Thursday, 23 March 2017

Top of the Pops & Soap

On tonight's episode of Top of the Pops: John has been knocked off his bike, but nothing can stop him hosting the show with David; Maggie Thatcher wants to get to number 10, but will Dee Snider of Twisted Sister make the top 30?; Elvis is pretending to be someone else while Wednesday is pretending to be Thursday! Confused? You won't be after tonight's episode of Top of the Pops!

When John heard he was hosting with David, he didn't expect this one.....

08/06/83 (David Jensen & John Peel)

Twisted Sister – “The Kids Are Back” (32)
And Twisted Sister are back in the studio to get this live show underway but the song got no higher in the charts, and it was their final top 40 hit.

David Bowie – “China Girl” (8) (video)
The follow up to Let's Dance, and it got to number 2.

Ultravox – “We Came To Dance” (24)
Peaked at number 18 but edited out of tonight's 7.30 slot.

Irene Cara – “Flashdance (What A Feeling)” (9) (video)
Her final hit, reaching number 2, but edited out of the 7.30 showing.

H20 – “Dream To Sleep” (27)
The band's only top 30 hit, peaking at 17, but also edited out of the early broadcast.

George Benson – “Lady Love Me (One More Time)” (11) (video)
At its peak position.

The Imposter – “Pills & Soap” (29)
'Is it Shaky?' ~ no it's Elvis Costello, and Pills & Soap must have escaped being 'deleted tomorrow' because it slipped up to number 16 in the charts.

Shakatak – “Dark Is The Night” (30)
John felt this one 'went on a bit' but it did manage to go on a bit higher to number 15.

Big Country – “In A Big Country” (17)
Now at its peak.

The Police – “Every Breath You Take” (1) (rpt from 26/05/83)
Second of four weeks at number one.

Rod Stewart - "Baby Jane" (19) (audience dancing/credits)
The tune that would eventually replace the Police.

The next edition is the 16th June 1983 but this was co-hosted by DLT so BBC4 are skipping it in favour of June 23rd.

Wednesday 8th June 1983

Top of the Pops is filmed in front of a live studio audience.


  1. I never saw a lot of these shows from May-July at the time. Desperate for work I took a job at Our Price in May but it was at the branch in Brent Cross Shopping City and this meant I had to work until 8pm most days. It was a dreadful soulless place to work and I didn't get home til gone 9pm so until I bought a VCR (and some video tapes which were about £20 each) I missed 'em.

    1. That very space in Brent Cross Shopping Centre that was Our Price, then became HMV, and is currently O2 - the mobile phone provider and network.

      I shop frequently there, as it is about 10 minutes drive from home, and has been my local shopping centre for years, but I don't know if I was going there as early as 1983, but I do remember buying from Our Price there at some point in the 80s, even the blank video tapes I think, which started as JVC one at the beginning.

  2. For some reason I want to call Peelie and The Kid The Glimmer Twins but they were of course The Rhythm Pals. Was it they who coined that name or someone else? I like Peelie's joke about Slimey Bates knocking him off his bike, there's clearly no love lost there.

    God I hated Twisted Sister back in 1983 but now I can see it for the camp load of old nonsense it was. Less Spinal Tap and more Spinal Injury judging by that proto headbanging dance the Zoo dancers are doing. Ouch!

    Bowie's back but on video naturally, or should I say unnaturally judging by some of the effects on display. This was another sure fire winner from The Dame but not good enough to reach the top spot. Great video though, I particularly like the bit where he chucks the rice in the air and he and the girl kiss and it changes from monotone to colour. If only life was like that.

    Midge and the boys came to dance. Er, I don't think so, at least not in those trousers. I had really lost all interest in Ultravox by this point. They did make some decent later singles but these mid period ones are a bit disappointing. But maybe if I heard it a few more times...

    I always felt a bit sorry for Irene Cara who despite having a big hit with Fame was left out of the TV series and Flashdance seemed to be her consolation prize but she didn't appear in the film either. I never saw it, never wanted to. The song was okay but nothing special. What we call in our house the DF effect.

    I had vague memories of the name H2O but no recollection of how their sole hit went. Hearing it again I'm none the wiser as to why it got in the chart. The band have clearly modelled themselves on Roxy music but without a Bryan Ferry type voice fronting them they had no chance.

    It had slipped my mind just how good the George Benson song is, simple but very effective, I especially like the simple but much repeated musical motif that is the real hook of the song.

    Pills and Soap is perhaps the weirdest record to make the charts in 1983. Partly inspired by Grandmaster Flash's The Message Elvis rants and raves about man's inhumanity to animals and man. I was never quite sure why he chose to release the record under a pseudonym when of course everyone knew it was him. I like the way he refuses to click his fingers in time with the happy-clapping crowd. I was surprised that this was on the show because the single was banned from radio play in the run up to the general election but supposedly Elvis persuaded the producers that the song wasn't about politics but was purely about the abuse of animals.

    This got me thinking - were there any other artists who released chart singles under a pseudonym or were portrayed as a mystery. I have memories of Norman "Hurricane" Smith being promoted this way when he first made the charts. I seem to recall seeing him photographed from the back in one of those chart rundowns on 1971 re-runs. Any others?

    In complete contrast to Imp Elvis we the so-shallow-it-hurts Shakatak. Pleasant enough funk-light-by-numbers and easy to dance to but do wish Bill and his mates would stop staring at the camera.

    Big County fight hard against the crowd hubbub and continual balloons bursting and try not to get distracted by Eddie and his Zoo mates doing inane country dancing but dressed as punks, as you do.

    Police at the top and they play the whole thing again. We hear every breath and every note.

    Rod Stewart plays us out with the brilliant Baby Drain, I note one guy in the crowd treats us to a backflip which he's clearly been waiting all night to do. Let's hope he didn't whack someone in the fizzog. That's what would happen if I tried doing something like that, someone would end up in A&E.

    1. After The Zombies broke up, Colin Blunstone released a handful of singles under the pseudonym Neil McArthur, including a rerecording of She's Not There. Naturally, his distinctive voice made it pretty obvious who it really was!

    2. George Benson's hit was actually penned by two proven songsmiths: Toto's David Paich, and prolific film and TV composer James Newton Howard.

    3. Stewart Copeland was on TOTP as 'Klark Kent' in 1978, ironically before he became famous in The Police.

    4. And didn't David Soul spend part of his career as a masked mystery singer?

  3. The reason this show went out on a Wednesday was because the BBC, in its wisdom, thought that the public would much prefer to watch Murder on the Orient Express rather than TOTP as a prelude to seeing Maggie win her landslide on Election Night. Happily The Rhythm Pals are in charge, dressed for the beach, and in good form too. Peel's digs at Master Bates are highly amusing, and he sails extremely close to the wind with his Big Country quip - not quite sure how he got away with that, to be honest...

    Unfortunately the musical line-up is not exactly stellar. Twisted Sister return with a highly derivative slab of sub-anthemic rock which their cartoon image cannot save, while Dee Snider sports the first of several horrible perms on the show. Bowie next, with an interesting video that, despite the song title, appears to have been shot in Australia again. I like the oriental motif that punctuates the song, but to be honest I have always found this one a little boring.

    Ultravox may have come to dance, but I'm not sure many people would want to join them faced with this messy effort, which comes close to being overwhelmed by some unpleasant synth noises in places. The group had definitely lost their way a bit at this point, though they would return to form the following year. I haven't seen the full length version of the show at time of writing, but I would assume that it is the famous Flashdance video that gets shown here, with the famous sequence of the hyperactive dancer covering every inch of that wooden floor. The song is a bit of an 80s cliché now, but those big synth sounds still come across pretty well to my ears.

    H20 sound like a watered-down version (ho ho) of OMD to me, with the singer trying hard to do his best Andy McCluskey impression. It's OK, I suppose, though what sticks in my mind most about this performance is the saxophonist playing with a yo-yo until his bit comes along - I guess it's one way of avoiding standing there like a lemon! George Benson to follow, looking slick in his suit and with a smooth, tuneful song to match - just a shame those badly permed and dressed Zoo girls have to intervene in the middle.

    So why exactly did Mr McManus choose to call himself The Imposter for this release? Some kind of obscure political point? He certainly wasn't shy about coming to the studio to perform it, and it does have a nicely sinister atmosphere, with Declan mercifully keeping the vocals understated and free of strangulation. Just when I was hoping they'd gone for good, Shakatak reappear with a tune that does have a bit more of a beat to it than their previous releases, but ultimately still feels quite insipid. The group are totally upstaged here by the character in the glasses, vest and black belt and boots behind them, who really seems to be getting into the groove - either that he was just showing off for the cameras! Oh, the singer is sporting another rubbish perm as well...

    After Big Country have successfully fought off that balloon onslaught, and the number 1 is out of the way, Roderick's future chart topper makes its debut, with Kid and Peel showing a distinct lack of rhythm as they attempt to dance to it. Maybe they should have changed the name of their double act?

    1. The reason for Elvis Costello's decision to release 'Pills and Soap' under a pseudonym can easily be explained. Jake Riviera's F-Beat Records, whose roster included Elvis, was in the process of changing distributors from WEA to RCA - but so keen was Mr Costello to issue 'Pills and Soap' that he persuaded the independent Demon Records to release it under the "Imp" logo. If I am not mistaken, the pianist accompanying him on TOTP was Steve Nieve from his regular backing band The Attractions.

    2. didn't costello also write and release "ship building" at this point as another bitch at the tory witch? not that he or any other socialist right-on pop stars such as the modfather made a blind bit of difference to the political landscape of this country in the 1980's with their tiresome rants set to music - if anything their efforts probably did thatcher a favour!

    3. 'Shipbuilding' was almost concurrently a Top 40 hit for former Soft Machine member Robert Wyatt, one of the original singing drummers. The song was penned by Costello in collaboration with Madness producer Clive Langer, and is an all-time classic, without a doubt. It was reportedly a big favourite with Bowie.

    4. "Shipbuilding" by Robert Wyatt was originally scheduled for a TOTP outing in May 1983, but was then cut from the show due to the FA Cup replay requiring a shorter programme, and the song then dropped down the chart thus missing its opportunity.

    5. Thanks for the explanation, Julie.

    6. Yes the pianist was Steve Nieve AKA Maurice Worm.

      The version of Shipbuilding on the album Punch The Clock features no less than Chet Baker on trumpet.

    7. chet baker was very similar to george benson in that he was originally a talented jazz instrumentalist of whom it was discovered had a decent singing voice, and that side of him was pushed accordingly. as such i highly recommend the compilation "the best of chet baker sings":

      and also this duet with astrud gilberto, who warbled in a similar ingenue manner:

  4. totp 16 June 1983 is here (thanks to Neil)

  5. before i get started: i recognised angelo's introduction as a parody of the voiceover at the start of "soap", that i think was still required viewing at the time. although it seems to have slipped off the radar in more recent years. it would be interesting to see it again now, but would it be a case of "of its time"?

    hosts: as is often the case i couldn't find a complete edition of this on youtube (do the beeb make a point of policing and removing them?), so not much of the hosts to see and comment on. but as also often seems to be the case, there are chart rundown sections featured - can anyone explain why? it does give me the opportunity to point out that david joseph's almost-as-good follow-up to "you can't hide your love" (something called "let's live it up", which i only got to hear for the first time quite recently) scraped into the bottom end of it this week

    twisted sister: the music is actually quite decent as far as metal goes, although i con't care for dee snider's mix of talking and abrasively shouty singing. and given he was pushing 30 at this point, he can hardly describe himself as a kid. (iron) maiden must have been a bit annoyed at this point that he and his chums were getting lots of totp airtime whilst they were apparently being steadfastly ignored?

    bowie: the beginning of the end, although i didn't quite realise that at the time. it starts off quite impressively with a really rich feel to it. and then just seems to go aimlessly round and around in circles. dave i know you were trying to do your hard-up mate jimmy a favour, but why didn't you just bung him a few quid out of your own pocket directly so the rest of us didn't have to suffer as a result?

    ultravox: maybe if this "all stood still" soundalike had been released a couple of years earlier i might have liked it. but by 1983 ultravox were simply midge and backing band (as evidenced by the fact that the rest are bathed in dark blue and almost invisible as a result) and so were washed up as far as i was concerned

    irene cara: despite no doubt having heard this hundreds of times over the years, i can't remember how the verse in this goes. and nor do i want to reminded of it, as i ever hear this again it will be too soon!

    h20: the only thing i could remember about this was that it bored the pants of me at the time. and it still does now. the sax player obviously felt likewise, bringing along a yo yo to help pass the time when he doesn't get his 15 seconds of fame. i bet if the guitarist ever watches this he now wishes he hadn't grown that stupid moustache that were sadly becoming the vogue for a certain kind of (straight) guy at the time - if you want a good laugh, you really should read stuart maconie's experience of working with men with moustaches in his "ciders with roadies" autobiography. by the way, i'm proud to say that neither myself or any of my friends ever wore the silly things - even at the height of their popularity

    1. I got hold of the first series of Soap on dvd from Amazon a while back, and although I enjoyed seeing it again, it had indeed aged significantly, but then haven't we all :-)

    2. I too have Soap on DVD, and although it's a bit of a bumpy ride (not sure about the serious parts) there's enough that's funny to justify its reputation. The cast are almost entirely fantastic, you can tell they are relishing getting this near the knuckle (and at times just wild) material.

    3. Ha, ha! The sax player in H2O with the yo-yo reminded me of the time my Dustin Hoffman-alike uncle (the father of the Morris-dancing triplets I mentioned a few weeks back) asked me to take his dinner plates into the kitchen, forcing me to ask my Dad to hold my yo-yo. When I came back, Dad was playing with the yo-yo and refused to give it back to me! Seriously, all rock saxophonists should be able to play a second instrument, preferably keyboards or rhythm guitar. Former Belle Star Clare Hirst and Tina Turner's long-time sideman Tim Cappello are both accomplished performers on keyboards as well as saxophone, Tim also being proficient on guitar, drums and harmonica.

    4. many sax players double on flute. however, i think it should be the other way around i.e. flute players double in sax when required! i have a friend who plays both, and also owns some sort of semi-automated synth for live work whereby half is him playing and the rest is the machine!

    5. i don't know if it was fate or what, but i went into a bar last night where a re-mixed or re-recorded version of "flashdance" was being blasted out at deafening volume! so i had to listen to it again. but i still can't remember how the verse goes though...

  6. pt ii...

    george benson: bowie may have started going to seed at this point, but in george's case the rot had well and truly set in by now! this vapid pop-soul really does sound like a poor man's rod temperton, and i was dearly hoping he wasn't to blame. thankfully that was the case as (not surprisingly) one of those responsible was a member of toto

    the imposter: i hate elvis costello, and i also hate it when pop music is used as a vehicle for political cant (even if i did despise thatcher as much as him, if not more). so i'm certainly not bothering reminding myself of how this went

    shakatak: like others i don't care for this thing where we see a bit of the act in action before being introduced to them by one of both of the hosts. but at least we just had instrumental preamble up to this point, so it could have been worse. but here we get a whole blast of the chorus from jill saward before peelie interrupts to tell us once again about his friendship with bill sharpe. please - no more of this ludicrous technique mr producer. jill finally gets the stage to herself, and her "bit" is alright. but the rest of this is even blander than what they've done before... if that's possible!

    1. i must point out that my statement regarding "the imposter" is somewhat ambiguous: what i should have written was "even though i despised thatcher as much as he did, if not more"!

  7. taking a look at "what's on", i notice that the two teams from scotland and london in the "come dancing" competition have to face each other in a dance-off in preston, which is about halfway inbetween. is this like the old FA cup semi-finals that used to take place at "neutral" grounds like villa park and old trafford so that no team had home adventage? talking of which: it was a massive mistake to play the semi-finals at wembley in my view as it devalued the tournament - the same applies to expanding the world cup and european football championships finals - just so the administrators of the game can make yet more money from gullible fans!

    getting back to "come dancing" (didn't the kinks have a revival hit with that title later on in 1983 by the way?): about 4 years on from 1983 i went out with a woman whose mother was a professional ballroom dance teacher, and one night i got dragged along to one such social event. i certainly had no interest in dancing myself, and as such it was probably the most tedious night out i've ever had - despite trying to get paralytic as a result!

    1. Getting paralytic and then doing some ballroom dancing is a combination every one should attempt at least once in their lifetime!

  8. Really enjoyed this episode, there was enough of a mix of the good and ridiculous to serve up a nice variety.

    Spending far too long in hair and makeup, Twisted Sister telling us the kids are back, so... better put the... dinner on then...? You can see how they started a trend, but it was an absurd one. We Brits had already had glam rock, thankyou.

    Dame David with his Iggy cover, love the bass line in this, even if it'll never be my favourite record of his. The "Chinese person impersonation" is rather unfortunate, not exactly the Nazi salute, but a bit playground bad taste.

    No memory of this Ultravox tune, no wonder I hear you cry, pretty repetitive, not the worst thing ever but not sure about Midge's sunglasses indoors.

    Irene Cara with another Giorgio Moroder behemoth, the ironically named Flashdance because the film is about a stripper who never takes her clothes off and the lead actress didn't do the dancing.

    H20 with the appropriately laidback and drowsy Dream to Sleep, very soothing number, though the saxophonist should have had one of those paddle balls instead of a yoyo.

    George Benson with the ultra smooth Lady Love Me, I'd forgotten how great this sounds, the epitome of the wine bar soul genre, impeccably produced and crooned.

    The Imposter, Mr Costello gets menacing, I actually like this better than a lot of the stuff he released under his own name. It has a stark, brooding quality that arrests the ears, and the venom in the lyrics is pretty effective.

    Shakatak back with their song again, though to be fair this has a few variations before we get to the regulation twiddly piano break. The balloons are making their presence felt with increasing force...

    ...and reach their full assault with Big Country, it was like watching Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner at times. Top tune anyway, and top innuendo from Peelie.

    The Police continuing their reign at the number one slot, then Roderick to finish with the sax maniacs' favourite Baby Jane, which we'll be hearing more of, I suspect.

  9. Shakey Shakerson24 March 2017 at 03:25

    'The Pops' continues to improve, although to be fair, a good 50% of this improvement can be laid at the feet of our hosts.Kid & Peel.

    First out of the gate is the appalling Twisted Sister (although it sounded like Kid called them Twisted Sinister afterwards). This is several postcodes away from being good and doesn't even have the good grace to boast a decent guitar lick to get me over the general horribleness of it all.

    Dame Bowie on vid pulling off the same slanty-eyed trick that got The Barron Knights expunged from a recent re-run episode. So why did this survive the politcally correct scissors?

    Ultravox are up next and this week Majure has come dressed as Arthur Fonzerelli complete with indoor-sunnies. Not much of a tune, not much of a performance. Which is also an accurate description of H20, and a song I only vaguely recollect, even now, after only just hearing it again.

    At this point in the show it looked like we were looking at a score which was going to be comfortably south of average, but good times were just ahead.
    George Benson's voice has always done the trick for me, and this is one of his best. Lovely smooth vocals, interesting instrumentation, and all in all very enjoyable. Not the best miming job though, George.

    Highlight of the week next, as Elvis Costello spits bile at Thatcher, politicians, idiot voters, Thatcher, big business, Thatcher, and Bungle from Rainbow. Well, maybe not the last one. This is great. The sparce, and kind of spooky, piano motif just adds to the atmosphere - and I love a party (political) atmosphere.

    Big Country. Magnificent, and a joy to watch. I'm no musician so I can't say whether Tony Butler was a decent bass player, but he bloody looks like one doesn't he?

    Three great songs which not even the number one/playout double whammy of Sting & Rod can spoil.

    Scores. It was looking a bit bleak for a while, but I was happy to give this show a decent 7, thanks mainly to that triumphant trio of tracks.

    The Rhythm Pals. Peel's countdown was, as expected, highly entertaining, and the fact that he even attempted the Big Country gag, never mind got it onto screen, deserves warm applause. As does his dig at Bates. Jensen was very much second banana here, but he, too, was typically affable and professional, and altogether the two can be proud of the 9 that I'm gonna drape around their necks.

    1. Peelie didn't quite get to emulate Kenny Everett who impressively managed to get the 'Big Country Member' joke in its full rudeness on one of his radio shows!

    2. tony butler was a session bassist prior to being recruited for big country, so i would have thought he was competent at the very least? and (hopefully without sounding racist) it seems he was one of few black musicians whose interest was always in rock, as opposed to "mobo" genres...

  10. Did Peelie miss his cue to introduce Shakatak? Someone audibly says "Go to town" (I.e. go for it?) and so he does. Later in the track is that the young Jim Reid soon to find fame in the Jesus and Mary Chain to the left of the picture? May not be too outlandish if he came down with H2O who I believe included Creation label founder Alan McGhee in the line-up

    1. the sax-playing chum i mentioned above was once asked to consider joining what became the jesus & mary chain - he told me he took only a brief listen at a rehearsal before declining the invitation on the basis that he thought they were complete crap!

  11. Thank goodness Peel was on top form for this one (Kid was a little loose though, wasn't he? 'HTO' anyone?) and cracking some gags since musically this show had very little to interest me. There's only 1 song that I liked and no-one else here seems to be interested in it!

    Twisted Sister - Garbage. But vaguely amusing garbage at least.

    David Bowie - One of his lesser singles. Bland.

    Ultravox - I guess this would also be considered not one of their top singles, but I don't think it's too bad actually.

    Irene Cara - A housewife song it may be, but I can stomach this more than, say, 'I've Had The Time Of My Life' though I've still heard it too often.

    H2O - Here's the one I like! Seems I'm on my own, but I love the mellow vibe of this one and the bit with the electronic sounding voices.

    George Benson - Can't stand his music, sorry.

    Imposter - Thatcher is bad, m'kay? Monarchy is bad, m'kay? Lots of other things are bad, m'kay. Oh, feck off and go back to your jaunty pop songs Declan. Like wilberforce I can't stand political crap like this.

    Shakatak - Suitably enough for a duff set of acts, they turn up. To give them their due, this is the least bad of their hits. Yeah, back-handed compliment there....

    Big Country & The Police have already been covered, that leaves us with Rod with a song that I actually don't mind compared to some of his other 80s hits.

    1. I like H20 as well! Sara Cox played it on Sot80s last night and it sounded really good on the radio at that time of night.

    2. Another vote for H2O here. Loved the vocoder bit echoing the main melody in the chorus. In fact I just downloaded it to add to my collection. Also reminds me of Feels Like Heaven by Fiction Factory.

  12. My brother had the Flashdance VHS for many years.
    Always a source of amusement at the very obvious body dance double!

    1. wasn't the dancing body double actually a guy in drag?

    2. The back spinning break dance move (ah, the 80s) was done by a bloke, the rest was by a professional female dancer (who is very obvious once you realise).

  13. The cut back to the presenters after The Police seems a bit abrupt; did it really go out this way or did BBC4 remove some mention of DLT presenting the next episode? Anyone with a non-BBC4 recording who can check?

    1. Yes, definitely an edit there, with not even a mention of the number one! Not much chance of getting the original though as it was never on UK Gold.

    2. :( Seems like it's becoming a regular thing on the show now to end by naming the next week's presenters, so there could be a lot more of these kinds of silly edits to come. So it's going to be fifteen or so episodes skipped altogether a year, a dozen more maybe edited to remove JK and then a bunch more with chopped-about links like this one. Truly complete episodes are going to end up a rarity.

    3. It does seem so drykid, and I think it's very babyish of BBC4 to be editing out even any mentions of DLT and JK from shows being presented by other people, and I wish the Beeb would grow up and behave more maturely than this.

    4. Of course the proper way to deal with this (assuming that is they have to skip yewtree'd episodes in the first place, which is a whole other discussion) would be to show episodes like this one unedited, but then follow it with an announcement saying something like "unfortunately we aren't able to bring you that particular episode due to [insert excuse here], but don't worry, Top of the Pops will still be back next week with Simon Bates and Peter Powell."

      They'll never do this though, because it would force them to actually give a reason to why they can't show DLT episodes. And why they may have some kind of wishy-washy notion that what they're doing is "the right thing", they'd be struggling to actually come up with some kind of explanation they could present viewers with that might actually convince them. So instead they're forced to pretend nothing is being skipped in the first place. It's all rather sad.

    5. As has been mentioned before, by skipping the DLT shows, it gives them an excuse to go through the TOTP years more quickly, as as there are 30 years of episodes between 1976 and 2006, and the thought of that may have been quite daunting, so it is more for the convenience of the BBC rather than the licence-paying viewers like us. Sad but true.

  14. I definitely don’t recall this one for sure. Not ringing any bells.

    Twisted Sister – The Kids are back – Sure wouldn’t have remembered this rubbish even if I had watched the show.

    David Bowie – China Girl – The one in-between for me. Two great singles from the ‘Let’s Dance’ album but this one never did it for me despite the alluring video.

    Ultravox – We came to Dance – Fourth single from the George Martin produced ‘Quartet’ album and for me slightly scraping the barrel. However, it came with a superb B-side that should not be overlooked… Midge ditches the F R David ‘sunglasses’ look halfway through this whilst Billy, Warren and Chris are in the ‘shades’ for most of this.

    Irene Cara – Flashdance – Powerful, soaring and wonderful with a fabulous video. Why did JP make a sarky comment about it during the chart rundown? Chalk up Toto and Irene as not his favourites then.

    H2O - Dream to sleep – zzzzz I felt like playing with a yo-yo during this also.

    George Benson – Lady Love me – Not one of George’s best recordings.

    The Imposter – Pills and Soap – Not one of Elvis’s best recordings.

    Shakatak – Dark is the Night – Same old tinkling piano and repeated vocal. Agree with JP on this one!

    Big Country – In a Big Country – It’s good, but I believe this was the third appearance for a non-top 10 hit? Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves though.

    Police – Every Breath you take – Getting some mileage out of that exclusive studio appearance which everyone here seems to agree was recorded the same day as the ‘interview’.

    Rod Stewart – Baby Jane – I wonder how many times a future no1 was used as a playout? Co-written by the man himself, the picture sleeve invited mutilation to enter a competition to win tickets to see Rod live in concert after answering three ‘simple questions’; 1) Rod’s last studio album was ‘Tonight I’m yours’, 2) Rod supports Scotland FC but 3) I couldn’t tell you when Rod’s last concert in the UK was (at the time)….

    1. Surely the team they wanted as an answer for the question about who he supported was Celtic FC? There is no Scotland FC as such....

    2. Sorry, should have stated the question was 'What national football team does Rod support'..

    3. Ah, OK. Yes, that is very difficult to get wrong in that case!

  15. I thought Shakatak were quite good, and obviously bolstered by the elegant podium girls dancing in front of them which seemed to be a habit now on TOTP studio performances throughout 1983. Suffice to say that the cameraman on Shakatak was desperately trying to get some upskirt angles on one of them in particular, which failed.

    There was a lot more of the Rod Stewart playout on the late night repeat for those who like more Rod, and we were one day away from a second Thatcher term that she was to secure comfortably for at least another four years till 1987. John Peel reminded us about the general election when he introduced Ultravox.

  16. Best episode of 1983 so far for me and a 40 minute epic which is now a rarity as TOTP was generally a 35 minute show at this point before eventually losing another five minutes two years later.

    Twisted Sister got us off to a roaring start, a brilliant Caledonian treble from Ultravox, H20 and Big Country, The Imposter or Costello whoever he was still made a good effort but Shakatak stole the show for me.