Thursday, 25 May 2017

Merry Top of the Pops Everybody

It's December 22nd 1983 and exactly ten million viewers, not one more not one less, are singing 'we wish you a merry top of the pops-mas and a happy new .... er .. top of the pops!

We all know how this will end ~ the Germans will win on penalties after extra-time!

22/12/83 (David Jensen & John Peel)

Slade – “Merry Christmas Everybody” (20)
Slade officially declare Christmas 1983 open but number 20 was as high as this ten years after re-entry got.

Culture Club – “Victims” (3) (video)
Also now at its chart peak.

Tears For Fears – “The Way You Are” (29)
Weirdly stuck at number 29 but edited out of tonight's 7.30 slot.

Billy Joel – “Tell Her About It” (7) (video)
Still heading towards its peak of number 4.

Dennis Waterman & George Cole – “What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors?” (26)
Sounds like someone's sold Arthur a slightly dodgy mic, and on a live show too, but Terry comes to the rescue as usual and this festive Minder offering, written by George and Dennis, made it to number 21.

Paul McCartney – “Pipes Of Peace” (22) (video)
Aside from appearances on various charity records, this song marks the final time Paul would make it to number one, indeed the final time for any Beatle, and personally, I think its a mighty fine one to sign off with.

Howard Jones – “What Is Love?” (11)
Looking like he's just finished a shift at Kwikfit, here's Howard on his way to number two.

The Flying Pickets – “Only You” (1)
They formed a picket line around the Christmas number one spot and kept Slade out, My Oh My.

Roland Rat Superstar – “Rat Rapping (Brilliant Isn’t It?)” (27) (audience dancing/credits)
Peaked at number 14.

Today's BBC1 lineup

The Christmas Day edition should be next, but Mike Smith is one of the hosts, so BBC4 will skip to December 29th 1983.


  1. Sorry to be picky Angelo but didn't George Harrison get a posthumous number one in 2002 with My Sweet Lord?

    I agree though, Pipes Of Peace is a great song and the Pipes Of Peace album is well worth a listen too.

    1. Yes, you are indeed right, the re-issue of My Sweet Lord did get to number one in 2002 following George's death.

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  3. Slade - all went well until the out-of-time miming on the last verse...embarrassing to say the least.

    Culture Club - I have lots of time for this effort by the boys, in sound and video, and I really liked the lavish and splendour of the video and the effort that went into it to give lots of colour, warmth and joy. This would have been my choice of Xmas No.1 ahead of the two songs above it in the charts, i.e. Flying Pickets and Slade.

    Billy Joel - becoming almost weekly on the show in the last few weeks with two consecutive hits. This had just about everything in it, from the old timer at the start of the video to the young couples dating on the town, to the teenage girls in sexy lingerie in the American bedroom, and their fabulous girls-only pillow fight at the end. Good Lord, I would have loved to be a pillow or duvet cover in that bedroom.

    Dennis Waterman & George Cole - this had inklings of Capstick Comes Home, a top 5 hit from two years earlier in 1981 for Tony Capstick.

    Paul McCartney - the best part of the video is at the end where he cosies up to the sandbags ready for bed, with the warm thought of his loved one back home. Nice touch there.

    1. Macca was enjoying a purple patch in terms of chart success in this part of the eighties - Pipes Of Peace was the second of four consecutive top 3 hits. The next one is pretty good too...

    2. i'm surprised mrs macca wasn't cuddling up next to him in the trenches (in drag as a "tommy" of course)

    3. The late Linda McCartney did appear in drag as a male backing singer, and also as herself, in the video for 'Coming Up' (oo-hoo-oo!):

      She may not have approached Rick Wakeman's standard as a keyboardist, or Adele's as a singer, but Lady Linda was renowned internationally as a photographer to the stars, as an animal welfare activist, and as an author of vegetarian cookbooks. Even my Dad - who was a butcher! - thought the world of her. Above all, she made Sir Paul HAPPY. She is still greatly missed.

    4. Wilberforce, the whole point of Macca on his own with only a picture of Linda to lull himself to sleep, is because the soldiers wives could not go on the battleground with the soldiers, so it would have been strange for Linda to be in the video, and so we can excuse her absence this one time, due to the storyline!

    5. Funnily enough I pulled out Level 42's 'Tracie' CD single to play in the car today and the photos on the sleeve are taken by LM.

    6. dory, i didn't watch the macca video so wasn't aware that he had a photo of mrs macca - well, she had to get her boat in there somewhere!

      sct, i loved level 42 throughout most of the 80's (and still do like most of their stuff now). but the lamentable "tracie" (both musically and lyrically with its nod to essex girls) was where i had to bail out!

  4. Kid hosts the last regular show before Christmas for the third year running, though this would be the final time as his BBC career was now just six months from ending. It's ironic (perhaps deliberately so) that the Rhythm Pals chose not to don fancy dress on this festive occasion, so we have to make do with a reasonably restrained seasonal jumper from Kid instead. Both he and his co-host are in better form this time, and I couldn't help laughing at Peel's "hear him and weep" comment about Bazza during the chart rundown...

    I suppose it was inevitable that Merry Xmas Everybody would return to the charts for its tenth anniversary, but I wonder if Slade regretted it, as some record buyers may have preferred to purchase this rather than My Oh My, and therefore helped prevent the latter from getting to number 1. Anyway, it remains an absolute Christmas classic for all its overplayed ubiquity, though even I don't really want to listen to it on a hot night in May! The band are clearly enjoying their renaissance, and unusually are on the show for the second week running, but my attention was most taken by the fairy and the foxy Santa dancing alongside them.

    Tears For Fears give us a performance which can only be distinguished from their last one by the different positions of the synth players, who are not standing in a line this time. What was it about Minder that led to so many songs connected to it hitting the charts? This is comfortably the worst, an unadulterated pile of festive bilge, though I will admit that George and Dennis turn in very unselfconscious performances here. However, George really should have left the singing to Dennis! Macca next, meeting his long lost German twin in the trenches at Christmas 1914. The video is nicely done, and the song is certainly much better than his previous festive offering from four years previously, but there is still a hint of tweeness here which sets my teeth on edge.

    Howard Jones appeared to be wearing one of those orange jumpsuits worn by American prisoners. Once again he has a ridiculous number of keyboards, though there is no piano this time. The Pickets show their solidarity with the workers by linking arms as they celebrate being at the top for Xmas, and then Roland Rat and Kevin the Gerbil, fresh from saving TV-am and twin icons of my 80s childhood, play us out. This is actually quite amusing, but you can barely hear it above the noise of the energetic crowd - I wonder if that was done on purpose...

    1. Yes indeed, Slade's Xmas helper, the foxy Santa, reminds me of the 1994 Xmas hit called Them Girls by Zig & Zag, where there were a large number of foxy Santas on stage in a 1994 TOTP studio , and was introduced by none other than an ageing Gary Glitter, 20 years after his heyday:

  5. Reeeeeally not interested in hearing Merry Christmas Everybody on the hottest night of the year. In fact I'm not keen on hearing it at all, overplayed festive tunes have lost all appeal for me.

    George must have had fun on that crane, it would have taken all he had not to go "wheeee!" as he swooped over the studio.

    Tears for Fears, eesh, this again, much the same as last time, the only thing that caught my eye was the extremely shiny gold fly on Curt's trousers. Funny what you notice when you're bored.

    A rerun of the Billy Joel video, except we get a bit more of the start and a bit more at the end. Is this the first time Topo Gigio has been mentioned on UK TV since this was broadcast?

    Den and George, now for some reason I taped this off the radio at the time, though didn't listen to it often because as you can imagine it didn't have much lasting value after Christmas. Or even during Christmas. It's weirdly aggressive for a festive single, Russell Harty dig and all. Top feat of memory in this performance, though.

    Paul McCartney, this was probably my favourite single around this week in '83 and into '84, and it still makes me nostalgic today, as Peelie points out, Macca was getting very philosophical here and that appealed to me. Plus his way with a memorable melody hadn't failed him. Taped this too. Sorry, Sir, but you probably don't need the royalties now.

    Howard Jones, with bare feet on at Christmas? He's risking a chill, surely. Once again gives up pretending to mime the keyboards, so why have them at all?

    The Flying Pickets, they knew they were having their fifteen minutes of fame and by Jupiter they were going to enjoy it. Although they did have another hit, didn't they?

    I was in the target audience for Roland Rat, but never took to him, always found him abrasive, and was far more of a radio person in the morning, even then. I do remember preferring Kenny Everett's rapping to Roland's.

  6. THX - I agree that dear Kenny Everett was far funnier than the overrated Roland Rat, who was probably conceived as a 'chav' counterpart to the upper-class (and again, much wittier) Basil Brush.

    Obviously the Waterman/Cole effort cannot be taken too seriously, but they did write it themselves! (Little Dennis to Jeremy Rent: "So you want me to write da Christmas toon, sing da Christmas toon...?")

    One of the most popular 'Christmas toons' of all time deservedly re-charted and opened this week's overview of the hit parade. Having just completed the GCSE in English literature I mentioned some months back (and here's hoping I pass this time!), I have come to the conclusion that singer and lyricist Noddy Holder MBE is the Shakespeare of hard rock/glam metal. Neville's lines in this song alone brim with liveliness and humour, from the reference to Santa's apparent inebriation in the first verse, to the pun on the band's name in the third stanza ("you've been sleighed"). The observation that a previously square grandmother can eventually be persuaded to join in the celebrations is more Dickensian, though - remember Scrooge's transformation in the final chapter of 'A Christmas Carol'?

    Noddy's finest moment as a bard, however, is arguably 'Far Far Away', which bursts with vivid descriptions of the numerous places he has visited on tour, but also contains some winking examples of innuendo (e.g. "All those Spanish nights were fine/It wasn't only from the wine"). For a more detailed description of 'physical recreation', though, try 'In For A Penny', with that racy line "You bit off more than you could chew" - ooer, Matron!

    As Steve Hack points out above, Sir Paul McCartney had regained his form - and was rewarded with success after success during 1983/84. As well as the hit singles, 'Pipes of Peace' includes the sublime McCartney/Michael Jackson duet 'The Man', which was a playlist staple on Smooth FM - or was it Magic? - during the mid-Noughties. Then came the Frog Chorus, though...

    1. Yes, shame about the Frog Chorus! The Man is a superb song though.

      Give My Regards To Broad Street - home to No More Lonely Nights - was one of the very first albums I bought when I got a walkman, £3.75 from the local record shop. At the time I didn't realise that most of the tracks were rehashes of his earlier solo work.

  7. slade: i think this was put out every xmas for many years after it was originally a hit, but was it their own decision to promote it this time? after all, they hadn't been on polydor for many a year by now (i remember the early barn label singles flops hanging around the bargain bins in vast quantities in the mid-to-late 70s's). and as john points out, it might have helped scupper their chances of a first no. 1 hit for nigh on a decade. and it sounds like the same recording to me - didn't they think about doing some kind of 80's style remix?

    tears for fears: i was at the tff poole gig mentioned by kid - sorry, david jensen that night! i wasn't a big fan at the time, and actually went to see an ex-band colleague play with the support act (i think they were called "the escape" to my recollection). but i thought i'd stay on afterwards just to get my money's worth, and against my expectation was blown away by what i later realised was material from the forthcoming "songs from the big chair" album. and remained a fan for the next album after that as well. there's a similar stage arrangement here as before, but this time the ever-modest roland makes sure he's the centre of attention with the other synths angled towards his. i noticed the drummer had no cymbals in his kit, which ironically was the way the above ex-bandmate had his arranged

    "tel" & "arfer": not one i remember, but that's no surprise as i avoided novelty records like the plague at the time - even though i was a fan of the tv series itself. given most of the "song" is talking, they could have arranged it in a key that suited george cole's vocal range a bit better. yes they are professional actors, so you should expect the dialogue to be word-perfect. but even so it's quite impressive given that they probably performed it no more than a couple of times

    macca: i was unfortunate to study the "great war" and its convoluted build-up for "o" level history at school. it pretty much bamboozled me at the time (somehow i got a "C" - had we done the WWII i'm sure i would have cruised to an "A" as not only was it a lot more straightforward, it was a damn sight more interesting), and all i can make out even now is that it was a glorified game of chess by the toffs who were willing to sacrifice millions of great unwashed pawns just to preserve the bourgeoisie - no wonder communism was flourishing at the time! i remember bits of this, but i'm not prepared to refresh my memory with the bits i don't. one thing i do recall was that macca had an annoying habit of constantly referring to it in interviews as "peaps of pice"

    roland rat: although i was aware of mr rat and his chum kevin through the tabs, i never had the time to watch theirs or the beeb's breakfast show (or even have breakfast for that matter) as my nights were far more important to me than my mornings - as soon as the hated alarm went off, i would be racing to try and get to work on time. and usually fail. even though mercifully i've not actually heard too much (c)rap on the show thus far, this and the recent kenny everett effort indicate it was already ripe for parody. tragically though that didn't prevent it from getting a lot bigger over the next few decades, instead of doing the decent thing and fading away like other novelty fads

  8. Shakey Shakerson26 May 2017 at 11:29

    Well, it may have started off with all guns blazing, but 1983 is going out with all the damp squibbiness of that seventh firework in a box of ten fireworks that you bought off that dodgy feller down the pub. Where's the style and dash and elan that I thought the eighties was all about?

    Certainly not in this week's opener as Slade drag out Noddy's pension for another day in the snow. Why oh why?

    Another showing for the Culture Club Victims vid - and probably the best thing on show tonight. If memory serves this was the closing track of a new multi-act compilation album called Now Thats What I Call Music. (And I'm here to tell you that THAT will never catch on!)

    TFF and a song I have no recollection of.

    The unfortunately-initialled Billy Joel up next with what was then something of a novelty video with a fairly lengthy non-music intro. Liked this in 83, bored with it in 17.

    Minder. Another of those 'funny' songs that was not funny and very nearly not a song either. As much as I loved the TV show, this was a very poor cash-in, although I quite liked the idea that Arfur should be lumbered with a microphone he probably got from his own lock-up.

    Macca. Christmas Song. Video.

    And if all that wasn't bad enough we end with a triple whammy of three of the most irritating acts known to man.

    Scores. 2 for the music. And a mere 5 for the formerly impeccable Rhythm Pals who look like they have already signed off from work for Christmas with only a couple of Peel's sardonic comments lifting this above the line marked average.

    Come on 1984. You have to be better, I is tellin ya, ya just have to be.

    Merry 1983 Xmas Everybody!!!

  9. Before I review this one, probably worth me saying that it may take me a little longer from now on to comment, because I am now back at work after almost a year of unemployment! Fortunately, that period has covered one of my favourite years for music (82) and another mostly decent one (83) whereas 84 was the year I lost interest in music, partly (as discussed previously) due to Richard Skinner taking over the Top 40. Anyhow...Christmas on one of the hottest days of the year? Go on then....

    Slade - I didn't have the balls to ask Jim Lea exactly how much he gets from this song every year. Yes, we've heard it quite enough but it IS a great song.

    Culture Club - Nice edit on this one, I don't think!

    Tears For Fears - 2 showings for a small hit, but at least I like it!

    Waterman & Cole - Shame about the microphone, but kudos for doing this one live. Actually, although it's obviously not the finest song ever, I quite enjoyed it!

    Paul McCartney (eventually - the vision mixer got a bit confused here, didn't he?) - I always found it a bit weird that this was released so close to Christmas, it would have got to the top for the festive chart then, surely?
    As for the song, I don't mind it.

    The Flying Pickets - What a miserable, tedious performance. This may not be popular amongst some here, but typical hardcore lefties! Now I know why we always see the Doctor Who or Snowmen performances.

    Roland Rat - I bought this single....hilarious seeing everyone trying to dance to it. Shame we didn't get an extended session on the late night edition.

    1. noax: although i hope your new job makes your circumstances better for you, i'm sorry to read that your reviews might be compromised as a result. you've been a real mainstay for ages now, and what with arthur falling by the wayside as a regular contributor due to circumstances beyond his control and bama struggling to keep up with the deluge (readers should remember to go back a few entries for his belated submissions!) the regulars seem to be dwindling somewhat these days. regarding my own commitment to this blog: thanks to it being the end of 1983, i've been thinking again about my intention to "retire" as a regular reviewer after the 1984 shows. and due to having ongoing problems accessing the shows themselves, that's looking more likely than ever now (so a mere 6 months to go!). but hopefully new blood will have come in by then to take up the baton?

    2. Yes, there has been something of a tailing off in regular contributions in recent months, though hopefully Arthur will be able to rejoin us at some point, and Noax won't have too much difficulty in continuing to contribute. For myself, 1984 is the last year that I would regard as a great one for chart music, and if the repeats end after it I won't be too bothered, though if they continue I will probably cling on up the end of 1987, by which time things really were going pear-shaped...

    3. I'm staying on board until the end of 1995, as that was the final year of true videos produced on location, as the internet arrived, and we were about to leave the golden era of pop music forever., to make way for boybands and girlbands in mass production and improper videos made by computers.

    4. I was still interested in chart music when TOTP finished (I like pop, OK?! - he says defensively!) so I'll watch the repeats for as long as they continue.

      Of course, we'll never see the final episode on TV ever again...

    5. I remember watching the last ever episode of TOTP in 2006, and it wasn't that good to see a Jimmy Saville who had just turned 80, and back in the studio for the first time since...erm I don't know.

    6. I've still got the show on video somewhere, it was lots of clips and no performances in the studio. They followed it with an updated documentary where the then controller of BBC2 tried to justify why it was being axed. Putting it up against Corrie and moving it to BBC2 weren't mentioned.

      I think there's still a place for a weekly TOTP that showcases new music, not just what's in the charts, maybe Saturday teatime instead of endless Pointless repeats.

    7. I think the BBC moved onto Later With Jools as their flagship show, following the demise of TOTP in 2006. Certainly the studio used for Jools's show, appears to be the original TOTP studio, so it must have just evolved from there after we saw the last of TOTP.

    8. Nowadays Jools Holland's show is filmed at the Maidstone studios in Kent. I live in the area, and not so long ago saw Joe Walsh from The Eagles at the local station getting into a cab, which was taking him to the studios for an interview with Jools!

    9. That is very interesting, cos there is no way I would have imagined the it is filmed in Maidstone of all places. I had just assumed that the former TOTP studios were the perfect setting for Later with Jools, as the studio sets do look very similar in my opinion.

    10. Later only moved down to Maidstone a couple of years ago, after TV Centre closed down. For much of its life (it started in 1992), I'm sure it was filmed in the same studios as TOTP.

    11. I think TOTP was filmed at Elstree during the nineties - when the show got revamped it was moved so it could have a permanent set and sound system. It moved back in the early noughties when they launched the 'star bar' feature.

      Just a guess but are the Maidstone studios the former home of TVS?

    12. Moved back to TV Centre that is.

    13. Yes, the Maidstone studios are the old TVS ones. I did go there once back in the TVS days, as part of the audience for a recording of Mousetrap, the Saturday morning kids' gameshow that was based on the board game. When one of the two episodes I saw recorded was subsequently transmitted, I remember being very excited to catch a brief glimpse of myself in the audience!

    14. It is interesting that the BBC has taken over a former ITV region studio like TVS.
      From childhood memory, being in the Thames/LWT area myself, I remember that most TVS broadcasts involved Fred Dineage. Remember him anyone in the 70s as one of the most regular presenters on TV?

    15. Oh yes Fred Dinenage, a legend from Southern days and still doing the local news today.

      He used to present a quiz show called Gambit in which he was rude to the contestants. In one episode he invited a contestant who sang in their spare time to 'give us a little trill' - she duly did, only for Fred to say 'fine, don't call us.'

    16. Didn't he also co-present the show 'How' in the 70s?

    17. He did and when it returned in the 90s. The original version also had Jack 'Out Of Town' Hargreaves on it who also appeared on many of Southern's programmes.

    18. fred also used to fill in on "world of sport" whenever regular presenter dickie davies was unavailable

    19. Fred continues to present the local ITV news in the South and South East to this day, though in the TVS era the South East had its own news programme (broadcast from Maidstone) and we didn't get Fred at that time. His daughter Caroline has been a Tory MP since 2010, and is currently a junior minister.

    20. I think only the TVS area population see Fred on TV these days, as I think he dropped out of the nationally broadcast programmes at the end of the 70s, as I only recall seeing him on TV then, and in practically every program going, including World Of sport!

    21. We used to get Fred's version of the local news which he presented for several years with Fern Britton. When Meridian won the franchise they split the area into three to add a third news programme so Fred was confined to the South only but continued to appear nationally on How when it was revived in the 90s.

      I wonder if there's a song that features Fred in the lyrics?

    22. Fred Dinenage MBE turns 75 next week, and has been presenting TV programmes for 53 years, and still employed by Meridian TV (formerly TVS). Nice one Fred!

    23. He was presenting a programme about crimes on one of the Discovery channels, so thats the closest you'll get for Fred network appearances these days!

      Talking of Roland Rat, I'll admit to buying the single at the time & following the bugger on Twitter now.

      Talking of ex network tv icons now working locally, Tvam's Nick Owen celabrates 20 years at Bbc Midlands Today later this year!

    24. Nick Owen's finest moment on network TV came in May 1983 when he interviewed Legs & Co on Breakfast TV, about a year-and-a-half after their departure from TOTP, when they were looking for a new name, and he still felt hot under the collar, as you can see in this clip:

    25. I think Fred did either a series or a book about the Krays which would explain his appearance on Doscovery. If his stint on Gambit was anything to go by, he took some tips off them as well.

  10. I kept a copy of the last ever TOTP which also features DLT I think, as well as - mystifyingly, given his tiny contribution - Pat Sharp.

    As for my future contributions, expect me to be a little bit slower than usual (but hopefully not as far behind as bama!) and maybe a little less detailed at times. Having been in it from the start, I don't intend to disappear completely...

    1. DLT and Pat Sharp were definitely on it, along with Janice Long and Edith Bowman. Can't remember who else was on it, although I think the last shot was Savile switching the lights off and shaking his head.

    2. Noax, I've caught up now, well almost.

    3. Mike Read & Sarah Cawood as well.

      Reggie was in the studio, but Fearne was a prerecord from Love Island!

    4. Mike Read & Sarah Cawood as well.

      Reggie was in the studio, but Fearne was a prerecord from Love Island!

  11. I really haven't got much to say about this edition other than the Sainsbury's Christmas advert of 2014 ripped the 'Pipes of Peace' video off something rotten! Sold a lot of chocolate bars off the back of it I don't doubt! Great song from Sir Paul in any case.

  12. All-in-all this show was a bit disappointing as the self-styled Christmas Show. I would have expected better. While I loved the Slade track as a ten year old in 1973 hearing it ten years later it left me a bit cold. Working in a record shop, as I did back then, there are some songs you just don't want to hear anymore and this was one of them. Still a fair performance even if Dave Hill is more interested in playing footie with a balloon than he is dancing with the festive fairy lady.

    The end of the Victims video this time and it still makes no sense and is a case of style over content. We all know who the Victims were here.

    Hearing the TFF song a second time in a few days it sounds better in a chanty-sythi sort of way, but you can see why this wasn't a big hit. Better was to come but not for a while.

    I loved the Billy Joel track at the time and still do even if it does seem an obvious pastiche of 60s Motown. I love the spoof of the Ed Sullivan Show and this is the first of two videos on the show that starts with a date.

    From the sublime to the slightly ridiculous. While I loved comedy and TV tie-in records as a kid (The Goodies, Benny Hill, etc) by this point I just found this type of thing embarassing. Full marks to Dennis and George though they do mange to get through it but it only gets one laugh and you can see why this didn't get any higher. At the time I was working at our price and we were all given a promotional beer mat advertising the record. I think I still have mine somewhere. Also I found a signed copy of this in a charity shop a few years ago and bought it purely because it was signed.

    Like Billy Joel Macca is determined to have two records in the chart at the same time but this one arrived just a little too late for the Christmas top spot. Mind you with the strength of The Flying Pickets maybe that was fortuitous. Unlike Slade I still love this today and especially the video which was such a brilliant idea.

    I don't like Howard Jones without Jed, it seems wring somehow and the stage looks too bare without him. But Howie makes up for it with his multiple keyboards and theatrical gestures.

    The Pickets continue flying at number one. Good to see their faces this week although the more I see this the less I like it as some of them look a bit embarased about what they are doing, ie they didn't think it through and that they would have to mime it over and over again on the telly. It would have been better for them to do it live but as they weren't really professional singers that presumably wasn't going to happen.

    I spy Jeff "Reg Hollis" Stewart in between our rhythm pals. Not sure what it was he mouthed at the end but it could be a bit rude.

    The show was patchy enough but then ends on a real low of lows with Roland Rat. This made The Whicker Rap seem like hight art by comparison. Who the hell bought this crap?

    1. out of interest i thought i'd look up the thespians performing in this show on IMDB to see how many acting credits they have (the benchmark of being in varied regular employment seems to be three figures):

      dennis waterman: 84
      george cole: 126

      and the flying pickets:

      brian hibberd: 53
      david brett: 6
      ken gregson: 1
      rick lloyd: 0 (although he has 1 soundtrack credit)
      gareth williams: 0
      red stripe: 0

      what i didn't know was that christopher ryan (aka "mike" from "the young ones") was a member pre-"only you", and that the act is still going today (although all those seen on totp had left by 1990)