MURPHY'S LAW - TOTP
Original Broadcast Date: 01/07/1982
Dancers: Angela, Clive, Jeanette, Julie, Penni, and Yvonne
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlEU_aAzCS0 ____________________________________________________________________________________
I have made a U turn!
I was all set to showcase our dancing PM on her journeys around Africa, however I have performed a U turn because if I featured a Conservative politician then in the interests of political balance I would also have to feature a Labour politician. The only dancing Labour figure that I can think of is Ed Balls, and I am pleased to report that this is a designated Balls free zone – apart from the stuff that I write of course.
Therefore there will be no politicians on show at all, however if you really want to see a group of sorry individuals from the left and right making fools of themselves before succumbing to inevitable defeat and humiliation, then I can probably get you a season ticket at Stoke.
So instead we are going to the Zoo. You know what it’s like visiting the zoo. You go there hoping to see the lions but they are all asleep behind a bush and you have to make do with having a selfie with a meerkat, who by the way has no interest in helping you change energy supplier. Much the same applies to the dance troupe, Zoo. You would tune in hoping to see Julie, the other Julie and Jeanette performing a Legs & Co style routine, but more often than not you would just get Wesley doing a forward roll or Lance spinning around on the floor. That is assuming they were on the show at all. By July 1982 they didn’t seem to appear very often.
The American / Canadian duo Cheri reached No 13 in the UK with Murphy’s Law. I had never heard of this song before it appeared on the BBC4 reruns and I don’t think I have heard it since.
This performance was requested many moons ago by Ryan. It feels more in keeping with the style of Legs & Co than a normal Zoo performance. We had seen Flick use shadow effects before in I Wish and My Way and the set bears some resemblance to a combination of Green Onions and Let Em In.
The shadow effects do fit the ‘chipmunk’ sounds on the record well but the effect is marred early on by the sight of Clive’s gloved hand appearing around the screen. It wasn’t really his fault, it was more down to a poor camera angle.
The dancers do a fine job and we get some good close ups and they really engage well with the camera.
I can understand why Julie Brown is highly thought of, but in this routine I am captured by the girl in the pink dress with the large polo mints, who I believe is Angela.
This is a really good performance and an example of what Zoo could have done on a more regular basis had they been given the opportunity. Having said that I suppose there would have been no point in replacing Legs & Co with a troupe that was going to do the same sort of dance, so Zoo had to be different really.
I will score it 9 out of 10. I am expecting a high score to come in from Ryan but will the rest of you agree or not? I am looking forward to finding out.
For those of you who are abroad and confused about the meerkat reference, the link below may help!
Yeah, who needs Legs & Co when we have these 5 replacement cuties to look forward too every week. Of course i'm only joshing, that obviously wasn't the case. More often than not the menagerie that was the dance troupe Zoo contained a diverse range of mixed dancers and it wasn't always to my taste. But every now and again, well lets say about half a dozen times i found they produced some excellent routines and this in my view was the best of the lot. From the moment i first watched this on the TOTPs re-runs on the 21st Oct 2016 i was hooked.
With no fellas on show, albeit for the geezer in silhouette doing his best Floid `I Wish` impression, the five girls look simply stunning in their short dresses. The stand-out dancer is the impressive Julie B. If ever a dancer had that special something then it was her. If i was to comprise a dream team dance troupe, she would be in it, no danger. The other four girls make for delightful viewing too.
What do i enjoy ? The song is superb with sexy vocals, the routine matched it perfectly. I like all the nodding stuff, finger clicking, revolving doors, smiles, hip gyrating. Granted its no masterpiece of choreography, but i find it a joy to watch, so uplifting and enjoyable. Im entertained, which surely is the main criteria. Would i have preferred it to have been five members of Legs & Co, well yeah, no question. But these five are ample replacements. Without any hesitation im awarding a maximum 10. Hats off to OGW for picking this brilliant choice.
Well, how different we all are. I had to watch this again for this thread as I couldn't really remember it, and then realized why. There are a couple of things that I find it really annoying here: firstly the song completely ticks me off, I could never stand it. Then the flickering lights. Give me eye cancer. And, last but not least, the utterly redundant noise from the crowd. (On second thought, it was probably canned!)
Granted, the girls look nice (although I don't find any of them extraordinarily attractive), and the dance moves are ok. But there is absolutely nothing to get me excited about. Watch it, fairly enjoy it and then forget it.
5 / 10
But 10 / 10 for a magnificent intro. OGW, I wonder if I can I hire you as a ghost writer for the next PPCT entries?
Hmmmm … Zoo almost always put me in a quandary and this is no exception. Firstly I find myself agreeing with Vin for the most part about this dreadful song; what is it with this Chipmunk stuff?? Is there some small mammal with significant longevity somewhere making a mint or is it just the songs' usual singers on helium or digitally converted a few octaves?? I have no idea why they do it but it irritates the crap out of me. And Vin's right about the silly crowd noise too. Sorry for ranting and it's not the Dancers' fault I know and I managed to forgive Don't Stop the Music but that was Legs & Co conquering a short tree-mammal section and I liked the rest of the song and this is Zoo and the Chipmunks are much more pervasive and I don't like the rest of the song much either. Next we have the set, which I find a bit annoying too: I was kind of hoping that they would solve the Zebra puzzle but I guess not. OTOH the ladies do look quite hot and the moves are rather fetching too. My fave is the wild-haired lady in the converted bin-liner (actually it looks as if I myself designed and made the top half) and sorry I don't know many Zoo names so I don't know who I'm talking about here despite my admiration. I think 6/10 might be a fair assessment for me but I am tempted to turn off the sound when I watch.
(and I do agree OGW's intros are very very good)
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
This is the first time I've seen this routine and I also felt that there was a very slight Legs feel about the outing, and why not if Flick was choreographing.
As for the individual behind the screen, I though it might have been Danny John-Jules taking a break from Strictly training, but whoever it was I could have done without them. Their presence just added to the many camera cuts, too many for my liking, which seemed to impair the flow of the routine. Neither will it come as any surprise that the noises from the audience, and back sight of them, I could have also happily lived without since my audience culling tendency is already well documented.
The song was awful, but then so many of them are, so I shall not let that colour my judgement of the dance. However, as ever with this troupe unfamiliarity with the dancers acts as a drag to becoming really involved; that and too many odd hair-does. As for bin-liners, you can keep em, but I did like the outsized green bead necklace.
An entertaining enough offering and one that, primarily based on dress length, I may give a second airing to. As for a score I think a very generous 7.
P4PM, the girl who might have been styled by you is Jeanette Landray. She took a cool path the next year providing vocals for Robert Smith and Steve Severin of The Banshees' collaborative project, The Glove.
Well we have had five ratings so far and five different scores!
Thanks for all of the reviews so far and to Vin and P4PM for their kind comments and to GD for his assistance with the ID's.
Vin, I think I might pass on the chance to ghost write for PPCT. It takes me long enough to write these! I am looking forward to being able to rate some more PP dances though.
I don't think the flickering lights were really necessary. They don't enhance the dance but equally in my opinion they don't spoil it, although it was an extra complication when it came to getting screencaps. The crowd noises are irritating but I think it was all part of Hurll's party atmosphere. The song is awful but these sorts of songs always seem to chart well.
The song is awful but these sorts of songs always seem to chart well.
I like the song as much as i like the routine. I find the girl singers voice sexy and that just enhances the enjoyment of the whole thing. Thats the key thing, enjoying and being entertained and i find i am very much so in this. But i also appreciate this ain't everyone's cup of tea.
I suppose for me this is one of the more memorable ZOO performances because it's so easy to imagine Legs performing it. Perhaps Flick had felt she had made her point to such a degree by now about having a new kind of dance troupe on the show that she felt comfortable about going back to doing a routine more in the Pans/Legs tradition. I'm glad she did. I rather like this, okay it would have been better with the dancers we know and love, but it still has a jaunty personality about it and JB has an infectious smile, though the other girls are far more straight-faced, almost in a Hot Gossip style strop in places. However, sulky dancers apart, the performance keeps the interest up throughout. On a side note, that strange mural causes me to see things that aren't really there. Is it just a random pattern, or can others see zebras in it?
I’d forgotten about the song Murphy’s Law, maybe because it’s actually quite forgettable, and that bit that sounds like the Smurfs singing is really awful as it makes you think of the Smurfs, and then you think of Legs & Co dancing to that Smurf song and it’s such a shocking memory that you can’t get rid off it, and then you wish you hadn’t heard this song because it put that memory back in your head. I hope by tomorrow I’ll have forgotten it again.
So, Murphy’s Law says anything that can go wrong will go wrong.... especially when Simon Bates is presenting. Nothing goes wrong here though if you exclude the wobbly rotating boards which, when the girls spin them you hope it’s going to be a magic trick and the girl’s are magically replaced by another girl when the screen is turned. That would have been amazing to see, but it doesn’t happen unfortunately.
Downtown Julie Brown is the standout dancer here – she’s got a lot of bounce and energy hasn’t she? The short dresses are the thing that impresses me the most.
I’ll bench mark this against how I’d imagine Legs & Co would have done it…. and I imagine L&C to have done it much better, so Zoo get 6/10
KAL's Law states that anything dance related will be shown at Still Getting There time whereas Murphy's Law causes Zoo to increase their retro capabilities. It's rather 'Legsy' in feel, although such is the peripheral connection experienced in many of their dance routines - reflecting the trend and Hurllean demand of the time - this performance might have served well as a Zoo reboot. In much the same way as Man U. have inevitably toiled (tee-hee) in replacing the legendary Sir Alex, by July '82 enough time and distance may have elapsed for TOTP to return their resident dance act back to something more akin in style to Legs' final year. Alas it was not to be. However, in many ways, this routine reminds me of an alternate Green Onions with particular regard to the 60's style sets and costumes which seem swinging yet contemporary to '82 too - a clever achievement. There's more of a connection and none more so than from Julie Brown in communication with any close-up camera trained on her.
The record's body reminds one of Will Powers' dance album although the Chipmonk moments are more 'grate' than great.
7/10 for the performance.
How fondly I recall summer 82. In the interests of context and self-indulgence I decided to watch the whole parent edition again and the likes of Visage, Queen, Dollar (who I might previously have expressed being keen on) Captain Sensible and a seriously hot Natasha to see it out made for a very enjoyable sojourn back to life as it should be. Little doubt there'd be more I could celebrate, but in a taste of the future encompassing our current residency in 86, for footballing reasons this is a pared down half hour show. Sadly length is about all the equality there is for me, it's inescapable how much quality and fun has drained away over those four World Cup-bridging years: from undefeated to cheated isn't a bad metaphor. TOTP would eventually get like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but in 86 the material was still just about there for a much better show had Headcheat Mr Hurll retained a dance troupe and other trimmings. As much as he got things wrong, once he had leveled it out the vibrancy the party atmosphere brought was bottled sunshine in our living rooms.
So in the midst of it all are five babes in very short dresses and a silhouette dude who for some unfathomable reason I don't remember noticing at all from the first time. I see him now as the impish shadow of Murphy himself and a minor dilution. The audience are whooping them up - there's no objection to that here - and though it's a bit of a funny song which was imprinted on my memory no more than Clive was, I'm not particularly critterphobic.
Make no mistake those cheek-skimming outfits outshine everything bar Julie's smile, but the choreography isn't bad either, revolving in no small part around revolving, both literally and in the ever-changing arrangement of dancers, which in the way that it's done I find all to the good. There's lots of playfulness and good engagement with the viewer; plenty of bounce from the former UK disco dancing champion Julie, she'd easily have DOTD sewn up, but Angela's flirty kitten approach deserves a mention, with Penni figuring in dispatches too. In keeping with the TOTP performer experience there is perhaps just a smidgen too long spent sitting around, but it ain't no big deal.
The hairstyles are totally eighties, the dresses sixties-inspired. Befitting the thrift of contemporary art student sensibilities and no bad thing they look homemade, where often progressively-minded mums handy with the old needle and thread provided help. You'd think to look at her that It was from this sort of background that Jeanette emerged, for one. Her styling and attitude is the most post-punk, betraying that she was more comfortable with the edgier music she was soon to turn her talents to. Much too moody here and for my money the least enthusiastic finger-snapper. She can't compete with the sparkling warmth of Julie, which works much better with the music than her colleague's overly cool interpretation. Yvonne doesn't seem quite at ease with the lightness of it either. Jeanette's better seen providing dreamy balletic adornment for H20 the following year.
Legsesque it is, but it isn't time spent with old friends and Julie apart this selection, as with Zoo generally, doesn't quite exude the personality of Legs & Co. Maybe it was a matter of time, maybe not, but it's like watching a team mainly of reserves. But even with these misgivings I still like this a lot and find myself nodding back at them at the closing scene. It would be maximum territory with the right personnel and I think 9.25/10 represents my conflicted feelings overall.
No conflict over OGW's intro though - another 10/10!
Thanks for all of the reviews received so far. Quite a wide range of scores and opinions. We find ourselves stuck on 9 reviews again so it would be great if someone could submit one and send us over the edge.
I would also just like to ask GD a question. Do you record all the repeats and if so on what format?
Yes OGW, I've been recording all the repeats since those of late 77, I keep them on DVD+RWs.
Thanks GD, I record them on DVD as well but I don't record the whole shows, just the songs that I like, the chart rundown and the number one. Usually it works at about 20 - 25 minutes per show. I cut out the songs I don't like to save on disc space.
The concept of 'Zoo' was a sound one, select your group of dancers each week based on the record the dance is to interpret, so why don't these performances have the repeat appeal of Flicks other dance groups?. Despite the initial hype with Zoo the 3 minute dance spot became less and less an integral part of show because the group (if you can indeed call them that, how about nebulous collective?) couldn't develop much of a viewer fan base, essential to keep the audience interested.
This routine is pretty good really, the girls have 80s style frizzy hair contrasting with their 60s style outfits, and those animal print backdrops look nice too. The body popping shadow is a neat touch and not overused, Flick getting the token male in there too.
Its got the right ingredients, performed well but for me its difficult to get too enthusiastic about it sadly, 7/10.
Well this is one of the few Zoo routines that I really like and it the sort of thing we would expect Legs to dance to. I've always said that Angela looks like Cherry from Pan's People, so anything with her in is a winner. I was quite surprised to see how much was exposed in this routine, but then again if you turn on BBC 1 past 9pm these days it's much worse.
I really like this routine and I personally think that it is one of Zoo's best.