Friday, 14 July 2017

Top of the Pops and Seek

Close your eyes and count down from forty and there's a live edition of Top of the Pops from March 8th 1984 for you to find, but you won't be playing alone, there's another 9.65 million people helping you look!

Now you see me .........



08/03/84 (Gary Davies & Richard Skinner)

Phil Fearon & Galaxy – “What Do I Do?” (27)
Getting the show off to a carnival start here with his first of two top ten hits in 1984, What Do I Do peaked at number 5.

Kool & The Gang – “Joanna” (2) (video)
Now in it's prime, just like Joanna herself. But edited out of the 7.30 broadcast.

The Weather Girls – “It’s Raining Men” (36)
Like a bolt of lightening, this song seemed to come from nowhere and electrify the charts all the way to number 2. But it was the only hit for the duo, though Martha Wash went on to have a couple of solo top tenners in the 90's.

Tracey Ullman – “My Guy” (32) (video)
She did make some very entertaining videos, and this time the surprise guest star is Neil Kinnock! But sadly Tracey's pop career was already on the wane and this Madness cover peaked at number 23.

Sade – “Your Love Is King” (37)
There are some genuine 'wow' moments on Top of the Pops, and this has got to be one of them - the debut of Sade, with what was, almost unbelievably, her only top ten hit, peaking at number 6.

Bananarama – “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” (38)
Number 3 was the highest the girls ever peaked in the charts, and this dance floor filler was the first of their three number threes.

Howard Jones – “Hide & Seek” (12)
I remember watching this totally live performance at the time and being truly impressed, it was the first time I'd been aware of anyone doing it live on Top of the Pops (I must've missed New Order) and on a live show too! ~ But number 12 was its peak.

........... now you don't!


Nena – “99 Red Balloons” (1) (rpt from 16/02/84)
Second of three weeks at the top.

Mel Brooks – “To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)” (31) (video/credits)
Straight after a German band we get ........ this. Taken from the soundtrack of the movie of the same name, although it didn't appear in the movie itself, it peaked at number 12.

Today on BBC1


Next up should be March 15th, but Mike Smith is a host, so BBC4 will move on March 22nd.

105 comments:

  1. The coolest former science teacher ever to have graced the TOTP stage, Phil Fearon and his glamorous backing duo Galaxy open with an exuberant post-disco gem that still crops up on oldies radio from time to time. Maracas, tambourines and at least one cabasa are handed out to members of the audience, while Phil himself uses a maraca as a microphone. He was so entertaining!

    Martha Wash of The Westher Girls would score a total of 5 British Top 10 hits in the following decade, though all were collaborations: 2 with Black Box, 1 with C+C Music Factory and 2 with Todd Terry. In the case of C+C Music Factory's 'Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now}', however, she was eventually credited as co-performer after taking legal action against the dance outfit.

    As Tracey Ullman's singing career started to falter with this somewhat contrived Madness cover, Helen Folasade Adu CBE (as she is now officially styled) made a stunning debut. Though I did not rate Tracey too highly as a singer, her recent return to British TV screens as a comic actress was most welcome.

    'Robert De Niro's Waiting' is, for me, Bananarama's finest moment on disc, notwithstanding the greater heights they would subsequently reach with Stock, Aitken & Waterman. It is lyrically and musically intelligent, matching a sensitive yet forthright lyric to a memorable tune.

    Mel Brooks' offering, co-written and produced by British session veteran Pete Wingfield, is as witty and articulate as one would expect from the great writer-director - who is one of only 18 individuals to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

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    1. It was interesting to see Skinner introducing the Tracey Ullman song as "Neil Kinnock with a little help from Tracey Ullman". I guess he was thinking along the same lines as you, i.e., did not rate Ullman too highly as a singer. But to cover a Madness song call My Girl, that got to no.3 in January 1980.

      Good Lord, did Ullman think she could also get to No.3 but changing the title to 'My Guy'? Even the new video was not as good as Ullman's earlier offerings, never mind the Madness original.

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  2. hosts: another pointless "live" edition - the only difference from normal ones is that the deejays don't get a second chance after they've fluffed their intros (and dickie falls at the first hurdle in that regard)

    phil fearon/galaxy: so if phil isn't galaxy, then exactly who is? presumably the helen shapiro and lady diana clones he's still got in tow as backing singers/dancers (shaking their maracas this time - ho ho!). like his/their last effort, i had no prior recollection of this one either. it's much the same as his previous hits, although if i had to choose one to listen to this would probably be it. i have no plans to add it to my 80's dance collection though! did anyone notice the brief insert shot of what was presumably the rio carnival which would have been held around this time (of which a rather poor-man's version is attempted in the studio)? sadly phil doesn't show off his gymnastic skills this time, although he does get to lead a conga. which is related to afro-cuban music by the way, not brazilian - although as modern romance have so ably demonstrated, who in blighty at that point cared what part of latin america that stuff came from?

    kool: next!

    weather girls: they might have been seen on the show already in their previous incarnation as sylvester's backing singers (and then known as "two tons of fun"). although ladies are singing this, it was written by a gay man for the gay market. so i suppose it opened the floodgates (ho ho) in terms of homosexuality being openly celebrated in pop music. although i have to admit that i may not have been aware of that at the time! regardless of that i was utterly ambivalent towards it back then, and (to use noax's line about overplayed stuff like this) it's definitely in the "housewife favourites" category now!

    tracey ullman: what, hasn't she had enough of this pop star lark yet? get back to the day job, woman!

    sade: like many i was initially lured by the premise of sultry sophistication offered by the exotic ms adu and her chums. but even at this stage i soon realised it was a case of style over content, as the song interest runs out very quickly (i recently listened to an interview with band member stuart matthewman, who admitted that they were rather naive when it came to songwriting and didn't know the basics of the craft). despite selling millions of copies of the album "diamond life" and its xeroxed follow-ups it's not as surprisingly as angelo thinks that they only had one top ten hit, as her followers were buying into a lifestyle rather than the actual music itself ("can you put the sade album on in the background for our cheese fondue soiree tonight darling?")

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    1. I must admit I was very surprised to find out that Smooth Operator only got to 19 in the British charts, given the amount of airplay it has had over the years. The Americans, of course, couldn't get enough of Sade, and seemingly still can't even today.

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    2. The title Smooth Operator conjures up images of a hairless guy who works in a telephone exchange. Could that be what Ms Adu meant?

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    3. Smooth Operator was co-written by a member of Halo James, who had a hit at the start of 1990 with Could've Told You So. I agree with you John about Smooth Operator's low chart position, it never seemed to be off the radio at the time. Not a favourite of mine, but Your Love Is King was a good song.

      As for the hosts, Dickie loses marks for adopting Slimy's signature time check move. It's a good thing they weren't paired up for this live edition, we'd have got watch shots pretty much every link.

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    4. for some reason i was getting halo james (what kind of stupid name is that?) confused with an act called breathe, who had a hit with a song called "hands to heaven"

      i remember having a soft spot for it at the time, and listening again now for the first time in 30 years it still holds up for me (cliched sanborn-style sax wailing apart) as a catchy and well-crafted piece of late 80's post-synth-pop:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC5InWPjtL8

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    5. Halo James were originally called Halo Jones after the brilliant Alan Moore comic strip in 2000 AD, but the lawyers came a-calling and the band were forced to change it (not very imaginatively!).

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    6. That puts me in mind of the occasion when Manfred Mann changed the title of their latest single from "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr Jones", to "Mr James," lest anyone think they were taking a pop at the recently-departed Paul Jones!

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  3. pt ii...

    bananarama: de niro was considered a legend even at this time, although i don't really know what all the fuss is about the guy (a couple of years back having had access to a dvd, i deliberately watched "taxi driver" all the way though due to the "we're not worthy" hoo haa over it, and in my view it's one of the worst films i've ever had the misfortune to watch. and as they say: that's two hours of my life that i'll never get back!). as far as our talentless trio are concerned, i could say the same about them as ms ullman in that they've now outlasted their welcome. but unlike her they had no day job to go back to!

    howard jones: this guy with all his array of synths and drum machines is bad enough, so i'm certainly not going to bother watching him prodding away at a piano

    mel brooks: definitely the highlight of this edition for me - not just the video itself, but the musical backing track is genuinely funky as well. it's funny that although the second world war was a lot fresher in people's memories then than now, unlike today it was perfectly acceptable to view the nazis as some kind of object of light-hearted ridicule. i remember doing a gig with my band that summer, where the PA guy turned up wearing one of those "hitler's world tour" t-shirts that had a list of "dates" on the back (1938 austria, 1939 poland, etc). the funniest thing about it was that the russian "gig" was covered up with a "cancelled" sticker!

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    1. There was a lot more of the Mel Brooks offering on the late night repeat, about twice as much!
      I think the 1980's was the last decade where light-hearted ridicule on Nazi topics was still acceptable. Comedy shows like The Two Ronnies, The Russ Abbott Show, and Dick Emery were regular users of war topics to ridicule and poke fun of, in order to get us to laugh too. Dad's Army was probably the most notable comedy show on Nazi Germany.

      Back to Mel Brooks, and there were certainly some sexy girls on the new video, especially the one at the beginning directly on his right, and to our left, wiggling her boobs in that shiny silver dress. Brrr! What number in the charts was this?...hmm, No.31 this week....

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    2. I expect the BBC will show the whole 7 minutes of Mel Brooks Hitler rap on the Saturday repeat.

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    3. The original video is only 4-and-a-half minutes long Bama, so I don't know where you are getting the 7 minutes from, unless you are referring to the 12 inch version.

      However I think we got quite a lot of it on the Thursday repeat, which was possibly more than what was in the original broadcast in 1984. Having just watched the original video in full on Utube, it was as much about the black leathered sexy dancers as Brooks himself, but one of the best videos so far in 1984.

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    4. Yes I did mean the 12 inch version. It was joke based on the fact that the BBC got it wrong last week when they missed out Soft Cell.

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  4. Shakey Shakerson15 July 2017 at 02:49

    Skinneeeeeer! and Ooh Gary Davies are tonights hosts and its all live. Whoo hoo. Presumably the guy writing the chart rundown was doing it live as well as he manages to misidentify Sade as Slade.

    Phil Fearon. Its pleasant enough and -as always - Mr Galaxy gives it his all in performing it, but it never really gets going does it?

    Kool & The Gang sing a paen to the lovely Joanna but in the video it is sung to a matronly waitress who, and I'm being kind here, is clearly twice their age. A very weird concept. Musically not their finest work either.

    The Weather Girls. My word they were big weren't they?. This is one of those songs that is interesting when first heard, but quickly loses that interest on repeated hearings. Probably gets played more at Male Stripper Nights than anywhere else these days.

    Tracy Ullman. Too soon after the original and a clear sign of running out of ideas.

    Sade. Not my cup of tea at all. To my mind she is the female solo version of Shakatak - but without the kudos of being mates with John Peel.

    The Nanas best single. You have to admire the way they stuck to the 'three council estate girls just having fun' schtick without even trying to engage with critics by doing anything 'proper'.

    Talking of which.... Howard Jones. Don't like him, don't like his music and this is just appalling. There are words, he sings them, and there is musical accompaniment but this is is no way a song. Gives dirge a bad name. I can't even give him credit for singing live, because it just showed up how poor a singer he actually was.

    The chart rundown, Nena at number 1 and the glorious To Be Or Not To Be to play out. Even though its a pastiche/parody/pisstake, the rap is actually well written and Brookes delivers it with aplomb. Which is a good job cos without him we were looking at a score of 3. As it is, the show still earns a measly 4.

    Presenters. Average. Skinner muffed his opening lines and Davies dropped points for his 'medalion man' gag AND the thing about dying Skinner's hair. They too score 4.

    Guess I picked the wrong time to make a come back, huh.

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    1. The Kool & The Gang video was played more throughly this time round, with more of the video now at no.2 than a couple of weeks earlier. The extra bit we got this week was Kool's new girlfriend out on the night town, who was not the middle-aged Joanna in the diner, but a young hottie with lots of sex appeal. I couldn't really understand this shift from the Joanna serving the Gang in the diner and Kool singing about her, only for Kool to ditch her for a young hottie in the second half of the video taking that cab ride and soft kisses. Nice for the viewers, but poor old Joanna, she really did not deserve being ditched for the young hottie. Or maybe that was the whole twist to the video that was Kool's intention from the lyrics. I must admit it is still somewhat confusing from here as a viewer.

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    2. The young lady in the K&tG video is the younger version of Joanna, she's reminiscing about her younger days in flashback.

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    3. So does that mean that Kool himself in the diner did not age, as he is the same Kool taking out a younger version of her out on the town? Do only women age over one generation, and men stay locked in time?

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    4. The singer was not actually Kool - that was the bass player, Robert "Kool" Bell. The singer was James "J.T." Taylor (they clearly liked using nicknames as middle names in that band). As THX says, the younger woman is clearly meant to be the younger version of Joanna, as the 50s/60s fashions in the flashback sequences further imply, but it is weird that J.T. does not age at all. We just have to accept it as dramatic licence, I guess...

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    5. Still, the Joanna video reminds me so much of Meat Loaf's 1981 video for More Than You Deserve, taken from the Deadringer For Love album, also filmed in a similar American diner with him doting over the waitress in charge:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL4jJ0_5p1Q

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  5. Phil Fearon and the Coconuts to start, this one's all right by his middling standards, has a proper tune and he sells it with his energetic stylings, though presumably if he'd tried a flip in the reduced circumstances of this episode he'd have brained somebody.

    Kool and the Gang, whoever said those fried eggs looked grim, they were absolutely correct, were they rubber?

    The Weather Girls, with a song I'd gladly never hear again, but I gave it a go anyway. They didn't really weigh two tons, did they? They actually look quite nimble in spite of their enormous mass, and it's a professional performance, but such a pandering song that it quickly grates. And it was covered by Geri Halliwell, am I correct? Which managed to be even worse, and even more pandering if that's possible.

    Tracey Ullman doing a way too hasty cover of Madness. And people wondered why nobody took Neil Kinnock seriously. The telephone lock is interesting, it must have been a thing because it's in the video, but were they especially prevalent? They weren't exclusively used by parents to stop their offspring running up the phone bills, were they?

    Sade, the cool as a cucumber laid back pop jazz, the low and classy vocals, the screamingly tight hairdo, the feeling they were a one trick pony after the second single... she was an arresting performer, that's for sure, but the repertoire was limited.

    Bananarama, possibly their finest three minutes, a catchy song about recovering from an assault, not that many noticed at the time. When I was a kid I had no idea who Robert De Niro was (he didn't show up in family movies!) so I thought this was a religious song about a monk called Brother De Niro.

    Howard Jones, I wasn't too impressed with the video of a couple of weeks back, but though his vocals are weak in places, I warmed to this, it has quite a nice, wistful chorus. I am surprised he could see the keys on his piano, mind you. Audience more captivated by seeing themselves on the monitors, however.

    Nena, with the third showing of the studio performance. Prominently featuring a plastic bowler hat, as seen when Cheggers was doing an O.B. on Swap Shop.

    Mel Brooks, reminds me of the joke ad in the Spitting Image book that his next movie was called "Totally Obsessed with Nazis". Quite a funky little number, but you just don't see this kind of parody anymore, and it looks jarring to see it now, lighthearted about a very dark subject. Brooks would argue his humour took away the Nazis' power, but the 80s was the last decade where jokes about them in mainstream culture were the norm. All kinds of "interesting" - but funny? Oh, and the remake of To Be or Not To Be was a big mistake - the original was an incredibly brave pisstake at a dreadful time for the world, the 80s version looked more like a vanity project, the first sign Brooks could be fallible (though History of the World Part I was already a step down from his 70s movies).

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    1. The Weather Girls were better known for the video of Its Raining Men, and I can't remember a studio performance, so it could be that I missed this edition at the time, as my mother had probably told me to leave the TV and do my O Levels revision coming up within a couple of months or so in early 1984. In any case, Its Raining Men is one of those disco classics that has stood the test of time a generation later, and yes THX, it was covered by Geri Halliwell about 20 years later in the early 2000's.

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    2. I remember my landlord putting one of those stupid lock things on his phone to stop be using it. What he didn't know was that you could tap the receiver to dial as well so I got round it that way and made a few lengthy calls and even phoned up the talking clock a couple of times just o get my own back on his meanness.

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    3. belated reply on phones: at this time i lived in a shared house where i acted as the absent landlord's representative (collecting rent on his behalf and so on), and decided it would be useful to have a phone installed in the house. however i wasn't prepared to risk arguments over unpaid bills being run up by unscrupulous fellow-tenants. so i made sure it had incoming calls only, and if i needed to make calls i went to the local phone box!

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    4. I didn't know that you could have landline phones only able to receive calls and not dial them, so how was this possible?

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    5. to paraphrase oddball's quote about his tank in "kelly's heroes": i don't know how they work, i just use them! all i can say is that it was obviously a service that BT offered at the time. the phone itself may not even have had a dialling mechanism on it, but i can't remember that now...

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  6. Good Lord, I'm really not enjoying this 'temporary' new TOTP studio which is apparently the BBC canteen borrowed for the show. It just doesn't have the space and open areas of the TOTP studio standing with the same look since at least 1980. Only Nena this week we can see with the footage from 16.2.84 where she was the last performer in the 'old' TOTP studio with that main stage appearance in front of the TOTP video screen.

    The new temporary video screens in the temporary studio are literally engulfing the performers, and far too distracting from the performers in the studio. I can't wait till we're back to the TOTP studio we know and love, but I'll settle for the old footage of Nena in it that we can still see this week at No.1 on a show with the new 'canteen' studio.

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    1. I don't think this studio really was the BBC canteen - that was just Mike Read's attempt at a joke.

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    2. The BBC kids TV studio was called The Broom Cupboard. The BBC staff had names for lots of things, some of which are unreatable.

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    3. The Broom Cupboard was actually the BBC continuity announcer's booth, so Philip Schofield and his successors had to do the technical continuity stuff like fading up the next programme, as well as linking the shows, while they were on air.

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  7. A very mixed bag of a show, ably enough hosted by a rapidly-greying Dickie and an increasingly self-confident Gazza. It seems to now be a bit of a thing with him to have a running joke with his co-host during the chart rundown, as we saw with DLT recently, hence the exchange of hair dye and a medallion as "gifts." Credit to Dickie as well for humorously acknowledging the Sade/Slade gaffe - as both were in the charts at the same time, I guess it was a relatively excusable mistake!

    This Phil Fearon effort was slightly more memorable than his previous releases, though more for the presentation than the average-sounding song. As THX alludes above, there was more than a hint of Kid Creole to the performance, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It's Raining Men is one of those songs which is quite amusing the first time you hear it, but rapidly grows tiresome, and I would quite gladly never hear it again. The ex-Two Tons of Fun do at least provide a suitably camp and glittery performance, complete with naff lightning bolts.

    It seems a bit strange to me that TOTP were willing to show this Tracey Ullman video, considering the free publicity it was giving to the then-new leader of the Labour Party. Still, it didn't do him much good in the long run, and this second-rate Madness cover would also hasten the end of Tracey's brief pop career, though she would soon be enjoying big success on American TV and introducing the world to The Simpsons. Sade next, with trademark Croydon facelift and over-bright lipstick. I do still quite like the effortless slinkiness of this tune, and it's a cut above anything Matt Bianco put out, but there is no doubt that Ms Adu's singing abilities are quite limited.

    The same observation more than applies to the Nanas, but this is still a fine little pop song, and the girls look very happy to be back on TOTP. Apparently Robert De Niro did actually invite them for a drink after this was released, though it only scraped to 95 on the American charts. The thought occurs that I have never actually seen a De Niro film, or a Tom Cruise one, for that matter! Howard Jones acquits himself reasonably well in this all-live, dry ice-dominated performance, but the song still sounds a bit of a mess to me. Strange also that he had a lip mic in addition to the one attached to the top of his keyboard - surely one or the other would have been enough?

    Mel Brooks plays us out with an amusing and really quite catchy parody, which is far more listenable than most rap records. It's impossible to imagine something like this making the charts nowadays, or even getting airplay, but political correctness had not quite taken hold in 1984. The video shamelessly exploits the kinkiness of Nazi uniforms, and the studio audience don't seem in the least bothered by the words and get into the groove instead. Anyone else notice that Mel shamelessly reuses some of the lyrics from Springtime For Hitler?

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    1. Robert De Niro's made some good movies, but you're not missing much with the Cruiser, he is so cardboard his huge success baffles me. Belongs to a seriously dodgy cult, too.

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    2. "cruiser" is an apt way of describing the diminutive toothy one, as rumours of being an alleged closeted homosexual gentleman (whilst using various "beards" to try and head people off at the pass) have done the rounds for many years now. the same thing applies to his fellow bad actor and cult follower john travolta as well...

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  9. Dickie and Gary make a fairly good team but perhaps aren't up to the standards set by others. The hair dye and medallion jokes were funny, not that the crowd seemed to appreciate them. As it's a live show Dickie is doing a Slimon and keeps giving us time checks.

    Nice use of typography and colour for the captions this week, the show has a very classy, stylish look (at last).

    Phil Fearon and Galaxy are a great way to start the show. I can remember dancing to this one a few times (I wasn't called "snake hips" for nothing). Phil's backing singers look like two the Coconuts who were moonlighting from Kid Creole's band. Didn't quite get the extensive use of maracas here as there aren't any discernible ones on the record and the conga thing at the end was a bit ramshackle and didn't quite work.

    (Not-so) Kool and the Gand next. Not sure what Dickie means by "direct from the USA" it's just the same video for Grandma Joanna we saw last time. This is a nicely arranged, very catchy pop song but is so far removed from the band's previous slick funky output that it's scary. It's like Motorhead doing a folk ballad.

    I think I first heard It's Raining Men in late 1982 and it's a great novelty dance track co-wriiten David Letterman's later MD Paul Shaffer. This was very big in the gay clubs before it hit the charts. You can tell who all the gay guys are in the crowd because they're the ones who know all the words and are singing along. They should have copied the video here and had a few muscly male dancers in rain macs with umbrellas.

    Another superb video form Tracy Ullman. Not quite as good a song as the previous hits but still pretty fantastic. Lots of great moments here including Tracy playing her own Mary Whitehouse-lookalike mum, the Edmonton tower block dance routine with the kids copying and of course Neil Pillock doing what he does best, ie making a fool of himself.

    I had mixed feelings about Sade at time. While I did like her husky voice and the catchy cool jazz tunes I did think she was a tad over exposed. This is an odd performance where the camera bizarrely focusing on the band members when she hits the high notes. She kept her cool but I bet inside she was shouting "Oi, I'm the lead singer here, focus on me!". She famously went out with Robert Elms at around this time and I remember thinking to myself what a lucky woman she was.

    The one main problem I had with Sade was her lyrics. "Your love is king" well it would hardly be queen would it. Not that it makes much sense either way. Also the first line of her next hit Smooth Operator starts with the line "diamond life" which to me always sounded like a brand name of a fridge freezer.

    The Chart is truly bonkers this week. Not only do they mis-spell Sade and list the Bolero as being performed by Various but we also have 5 new entries in a row all bunched together at the bottom. We get to see 3 of them. Clearly they ain't never gonna play the Thornbirds theme or the Fraggles theme. Still no video yet for Billy Joel's An Innocent Man but despite that it's still in the Top Ten. In the mug shot photos Nik Kershaw looks like a bad waxwork of Morrissey.

    Never liked Bananarama much or Robert de Nero so this was a double no-no for me. I'm waiting for them to **** off.

    Full marks for Howard J for having the courage to sing and play live with no pre-recorded backing, I think Elton John was the last one to do that. This sounds a lot better performed in this way even if he does sing a bit flat at times. The crowd are unmoved and are more interested in waving to at mum at home

    Nena and Co's work permit clearly still hasn't been renewed so we see the same performance again, Why not show the video?

    I had forgotten just how funny To Be Or Not To Be was and it's great to see the video. Only Mel Brooks could get away with this and he does it very well. A novelty song you can dance to and all thanks to Pete Wingfield who composed the music.

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    1. The first signs of change in tempo from Kool & The Gang was indeed with this number Joanna, because up to this point their songs were merely rambling about dance moves, like Get Down On It and Celebration, etc, but for the first time with Joanna, they seemed to bring love to their lyrics, and it could be that the lead singer James Taylor had found love in his life at this point in time, and saw the world in a different light.

      It would certainly explain the latter part of the video romancing the girl in glamorous eveningwear, and the following singles in 1984 and 1985 where to continue this them, as I remember the video for Cherish in 1985, that took this too a whole new level, with love on the beach.

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    2. I recall Paul Morley telling of Robert Elms about this time, "I've discovered this great new music, it's called jazz".

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    3. i don't know if it was a case of "discovering" or not, as of course i was already familiar with the guy in question. but in the middle of my obsession for all things synth-pop in the early 80's, i also inadvertently really got into the frank sinatra capitol-era recordings, and remember driving around in a chum's car where we were singing along with classics such as "come fly with me" and "i've got your under my skin". it was also around this time that i had my first taste of bossa nova, as the (female) singer of a band i was in taped the legendary "getz & gilberto featuring antonio carlos jobim" album (which featured "the girl from ipanema" - still practically the only bossa nova tune most people in this country are familar with) for me. although i loved it, for some reason it wasn't until nearly 20 years later that i started my collection of bossa nova tracks (both genuine and cod) that now runs well into three figures...

      by the way: one can definitely imagine rival journos and scene-shapers morley and elms as a case of "alien vs predator"!

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    4. Wilby I too got into Astrid Gilberto at this time plus Nico, Prefab Sprout and Virginia Astley all thanks to a girl I worked with at the record shop who used to play them in the shop all the time. That was the good thing about working with other people with different musical tastes, you got to share them.

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    5. when i told a chum about my discovery of the getz/gilberto album, he went to his parents' 60's/70's easy listening collection and pulled out a copy of it saying "oh, you mean this one"?

      i was a bit embarrassed about that at the time, given i saw myself as having my finger on the pulse of cool yoof music and so had no time for that of fuddie-duddies! however i was also a secret admirer of some of my own parents' easy listening albums as a youngster (that featured knock-off versions of stuff by the likes of burt bacharach and henry mancini), so perhaps not surprisingly i really got into it in later years once my obsession with following contemporary pop faded...

      i also have to say in retrospect that as the first-born child i was thankfully not influenced in my musical education by older brothers and thus more-or-less had to find my own way - otherwise my "taste" might well have been strictly limited to stuff like heavy metal and prog rock, like many of my peers in those circumstances. mind you, i still had to resist peer pressure at school and so not end up being brainwashed into only listening to that kind of stuff. and once i became a disciple of disco in my early teens i frequently clashed with the rock brigade (especially the punk crowd once that scene gained momentum) in order to stand my ground with regard to my musical preferences!

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    6. I never worried about fitting in musically. I remember when I was 13 at school the teacher asked us who our favourite pop groups were and most said ABBA or ELO, a few of The Lads said Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple. I said MFSB as I was a bit of a soul boy at the time and had just discovered Philly soul from buying ex-jukebox singles. I got blank looks all round but I didn't care. I also got into The Carpenters earlier when I was 11 because my aunt and uncle bought an 8 track cartridge player and gave my bother and I all their cassettes and a player which they no longer wanted and they had about 4 Carpenters albums which we played to death.

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    7. bama you've reminded of an album my parents owned called "sounds like the carpenters" that i discovered had a brilliant song on it called "(this) masquerade", which certainly had an effect on my burgeoning interest in more refined music. to my recollection it's as good as the carpenters' original version that i heard much later, and of course a few years on george benson did an excellent recording of it too. it really does sound like an old standard, but was in fact written by that wild man of rock leon russell of "mad dogs & englishmen" fame!:

      https://www.discogs.com/Session-Singers-Sounds-Like-The-Carpenters/release/2395202

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  10. Any news regarding the 15th March edition with Mike Smith hosting which BBC4 will not show? It not a great edition looking at the line up, but still better than doing too many blogs next weekend.

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    2. totp 15 March 1984 is here (thanks to Neil) https://we.tl/WsiOZcJVV7

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    3. Great stuff gia, service with a smile this week, and now ready for the next blog for 15th March.

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    4. Wang Chung dance hall days

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  11. Hey, I'm not really late for this one! I always check the TV Cream pick of the day on their website and they were really bigging this show up. Hmmm...

    A good start at least with the only Phil Fearon / Galaxy song that I really like. Goodness knows why I took a shine to this one as it's not like the others are radically different!

    Weather Girls - I used to love it, then...well, wilberforce has stolen my thunder here somewhat but it gets so much play on the likes of Heart and Magic now that it is indeed yet another housewife classic (84 is sadly full of 'em)

    Tracey Ullman - Minus points for that idiot Neil Kinnock's presence and almost everything else too quite honestly. Bonus points for having one of the characters in the vid sorting out chart placings though - which artists did you spot? I could clearly see the Will Powers album 'Adventures in Success' listed.

    Sade - Musically no doubt very accomplished, but what people didn't seem to spot during the 80s is that her songs are very, very BORING!

    Bananarama - At last, something else decent. This is one of their best singles I reckon.

    Howard Jones - Lucky to get another airing for that dreary offering quite honestly.

    Mel Brooks - Another highlight. Unlike Alexei Sayle's tune on the previous edition, genuinely funny and well performed. Highly enjoyable.

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    1. sorry for stealing your thunder noax regarding "it's raining men" (although i couldn't remember your exact phrase, and put "housewife favourite" in error!). but i wonder how many of said housewives that sing along to this record on daytime radio realise even now that it was actually intended as a celebration of homosexual lust?

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  12. Another balloonless edition

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  13. Another strange selection of songs chartwise. The top two, one just outside the top 10, one way down the 20’s and five who wouldn’t have made the old mugshots. Why on Earth wasn’t Billy Joel given a run out? Or even Shannon again?

    Talking of mugshots, difficult to tell who’s the uglier between Wang Chung and Re-Flex, and did anyone else notice the defective flashing plus sign at ‘9.00’ nearest to the pictures which had an arm of the plus sign not lighting up? Just me, then.

    Galaxy were pleasant enough, but what was that business on the new Toppatron behind them? At 1:36 in the show it displayed a name at the bottom of the screen which read something like “Unlao Ilha”.

    Whatever ageing cream Kool and the gang’s singer’s using, I’d like some (PS – it was me with the earlier rancid fried eggs post).

    For some reason, The Weather Girls reminded me of the two large naked women David Walliams and Matt Lucas played in “Little Britain”. Surely they could have released some weather based follow-ups to this, like “Sunny”? (yes, I know, Boney M had got there first.) I see most of the programme‘s budget got blown on those hugely annoying thunder flashes.

    A completely pointless re-hash by Tracey Ullman, who (anyone else notice this?) had now covered two singles released by artists on the same label as her, Kirsty MacColl being the other. Quite why she didn’t keep the Stiff trend going and follow this up with an Ian Dury or Damned track is beyond me.

    I’d never heard of a Croydon facelift before. I was always surprised Sade’s track got so much airplay despite the “I’m coming, you’re making me dance inside” lyric. Maybe the Frankie lads just needed to be a bit more subtle. Fat chance!

    Bananarama keeping the hosts’ monochrome theme going. My fave ‘Rama track is “Cruel Summer”, though this is okay, with Siobhan implying here that she can do harmonies and – gasp – other notes.

    Well done, Howard, and a very polite thanks at the end. Don’t know why you needed two mics, but this version meant the song made more sense to me than that poncey video. The dry ice reminded me of its engulfing Cliff Richard during a rendition of “Some People” on an ITV London Palladium show.

    Mel Brooks’ tune had very clever, sharp lyrics which nevertheless made me wonder how they got past the over-sensitive PC brigade this time round. I agree it seemed a bit weird scheduling this straight after Nena.

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    1. The lead singer TJ on Kool & The Gang did a brilliant job of making himself look boyish for the younger Joanna in the second half of the video. As a middle aged man myself now, I frequently still have the occasional flashbacks to my 20s when having such fun on the town with a lovely by my side, although I don't know what many of them are doing now, and if any have gone down the route of Joanna, serving fried eggs in a diner a generation later. I prefer the flashbacks myself.

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    2. Totally agree Arthur re:the Sade lyrics and Frankie.
      Identical shout outs to the pleasures of the flesh in both tunes!!
      Would have been the icing if Mike Read had presented this.

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    3. the singer of kool & the gang was actually called james "JT" taylor - maybe to distinguish himself from the hippy/folkie guy of that name? i have a friend who like me thinks kool & co went from being a premier funk outfit to peddlers of pop drivel pretty much the moment mr taylor joined their band. in fact he hates the guy so much, he won't even refer him by name - just "that singer"!

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    4. Ah, yes, thanks for drawing my eye to the rubber fried eggs, Arthur! (I think?!)

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  14. i'd never heard of the croydon facelift before either, but as they say you learn something new every day - especially if you follow this blog!

    presumably the millions of (female) chavs now following this trend do it in the belief it makes them look sophisticated? but if so then of course all it manages to do is achieve the completely opposite effect!

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    1. I think it was Kate Moss, herself a Croydon native, who was instrumental in popularising this look, but Sade can still claim to be an early pioneer!

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  15. a comment on the programmes on bbc1 that evening:

    i am currently watching on dvd what are tragically the relatively-few surviving episodes of the beeb's late 60's adventure series "paul temple" - which were regarded so lowly by the then director-general that not only was the series pulled whilst still popular (the arse in question "explained" to star francis matthews that it was "lew grade territory") in favour of historical dramas and "more bbc-type" things, it was never repeated and the vast majority of episodes were wiped. and looking at the line-up on this particular evening 15 years later, it seems with the preponderance of science, nature and political shows plus the obligatory dull and po-faced historical drama series that little had changed in that time. "top of the pops" apart, it would have been something to have been avoided at all costs as far as i was concerned!

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    1. I think at this stage with TOTP having been reduced to 35 minutes maximum, it was the start of the decline in viewing figures which were markedly higher when the programme was 40-45 minutes pre-1984. As Angelo mentions, this episodes had 9.65 million viewers, whereas we were accustomed to over 11 million viewers ever week pre-1984.

      In 1985 when Eastenders was launched as a new programme on the BBC, the TOTP show was then cut back further from 35 to 30 minutes, and never again was more than 35 minutes or commanding over 10 million viewers, and with this markedly shorter show came lower viewing figures, as pop music was beginning its decline from when the show had one presenter and was more personal. Double-presenters did not resonate well with the public, and all this combination of factors with Eastenders starting up in 1985, was the beginning of the decline for the show for the next 20 or so years until its final curtain call in 2006.

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    2. That night's line-up did at least feature part 1 of The Caves of Androzani, Peter Davison's swansong as the Doctor and regarded by many (myself included) as the last truly great Doctor Who story of the original 1963-89 run.

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    3. Wilby - I've watched the Paul Temple series on DVD as well as I remembered seeing it as a small kid. Back then I thought he was related to Simon Templar (similar names). Did you know all the episodes survive in colour but only with German dialogue.

      Re Doctor Who Peter Davison was the last one I watched, at least regularly.

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    4. bama like yourself i remember watching "paul temple" as a kid. well, one episode of it anyway, as (unlike the director-general of the beeb at the time) i felt it was slow and boring compared to the itc/lew grade fare of "department s", "randall & hopkirk", etc

      also i'm not surprised to hear about the german language episodes, as the bulk of the series was a somewhat odd collaboration between pious aunty and a commercial german tv company... who unlike their partners obviously had the sense to preserve them! i personally can't see any reason why they couldn't be dubbed into english again and then released for that market as a complete set - even if it means getting in soundalikes for mr matthews and many of the guest stars that are no longer with us?

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    5. There is a connection between Doctor Who and Paul Temple, as then-Who producers Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin, who had just cast Jon Pertwee and brought the show into the colour era, were hastily transferred across to Paul Temple to try to rescue it from mounting production difficulties.

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    6. ... which was presumably the beeb did a deal with the devil i.e. that german production company to stop it going under? watching the series it is evident that the budget far exceeded the usual beeb budgetary restraints of the era, as not only are the sets rather impressive but many episodes were also partly shot on location in then-exotic and faraway places such as malta and the french riviera...

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    7. Yes, the Germans came on board at about the same time, presumably for financial reasons.

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  16. Looking at the programme schedule, "The Best Of Collecting Now" would have been quite an easy subject as only four "Now" albums had been released to this point! As for "Arthur Negus Enjoys Alderney", I've been to the island and it's lovely but tiny, so they did well to get a 23-minute programme out of it!

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    1. There are no trees in Alderney and therefore very few birds.

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  17. I thought only one had been released up to this point Arthur? Now 2 contains a lot of the tracks we're seeing on the re-runs at the moment.

    I guess the Alderney Arthur Negus was enjoying was the island and not a person?!

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    1. Hopefully not the Womble either. Yes, there had been just the first 'NOW' album released at this point. The second edition came out at the end of March and featured lots of top hits from late 83 / early 84. And Julia & Company...

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    2. I dug out our vinyl copy of Now 2 yesterday with a view to making a CD copy for the car - the only tracks I didn't have elsewhere on CD were those by Joe Fagin and Jia & Company. I didn't bother downloading the latter...

      Disc 1 still sounded pretty good for its age but the second was so warped it was giving the stylus a rollercoaster ride.

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    3. I must have misread Wikipedia about the "Now" series - apologies for that. Still, it made that programme subject even easier! Next, Arthur Negus enjoys Wellington. Ahem.....

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    4. Followed by Arthur Negus Enjoys Tobermory. Best stop now...

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  18. Dory - I'm not sure the double headed presenting teams were the problem, I think it was the production team trying to cram too much into the time available. The top 40 breakers and expanding the rundown to 40 songs for example - the chart rundown isn't too bad now, but seemed to take forever when they introduced the new theme tune in 1986.

    I'm surprised no-one thought of running numbers 40-11 over a video sooner than they did (1991) - or maybe the graphics still weren't sophisticated enough in the early eighties?

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  19. Some real clunkers on here this week….

    Phil Fearon & Galaxy – What can I do – Answer: FF

    Kool & the Gang – Joanna – its ok, one of their better offerings. Fancy a fried egg?

    Weather Girls – its raining men – Truly appalling! FF

    Tracey Ullman – My Guy – So soon after Madness to be covering an admittedly good song. Usual Tracey disguises in an amusing video with the then Labour leader and no sign of any light bulbs… THX – I can state that when I met my girlfriend (now wife in 1987) her parents had a telephone lock on their phone to ensure no long phone calls would be made to run up bills! I couldn’t believe it!!!

    Sade – Your love is king – Never quite got the appeal of Sade as I found her quite dreary until a much later single called ‘By your side’ which Steve Wright played over and over again on ‘Sunday Love Songs’ and I had to go out and buy it. Was the ‘Slade’ caption really accidental?

    Bananrama – Robert De Niro’s waiting – So we get Michael Caine and Robert De Niro name checked in two chart songs this week – wow! Is it just me are the girls really well made up in this performance? Lots of close ups – particularly on Keren. Great single though.

    Howard Jones – Hide & Seek – I was quite harsh on this song a couple of shows back but I take my hat off to HJ performing this live and how great it sounds. An unexpected pleasure.

    Nena – 99 Red Balloons – Same showing…so where did the ‘hairy armpits’ come from?

    Mel Brooks – To be or not to be – Considering what the Beeb deem un-showable these days I am really surprised that this got through. I can’t believe the lyrics were ever deemed funny and as for the ‘song’…. A real lowlight for me.

    Billy Joel anyone?!

    Dr Who – Part 1 of one of the best stories ever as John G notes – ‘The Caves of Androzani’ and the end of Peter Davison’s reign. Who will be the new Doctor after Peter Capaldi I wonder?

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    1. Ah....just announced....Jodie Whittaker...from 'Broadchurch'.

      Not a surprise really that they'd go for a female lead after doing likewise for 'The Master'.

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    2. Yes, no surprise, but it still disappoints me that the Beeb have given in to the PC pressure to make the next Doctor a woman. I know there isn't an intrinsic reason that the Doctor can't be a woman, but what is so wrong with him being a man? Can't they just create a new show with an heroic female lead, if they want more such characters on TV? Get ready for Jane Bond next...

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    3. I just about remember the exciting moment when Jon Pertwee evolved into Tom Baker in Doctor Who in 1974, and there was always a female assistant to the male doctor. Now, some 40 years later, the tables have been turned, in that a female doctor will have a male or female assistant if she so wishes, and we don't ask any questions!

      The problem is that we have lost the distinction between the male and female roles in every aspect of life, more so in sport where Sky uses female presenters for World Heavyweight boxing, like when Anthony Joshua beat Klitschko a couple of months ago for the unified heavyweight title at Wembley Stadium.

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    4. if it was a woman playing the master, wouldn't she be known as the mistress? also: perhaps the real surprise about a woman being chosen to play the new dr who is that it's apparently a straight white one without any physical disabilities? by the way, i jumped ship on the new franchise after only one episode thanks to the beeb casting chav bille piper as the assistant!

      regarding female sports presenters of male sports: i don't agree with it either (helen rollason was particularly excruciating in that respect), and although gabby logan is obviously a bit more than just a pretty face (which is much the case otherwise) i'm still much more comfortable seeing her present the athletics programmes than "match of the day". does anyone else remember that other attractive but rather intimidating woman that presented the rugby league programmes? i bet even the toughest players were quaking in their seats when they had to chat with her!

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    5. if everyone's concerned about gender discrimination in television broadcasting, then perhaps in the interests of equality it's time a (straight) man sat on the panel of "loose women"?

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    6. sct353, Nena's hairy armpits were shown in a live clip in one of those much unloved European chart rundowns about nine months previously. It took a long time for the balloon to go up over here chartwise.

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    7. Michelle Gomez's version of The Master was called Missy, Wilberforce.

      I like Jodie Whittaker in whatever I've seen her in, so am looking forward to seeing what she does with the role. Don't see the big idea about the gender, she's playing a science fiction character so they can make of it what they like. As long as the stories are good, that's the important thing (I think they got the stories pretty much spot on this year).

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    8. I take back my comment about the new female Dr Who. Just seen Jodie Whittaker, and I think she's quite tasty, so what the heck!

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    9. That's the spirit, Dory!

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    11. A female Doctor, huh? To be honest I'm neither shocked nor surprised. I'm sure it was first hinted at way back in the original series - didn't one of the departing Doctors wish their successor luck "whoever he - or she - may be" as a bit of a wind up? And of course a Timelord can only regenerate 12 times (and it was never established how many regenerations there were before William Hartnell), so they might just as well reboot the whole thing for the 13th Doctor.

      Of course, I could go into hyper-cynical mode and express surprise at the part not being given to an Asian female....

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    12. i would speculate that a lot of the fuss over a woman taking over the dr who role is that the vast majority of viewers are likely to be male (that almost certainly applies to the original era, if not the re-boot) and regard the programme as some sort of "boys club". much the same can be said for the "star trek" franchise, although i don't remember any such hoo-haa or indignation when kate mulgrew became the first female starship captain in "voyager". she was excellent in my opinion by the way - especially after she ditched what was her own version of the "croydon facelift" ha ha!

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    13. thx thanks for the update on the dr who now-female-villain. but missy - really? that's hardly likely to strike terror into the hearts of all, like the mere mention of "the master" used to!

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    14. I wouldn't regard the Star Trek situation as exactly comparable, given that Kate Mulgrew was playing a new character, rather than a feminised version of Kirk or Picard! I don't actually object in principle to a female Doctor - such is the nature of the show anything can happen, and it has the potential to open up some interesting new dramatic areas - but I just sense this has been done more to keep the Diversity Police happy than for creative reasons, given the fuss they have been making about casting a woman. Anyway, hopefully Jodie will do a good job, and we will get some decent stories going forward.

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    15. @Wilberforce: Ah, but Missy was quite the minx! Michelle Gomez was fantastic in the role, which presumably encouraged the new DW producers to make the lead female too.

      I say, wait and see, she might be a Tom Baker, she might be a Colin Baker, but having watched her in various Brit indie movies, I'm cautiously optimistic, she's a really good actress.

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  20. Female sports presenters?? Hmmm, the only one I think is great (and a bit hot) is the Welsh girl Sarra Elgan on Bt Sports coverage of Rugby union.

    She knows her stuff too!

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    1. Sue Barker does a great job on Wimbledon, continuing the tradition of sports competitors getting jobs in broadcasting when they're too knackered to do the running about anymore. She may have been one of the first?

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    2. thx i agree that sue barker is very good as a presenter (shame she wasn't as accomplished as a player!), but the sport she fronts has lady participants as well as men. the one female presenter that actually makes me forget that she's a woman in a man's world (which is meant as a compliment!) is hazel irvine when she does the snooker tournaments. and unlike many commentators / analysts / presenters today, she never got the job as a result of being a prominent sportsperson. or as a result of being a bimbo either for that matter!

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    3. Sue Barker won the French Open in 1976, so she was a very decent player. Plus she was generous about giving blood!

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    4. indeed thx, but otherwise she generally failed to live up to expectations... including duly dispatching the inferior-ranked dutch woman betty stove in order to set up the all-english dream final of wimbledon 1977 against virginia wade (which was the centenary anniversary of the tournament, plus of course brenda's silver jubilee)

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    5. Can't quite believe that Barker is still only 61, so she must have been 21 in the Wimbledon 1977 semi-final losing to Betty Stove. I think Barker had a relationship with Cliff Richard soon after, but clearly she was 'barking' up the wrong tree.

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    6. ah yes, i'd forgotten about ms barker's "romance" with cliff... back in the days when he still made out that he had an eye for the ladies!

      and so i think another century finally comes up here, even thought it's been more boycott than botham. cue muted applause from the pavilion...

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  21. I've just checked and it seems that Billy Joel didn't make a video for An Innocent Man which is pretty odd considering it was a Top 10 hit in both the US and the UK. So we don't get to see it. In fact don't see him or even hear him again in 1984 even though he had two further To 40 hits. Totally bizarre.

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    1. Don't we hear Billy's a capella number on the show? I have a memory of it...

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  22. Did anyone spot Vyvyan's Ford Anglia in the Ullman video? No sign of SPG sadly.

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  23. A (very) occasional contributor here with a few belated thoughts.

    I was a student in 1984, and a copy of Sade's 'Diamond Life' album was absolutely de rigueur for any male student, just so they had something acceptable to play in the unlikely event that they managed to lure a female student back to their room. (Strangely enough, most girls didn't go for Genesis or Elvis Costello LPs.) Given that all the girls owned a copy too, it might explain the album's enormous sales.

    I think this was the start of the trend whereby each year saw one female solo artist sell gazillions of copies of their debut LP, setting the bar so high that the rest of their career was inevitably an anticlimax. I think the next year's was Suzanne Vega, and Tracey Chapman also springs to mind.

    As for Nena, I've listened to that song dozens of times, and I've only just realised that she's the one who triggers the apocalypse by buying and releasing all those balloons (colour not specified in the original German version) and spooking the air force. So she's got a damned cheek to celebrate causing the end of the world in song from.

    I noticed that Mel Brooks's clever rap included the phrase 'Achtung baby'. Do we think Bono and co. were watching that evening?

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    1. Blimey yes. 99 (nearly two years for goodness sake!!!) weeks on the chart for 'Diamond Life' peaking at no2 and 31 weeks for 'Promise' peaking at no1. They both sounded much the same I think.

      Different story on the singles front; One single, solitary top10 hit and it's this one; 'Your love is king'.

      As I mentioned before, the only single of hers that I had time for was the 2000 no17 hit 'By your side'.

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    2. tim i can't stop laughing at the thought of some hapless student trying to seduce a female visitor by playing an elvis costello album! i'm also reminded of a documentary on prog rock a while back, where yes/king crimson drummer bill bruford recalled in a rather cynical manner that there were very few if any women present at his gigs!

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  24. One of the best episodes for ages - surprised they made the 'slade' mistake again. Highlight was Mel Brooks video - haven't heard that since 1984. Wouldn't get past the PColice today.

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