NIGHT FEVER - THE GENERATION GAME
____________________________________________________________________________________ Broadcast Date: 18/11/1978
Troupe: Grayson's Groovers
Dancers: Gill, Patti, Pauline, Rosie + Floid, Spencer, Terry and Trevor
Link - http://oneforthedads.org.uk/?p=1949 ____________________________________________________________________________________
In the ratings war between the BBC and ITV, Saturday night has long been considered to be the major battleground. Throughout the 1970’s, one of the BBC’s biggest bazookas’ was The Generation Game, which regularly pulled in more than 20 million viewers. A lot of its success was down to its popular host, Bruce Forsyth, so when he departed to ITV at the end of 1977, the future of the show was in jeopardy.
Cilla Black was lined up to replace Forsyth but declined the role leaving the way clear for Larry Grayson to take over. Grayson was seen as a sufficiently different character to Forsyth and so able to take the show in a different direction. In fact ratings increased but this was partly due to a strike at ITV. With Robin Nash producing the show it was not entirely surprising that Legs & Co should make an appearance, although they were not officially credited under that name.
Rather like an Elton John Farewell Concert Tour, The Generation Game has resurfaced from time to time, most notably in the 1990’s, although the recent reboot with Mel & Sue may have killed it stone dead.
Sue & Lulu are left behind while the other four are joined by Floid, Spencer, Terry and Trevor to form 'Grayson’s Groovers'. Unfortunately the way that the dancers are positioned means that the two couples at the back don’t get a lot of camera time and Patti is really only seen in background shots
I was a little hesitant to put this one up for review as it is a difficult one to score. Obviously once the contestants and then Larry have a go, they become the centre of attention and the dancers become the support act.
The dance moves can’t be too sophisticated as the last thing they would want would be for Jean from Derbyshire to rupture something. Having said that, Flick didn’t leave them with anything too easy either.
It must have been daunting for the contestants to dance with the professionals. Let’s hope that the Yoghurt Maker, Iron and Backgammon Set that they won made it all worthwhile.
This was probably the perfect sort of performance for Larry Grayson to shine. Had Brucie been hosting, he would have no doubt been more adept at the dancing and therefore less funny.
It is good to see Legs & Co on a prime time show other than TOTP. I like their dresses and they look to be enjoying themselves. Great to see Flick as well and she is also looking fantastic.
I am going to base my score on the entertainment value rather than just the dancing and give it 8.25 out of 10. I have a feeling though that there may be some diverse opinions on this and I look forward to reading them.
Unfortunately it has come to my attention that the extended version of this performance, taken from Challenge TV, has been muted on You Tube. This is a real shame as it has better picture quality and captures more of the humour of the occasion. Perhaps some of you still have this in your collections. I am hoping that for those who are restricted to the UK Gold shorter version, that it won't have too detrimental an effect on your opinions and ratings.
Really great to see the Miscellaneous section back up and running after a bit of a hiatus. Well done OGW. As for our old friend Andeebee's YouTube link. Well the YouTube Police have taken it upon themselves to mute the sound.
Anyhow, any appearance from Legs & Co members away from TOTPs, has to be given due consideration.
My own memories as a 15 year old from back in 1978 are vague to say the least, but i do remember fondly Larry and Haggis Alice most Saturday evenings. With the miracle of the internet we can now watch this stuff at our leisure.
I wonder how the six got whittled down to four ? Ive never bought into any of this holiday lark certain members of Legs & Co were granted from time to time. Maybe FC just decided these four members were on duty for this.
What a unusual fellow Grayson was. A virtual unknown until 1972, yet by the time he reinvented The Generation Game in 1978 he was just about the funniest guy on British TV. Though all that came crashing down once the 1980s began and he simply faded away from the limelight.
Love the stuff Larry does with Rosie's partner. It does look like a wig i must say !
The full un-muted clip is bloody marvelous. I wont go to the extent of giving it a max, but as a Legs & Co fan craving time away from TOTPs i'm more than happy to give this a `9 out of 10`.
Thanks for your review, Ryan.
Apologies for the hiatus which was due mainly to the nice weather and watching a lot of the World Cup.
You're right that Larry Grayson had a strange career. It took him quite a long time to make the breakthrough into TV, then after about a decade at the top, he disappeared almost without trace. I think he probably deserved better but by the early 1980's a new breed of more edgy comedians like Ben Elton and Alexei Sayle started to take over and Larry and a few other comics were pushed to one side.
One other point that I meant to make about the dancers was how well that they maintained concentration for this performance. It must have been difficult with all sorts of mayhem happening on stage. There were a couple of moments when I thought that Gill was going to get clattered by the male contestants.
Yes something else id like to say is i thought Flick looked massively more appealing in this than the last occasion she was on TV in 1976 for the Pans Blue Peter thing. Then in the youth club rehearsal setting, she looked quite dowdy indeed.
Thanks for the great intro/info OGW. I really like this. The ladies look lovely and are clearly amused by antics around them and their choreographer has a rare moment in the limelight and acquits herself well too. Larry and Isla are brilliant and truly endearing. I can recall the full vid and the contestants are very funny too. This may not be the most complex dance or sizzling with heat and skimpiness as has already been suggested but it shows real versatility in our dancers and is just darn good entertainment so it's getting 9/10 from me and I only wish there was more like this with our dancers sharing the stage with other entertainers at the top of their game.
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
I had to read the comments on this one to give me a bit of insight into the clip. As it's been said, the entertainment value is whats voted on mainly. Our girls look great in blue, I got a few laughs, Got to find out Flick was a "GIRL"!! Nice to see her, only seen her a few times. So all in all, not bad As entertainment and our girls as a bonus "9"
Thanks Mad Max. I'm guessing that The Generation Game wasn't shown in Australia. We had it in New Zealand but for some reason they stopped showing them once Brucie left.
Thanks also to P4PM. This one is scoring quite nicely so far.
Always fabulous to see Legs & Co doing something different to the normal TOTPs stuff. It’s also wonderful to hear Flick speaking.
Most of the Saturday Night Fever moves are here, but it’s a shame we don’t get to see the couples attempting the dance. I’d have loved to see the second couple’s turn which must have been brilliant to earn 19/20 from Flick.
Larry takes a turn and camps it up with much hilarity, however, the slap he gives to Isla is inappropriate and plain wrong.
“Good game” as Sir Bruce would have said, and for Gill, Rosie, Patti and Pauline’s expert demonstrations with their respective dance partners - 8/10
Lovely stuff, and the uninitiated are left without any further need for recourse that Flick is most definitely a "girl". Rosie, Gill, Pauline and Patti look so sweet yet sensual in their royal blue frocks, just the right tone for a fun family show. We get the Travolta SNF moves rather than those from the Legs TOTPs classic, but that's fine. The chicken wings are super cute, so to the bottom bumps, and the performance runs smoother than an otter cheating at cards. Pity about the male accompaniment, but that was the whole point of the performance, of course. I'll give this 8/10
Our game girls in becoming sky blue for the man from Coventry way look less glitterball, more at home at a soirée hosted by someone called Abigail or Beverly, and there's appropriate family appeal in that. Their four Travoltas seem like nice boys too. Being up for anything was practically written into Legs & Co's contracts, but there's an obvious sense that they enjoyed this bit of extracurricular activity. No more than when competition is over, you can tell they'd really like to pay more unbridled attention to Larry's antics! With the important support of Isla he achieved the near impossible and made the show his own as much as Bruce, and furthermore was a lovely man by all accounts and this clip comes with all-round nostalgia. The Joans of this world disappeared from high streets quite some years ago. Her Sam is reminiscent of three-time World Speedway Champion and Cradley Heathen, Erik Gundersen.
All participants are on an impeccable footing with the song, which I assume was the choice of Flick. Something so smooth and sublime can only add emphasis to the contestants' deficiencies, so it works humorously too. Keeping the moves nice and easy is not only a necessity but also a factor in the carefree feel of the clip. A little more in the way of close-ups would have been nice, and not I think just from a fan's perspective. Nothing like facial expressions to convey the fun. But yeah, I'm thinking particularly of one of the less prominent demonstrators.
One of the best things about this is Flick stepping out of the shadows. Considering she was on peak-time BBC One week in, week out it may seem a little strange nowadays that she felt she needed to confirm her gender, but seven years or so faded much quicker in the memory in the days before home recorders and the internet. And a generation was growing up for whom images from black and white TV sets were already beginning to seem like cultural archaeology.
A good fun watch and another prized survivor. 8/10
I like this routine and it is a really fun routine. I must say that the second couple were quite funny about the routine and that even Legs were having a laugh. I must say that Flick was right to tell the world that she is a lady as when I first started watching Top of the Pops, for some reason I thought Flick was a man, though I can explain why. Well you know that photo of Pan's People with Herman van Veen, as Flick wasn't in that photo and it is the first photo that comes up on Google, well I thought that was Flick when I first looked up Pan's People Though Google has been a good to me as by searching Legs & Co I found the OFTDs in July 2015, forgot about it until I needed info on Xmas '80 and thought I would join!
Back to the routine now and I find that wherever Legs dance, they do an amazing job, though Nightie Fever is much better.
Bearing in mind the costumes worn for the TOTP Night Fever routine, it must have been pleasing for Flick to be asked to choreograph a second routine, choosing the necessary path of one for partners and containing moves which contestants could latch on to as best they possibly can. Needless to say, Larry is the perfect host, offering encouragement, support and his usual gentle, genuinely warm humour.
What's pleasing to see are the Legs ladies maintaining their dance steps whilst finding time to have a chuckle on tthe three occasions subsequent to the demonstration. Most heart-warming part - the sight of Patti's surprised laughter in reaction to Larry's suggestion that dear old Joan, for psychological support, ought to convince herself that she's Ginger Rogers.
Great stuff...and all done with cheeriness.
Thanks to all those who have submitted reviews so far. The ratings have been higher than I expected.
Night Fever is probably unique in that it spawned three completely different routines from TOTP, The Awards Ceremony and the Generation Game. I know there were various Way Down's and I Feel Love's but I don't really count them as proper routines.
The first male contestant in this reminds me of Darts commentator Sid Waddell and the second male contestant sounds like Ryan.