29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
16 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

RYAN
Administrator
Yikes, ages since i got my teeth into a new thread. Yes sadly, 42 years ago today was the last appearance on TOTPs for Pans People. So what were you doing on that date ?  I have to say unlike some on here, my memories of that date are sketchy to say the least. I was probably out and about on that spring evening riding my Chopper (a 70s bike). Coming up to my 13th birthday, the passing of the iconic Pans People rather passed me by. But thats the beauty of the internet as we can watch again and wonder in real time.

On watching the two routines that Pans danced to on that last show, i couldn't help but wonder what the thoughts were of the four remaining Pans girls. All four girls would have known by that stage 'what was what' and Pans were history as far as TOTPs was concerned.

Two of the dancers were officially performing for the final time in a resident dance troupe. Ruth got a fine send off by Flick with her fabulous solo in `Silver Star`. A fine acknowledgment and testament to a dancer who had put in sterling work over the previous 8 years on the show. Im not sure who put in the most dances on the show, Ruth or Sue, but Ruth certainly deserved the big solo spot and how she nailed it.

The unfortunate Mary on the other hand, dancing her final time as a resident dancer must have done so with great sadness. A fine dancer (though some may disagree) but dancing ability isn't the be all and end all when it comes to the dance troupes. Looks play huge a part (indeed i only think one dancer in the history of the show got the gig for dancing ability alone, okay maybe two) and for my money Mary had looks in abundance, but i also think she was an okay dancer too. Heck the girl got hired for her dream job at just 17, yet lost it before she was 18. Talk about unlucky! Before you guys start with the `well she got a recall with Zoo`, its hardly compensation for wilderness years she missed out on as a member of Ruby or Legs. But thats a different story i suppose. At least she made an early career from dancing away from TOTPs.

For the whole of 1976 Cherry was looking to move away from TOTPs and expand her horizons away from the show. A case of waiting for the right opening and all that. It remains a constant frustration of mine that she got the gig with Ruby Flipper as i believe another dancer who was more committed should have been given the role. Its pretty obvious FC wanted two members of Pans to join the five new members of RF and Cherry rather fitted the bill. On saying that Cherry was in my view in the top 3 of all the dancers who appeared on the show for dancing ability and looks.

Sue, with her undoubted dancing ability was a sure fire bet to spearhead life after Pans and so it proved to be.

So how about the two routines. Well More More More gives us lots of crystal clear images, thanks in no part to the fact BBC4 decided to show it in the reruns in 2011. Though the bamboo does get in the way dont ya think. Silver Star on the other hand (yes criminally omitted by BBC4) remains a favourite Pans routine of mine. Im quite staggered to see that MMM is number 25 in the PPCS listing, yet SS is a further down the line at number 45. I much prefer Silver Star, how about you guys ? Much more going on in it.

Anyroad, enough rambling on from me. I just felt i ought to comment on this sad loss to 1970s British culture. Any comments are welcome on this most momentous date and what you were doing then.
RYAN
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

Old Grey Whistler
I have no idea what I was doing on the 29th April 1976 but as a 7 year old living in New Zealand I was probably looking forward to the May school holidays. Having never seen TOTP at that point, Pans People would just have been 'the dancers who appeared on The Two Ronnies'
If Pans People hadn't been ending then I wonder if Ruth would have retired earlier. Her final solo was certainly memorable and emotional.
I suppose that it was unfortunate that Mary lost her job but that is the nature of show business and Phil, Floid and all the Legs girls would go on to suffer the same fate. It was far from the end of her career though. As she says herself in her Q & A , she went on to appear in TV and Films almost continuously for 14 years. In fact she probably had a longer TV career than Sue although admittedly not as high profile. As for Cherry, I understand your point about her not being committed to the project, but it didn't show in her dancing and I think Ruby Flipper would have been much poorer without her.
As for the final two dances, I notice from the PPCS that I gave MMM a 10 and SS 8.5.  I think More More More was the more enjoyable dance and with less unwieldy costumes. There is a lot of emotion in Silver Star but apart from Ruth's solo I don't think it quite hits the same heights. It was also a shame that Mary barely featured in her final dance.
Without Legs & Co, there would be no show!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

PansLegs
In reply to this post by RYAN
I was probably looking forward to the holiday in Guernsey that summer when this went out and judging by photographs I may well have been wearing some burgundy flared trousers with worn knees. It's quite likely I did see these last performances but I have no memory of that. The complete performance of Silver Star was shown at Ruth's funeral.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

Everything'sRosie
I'm sorry to report that the passing of Pan's People had absolutely no impact on me. It seems poignant to me now, but at the time, nah. What would I have been doing on a Thursday night in April 1976? I know one thing, it probably wasn't my homework. For a time around then TOTPs used to clash with The Six Million Dollar Man on ITV, and in an age before home video recorders (unless you were dead posh), hell, I think we were still black & white in our house, there could be vicious sibling rivalry about what would be watched, and when decided, the losers would skulk off to their bedrooms with revenge in mind. The Waltons we were not.

And something which most definitely did NOT happen at school the following day was the recreation of Pan's People dance routines in the schoolyard! Anyone attempting that would have been ceremonially crucified on the climbing frames.

Of the two dances, I much prefer Silver Star as it's a better record, though MMM does have its merits as we see more of the gorgeous Mary. But to recap, I was sort of indifferent to Pans back then, but I instinctively knew I didn't like Ruby Flipper!

Needless to say there has been a monumental volte-face in my opinion these days.
Queens of My Soul
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

RYAN
Administrator
Everything'sRosie wrote
and in an age before home video recorders (unless you were dead posh), hell, I think we were still black & white in our house, there could be vicious sibling rivalry about what would be watched, and when decided, the losers would skulk off to their bedrooms with revenge in mind.
That is so true. With just the one television in most houses back then, one had to rely on luck if you got to watch any programme of choice. I think my parents gave myself and my sister free rein on the TV after school, but once it came to the evenings viewing i dont remember getting much of a choice. Was TOTPs top of their television viewing, certainly not, but i did remember watching it sometimes. For some reason in our house the Xmas TOTPs shows were deemed priority, not sure why.
RYAN
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

The Rubberband Man
The loss of a British institution as huge as Pans People were to the younger generation is immensely sad. At the time it passed me by, and the fact that PP were performing their last routine for Top Of The Pops wasn’t even mentioned… Tony didn’t bid them a fond farewell or anything. You’d have thought after all those years of service the BBC would be gracious enough to gift the girls some kind of credit for everything they had done.

The first we got to know there was to be no more Pans People was a rather coy announcement from Noel Edmunds on Top Of The Pops the following week when Ruby Flipper were introduced. I’m glad Sue and Cherry made the transition, and Ruth was involved as well…. shame it didn’t work out so well for the gang.

Ruth’s solo in Silver Star does seem to capture the mood and the moment… it looks like she’s close to tears. Her emotion, passion, ardour and devotion expressed through her art at such a poignant time.
All bound for Lulu Land
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pan's People and their fans.

VintageVideos
Naturally, as a 15 year old German boy, I knew absolutely nothing about TOTP and even less about Pan's People. I doubt I would have liked them back in 1976. Whenever any kind of dancers came on TV, I was just plain bored and thought, "What a waste of time". I wanted to see the artists and not some substitutes.
Even though the period from September 1975 to April 1976 produced some very fine routines, I still consider Pan's People past their peak after Babs and Dee Dee had departed. Mary was a good dancer and a beautiful girl, Lee wasn't too bad either, but some of the magic had undoubtedly gone. I think the end of Pan's People was just the close of a natural progression, with none of the original members left after Dee Dee quit.
Silver Star is a very poignant routine, even more now after Ruth's passing, and I'm not sure if I ever watched it since then. I always slightly preferred More, More, More for the sheer lightheartedness of the performance. Unlike Silver Star, I can enjoy watching MMM without any ambivalent feelings - maybe because Ruth looks happy here (and sad in SS).
Following Pan's People came about six months of Ruby Flipper, bringing along some fresh ideas which - I think - were much-needed as Pan's People had begun to get stuck in the loops of time.
Dance right on till the floors are breakin'
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pan's People and their fans.

PattiforPM
I was 17 in 1976 but I don't know what I was doing in April.  I would have been in the Lower 6th studying not hard enough for exams perhaps.  As a spotty hormonal teen I do have memories of mid to late Pans People as I've recounted on here before.  I do not recall the Dancers of that time other than Sue and Cherry I'm afraid and dances like Paperback Writer, Down Down and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet feature prominently in my memory but I can't say I remember SS or MMM.  I love Ruth's raw emotion in Silver Star but find the other costumes a bit off-putting and much prefer the tropical hut spectacle of More More More.  My Family did watch TOTP after Tomorrow's World I think but strangely I don't know what happened in Spring 1976 as I don't remember TOTP at all during Ruby Flipper then Legs & Co totally rekindled my interest and regular viewing habits after Rock n Me.
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Doc
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pan's People and their fans.

Doc
I don't remember watching this show although there is a good chance I did. I do remember being annoyed that they had replaced Pan's People and that Flipper lot were not a patch on them. I'm not sure how long after this it was but I do remember watching the Flippers and thinking hang on Sue's still there, maybe they are not that bad after all.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pan's People and their fans.

Legsfan
I was -22 back in April 1976, so I don’t think I can comment on the time, but the routines are really good, though More More More was always a favourite of mine, since the passing of Ruth I must say that I like Silver Star much more. It was nice to hear that Ruth’s family and friends watched the routine at her funeral, hopefully from the BBC master and not the UK Gold version.
Looking back now, I think when the time was up, Pan’s People should have been given an interview after Silver Star and asked questions like what are you going to do now and that would have given a great opportunity to announce Ruth’s departure, Mary’s ? and that Sue and Cherry were joining a new group called Ruby Flipper.
I hope in another 42 years these routines are still valued as much as the day they were broadcast.
Devoted to Pan's People & Legs & Co.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pan's People and their fans.

Legsfan
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
VintageVideos wrote
Whenever any kind of dancers came on TV, I was just plain bored and thought, "What a waste of time". I wanted to see the artists and not some substitutes.
That was me as a 15 year old watching Top of the Pops for the first time. I watched one edition in March, was disappointed that The Bee Gees weren’t performing the number one, so I didn’t watch for another six months. Then I saw Legs in the dresses in September 79 and have been watching ever since.
Devoted to Pan's People & Legs & Co.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

Young Mister Grace
Administrator
In reply to this post by RYAN
I do recall the end of Pan's People but it wasn't a huge event in my life at the time.

I hated Ruby Flipper from the start: I suspect underneath my thin teenage-rebel veneer lurked a deeply reactionary, why-can't-they-leave-things-as-they-are stick-in-the-mud.

So I hated everything about Ruby Flipper that was different (blokes! non-matching-outfits! unusual choreography ideas!).
Of course these are the very reasons I enjoy Ruby Flipper's work nowadays, and I suspect Flick was enjoying them too.
You've all done vey well!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

Suefan
In reply to this post by RYAN
April '76 at Uni, where watching TOTP was something of a ritual and I certainly caught this show first time round.  The MMM routine evidently made an impression as it came readily back to mind when I next watched it about thirty three years later.  SS rather less so.
Suefan
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

sueforever
In reply to this post by RYAN
Going back in time, and just leaving sixth - form. And the start of that hot Summer. I just cant remember that show now, but I probably did see this one. It was a sad time to see the end of Pans People. But as Sue say this was not the original Pans, only Ruth was left from the original dance group.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

Hanway2
In reply to this post by RYAN
I was 15 at the time and would have been getting ready for my O levels- both GCEs and CSEs- starting very soon for which I probably spent a total time revising of- zero.
I was watching TOTPs regularly at the time so most likely I would have seen the two routines, but sadly have no actual memory of them from the time. What I certainly do remember is the next week when it was announced that a new set of dancers would be appearing. I was very disappointed and refused to enjoy the new group on principle. Where were Pan's, what had happened to them? And of course for me no Pan's People = no Ruth, I hope you can imagine how much a 'punch to the stomach' that was to me. No matter that the new group- Ruby Flipper apparently- included Cherry and Sue, I wanted my Ruth fix. ( I would have been too ignorant to realise the significance of Ruth's solo spot the week before ). Did anyone?
  So, from then on I had no more weekly visits from Pan's and had to get on with my life the best I could. Perhaps I never did properly. And I never really took to RF or Legs at the time. Probably as I was now getting older, 16 in July that year and had other priorities.
  Thus, on reflection, 29th April 1976 was a very sad day indeed! The world had changed. Although I did not know for another week.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: 29th April 1976, a poignant date for Pans People and their fans.

CoffeeThing
I certainly missed the show, almost certainly was watching The Six Million Dollar Man, was coming up for ten, and Silver Star is one of my favourite routines of all.
This week, I are be mostly too warm