commentary on modern online culture it also touches on the vanity of super rich youth. It is enlivened by peppy performances, a surprising turn near the end and a wonderful nomenclature. However what it really needs more than anything is the full presence of the Doctor  again used sparingly for the second episode running.  This means Ncuti Gatwa is not making as much of an impression as he should in his first season especially when its only eight episodes long.