24-12-81: Presenter: David Jensen (Thanks to POPSCENE for the running order)
(41) WIZZARD – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (1981)
(brief Christmas message from Imagination)
(4) ADAM & THE ANTS - Ant Rap (video)
(45) ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS - Sweet Dreams
(5) BUCKS FIZZ - The Land Of Make Believe
(12) THE POLICE - Spirits In The Material World ®
(26) KOOL & THE GANG - Get Down On It (performed by Zoo)
(3) ABBA - One Of Us (video)
(20) ALTERED IMAGES - I Could Be Happy
(9) DOLLAR - Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) (with Zoo)
(1) THE HUMAN LEAGUE - Don't You Want Me
(47) PHILIP LYNOTT - Yellow Pearl (audience dancing/credits)
A salient comment relative to BBC4's scheduling of the 1981 Top Of The Pops repeats can be found in the schedules on the day tonight's edition was broadcast on terrestrial television for the first and only time. Flustered at Thames Television scheduling The Kenny Everett Video Cassette directly opposite the premier music programme over on 'the Beeb' in the Spring of 1981 at a time when actual video recorders were still something of a luxury, the 'zany' comic hopped channels in the Autumn of 1981, gaining both a Saturday lunchtime show on Radio 2 (bye for now, Capital) ,a more polished series recorded before a live audience and Cleo Rocos :-) What Everett left behind was Hot Gossip, Marcel Wave, Angry of Mayfair, a greater degree of anarchy and spontaneous laughter courtesy of the camera crew. Aired half an hour after the conclusion of this particular TOTP edition, Everett's opening line, in reference to the regular 'second showing' policy, was "Hello and Merry Christmas. Or, if this is the repeat, wasn't it hot today!"
Christmas '81 in June is not exactly what was expected to be the outcome at the commencement of the 1981 repeats shortly after Christmas '15 but we must be grateful for the repeats no matter how out of kilter with the calendar they are. Next week sees 1982 hit BBC4 but how far will we get before the usual Summer interruption occurs?
It's a live edition, so how quickly were both the audience and acts in getting out of Television Centre on Christmas Eve, making a mad dash for White City tube station before the underground winds down for its one-day-of-the-year closedown?
David Jensen's already opened one present - a Corbett-esque pastel coloured Argyle jumper. The kids have already started celebrating. Not that they've found the presents hidden too well by Mum and Dad but the party hats are already worn and the streamers are in full flow and all over the dining table for Wizzard's timeless Christmas classic recorded in the Summer of 1973, an occasion on which a Christmas tree was brought in from somewhere and the air-conditioning was turned down to 'Cold' in order to get Roy Wood's band members into an appropriately festive mood. Stick sleigh bells over the top and you know you're onto a Yuletide winner. When originally released in early December '73, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday reached No.4 in the UK. With 1981's re-release taking place rather late in the month - a week before the big day, the record was denied the chance to gather chart momentum of any significance in time for the big day. A third reissue in 1984 saw the record reach No.23 and, thanks to the phenomenon of digital downloads, the song charted for seven consecutive Christmases in the 21st Century (spit).
with a No. 57 stretched across the chest, Adam Ant displayz hiz usual Mr Benn-esque penchant for cos-play by padding himself out in American Football kit for an Arthurian video in the setting of a medieval domain - Sussex's Bodiam Castle. Mr Ant blends best into his surroundings when wearing a suit of armor, one which may develop rust after a dive by his stuntman into the moat below. Ant also plays martial arts master Bruce Lee, leaping into the action in an attempt to rescue the fair/ginger maiden princess/damsel in distress figure of Lulu (not 'our' Lulu but 1983's 'Rear Of The Year' Lulu) and return her to the nearest fashionable bandwagon. Remixed and reaching No.3 in the UK, Ant Rap was the third and final song from the Prince Charming LP which also feature Stand & Deliver as well as the title track.
As with Sweet Year For The Roses, Sweet Dreams could be found on Almost Blue, the fourth studio album from Elvis Costello & The Attractions and one which carried a 'Warning' label on the cover - an operative word because, recorded in Nashville (have a guess) the LP contained a dozen Country & Western covers of works by artists such as Hank Williams. A 1955 standard penned by Don Gibson and covered by Patsy Kline, Sweet Dreams blossomed not as well as the Roses in the charts, no higher than No.42.
A two week No.1 in January 1982, The Land Of Make Believe, this cheerful fairytale of a song was written by Pete Sinfield, Ibiza tax exile, King Crimson member and lyricist of both the prog rockers and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. With call-outs to the factual 17th Century pirate Captain Kidd and the fictional Clark Kent's alter ego, the song represented the biggest seller for Bucks Fizz in both Germany and the UK where sales pushed towards three quarters of a million and made it the 41st biggest seller of the entire decade, some way below the present No.1's £1.43m.
As well as Julie 'Tight Fit' Harris, Zoo creature Julie Brown's very much on display, flashing her reflective devices for Dollar's performance of Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) produced by Trevor Horn and, as with the lovey dovey duo's song from the past 'Love's Gotta Hold On Me' and the future's 'Give Me Back My Heart' saw a positional best chart position of No.4 for DVD and TB. Seemingly, the entire collection from Flick Colby's Zoo are out and about for the post-disco party classic introduced by Jensen as "Get On Down With It". As eye catching as ever, Anita returns for her second dance with the pack which consists of Miss Chellemah, Adam, Chris, Eddie, Erica, Jeannie, The Two Julies, Radford, Sharon, Tony and Wesley (and everyone who knows me).
A show in which every artist is either classic or a prime cut from the early '80's (and ideal fare for TOTP2), this particular Christmas Eve would put all bar Scrooge in a good mood, either at the time or in the present.
PS. Kenny Everett's weather forecast turned out to be Fishy. It wasn't hot today. It rained.
An excellent preview AC which has me looking forward to the show!
Whether my anticipation flowers and blossoms, or whether it withers and wilts, only time will tell but your summary has had a positive effect on this recipient.
Im certainly no fan of the much vaunted party atmosphere that so came to prominence around this time, but i certainly enjoyed the show this evening. It does help when there are acts appearing who i like, and id say that David Jensen is still the tops when it comes to presenting.
I thought the Zoo routine was okay, but do the members of the dance troupe have to be in shot in just about every intro. Best highlight for me on the show, hmm, Cheryl Baker in that dress was very high up on my list i must say.
Did anyone else think the attacking of The Human League with that spray string was a tad unnecessary. Oh i forgot, its all part of the party atmos !
Although i wasnt fully concentrating (will do on the repeat version) it seemed like a pretty good show, the 80s poppier sound starting to make its way to the fore with Dollar, Bucks Fizz and Human League's most commercial sound to date. Whilst the Zoo format gave potentially a greater scope for variety it seems like simply throwing a large number of dancers into the mix with little structure does not make a for good routine, however skilled they are.
This is perhaps my favourite single episode of TOTP - great music and a real festive vibe.
I'm not sure if the cheerleaders outnumbered the Zoo line-up on this programme; the ones I recognise are PinkY ;) and Tony - who do their own mini-routine on the big stage during the "Get Down on It" floor show, Craig "Dan Sullivan" Fairbrass in his army green jumpsuit, and Phil Tan, one of the competitors of the UK Disco Dancing Championships back in the day, who gets in the way of the camera a lot during the Zoo routine.
And also the first time for my favourite member of Zoo, Eddie Kemp, getting in the festive spirit with his hair dyed green. Next time we see him on BBC Four - which will be next Thursday, it'll be dark blue.
btw, Can't decide if the true DotD is Kid for his shuffling in the background during "Mirror Mirror" and "Yellow Pearl", or the panda.
EDIT: Nice to see the references to "tomorrow's" show kept in at the end - particularly the end credit crawl boasting about what we're not going to see in 2016.
I know I'd rather see Jimmy, DLT, Tony B and the still-acceptable-in-2016 Radio 1 talent introduce some of the finest songs not to make it to Number 1 during 1981 than Fern Britton flogging antiques this afternoon at 2pm. This will have to do...
Yup, fair play that was a cracking show, though Messrs Costello & Ant did their best to spoil it. I had presumed this must have been at the fag end of The Ants career, but my well-thumbed Guinness book of Hit Singles tells me they dragged it out for another couple of singles after this one. Very much a case of diminishing returns methinks. Both Bucks Fizz and Dollar had channelled a particular look for the times, hadn't they! Definitely popped out of the same seed pod. The latter giving us an appropriate ditty to narcissism, as one can imagine Mr (burger) Van Day spent rather a lot of time in front of his mirror.
Still missing Legs like crazee though. And even a show that included the likes of Jay Aston, Clare Grogan, Thereza Bazar...and Anita, still left me feeling a little woebegone. I must get over this in the new year.
Thanks again AC, as with the previous reviews from the past year very interesting and informative. A great show as we near the end of the year, and apart from Adam & The Ants, no duff acts in this one. A fairly decent routine by Zoo, and although I do realise the show has now adopted the party atmosphere theme, seeing Zoo/the cheerleaders gate crashing so many intros or getting behind the acts on the stage is getting a bit tiresome!
Good research is one of the hallmarks of your previews AC, and this week it's particularly impressive. Great stuff.
Well I can only go along with the consensus and say what a high standard show this is, made fully evident with the addition of the three big-hitters omitted from the early screening. I'd go so far to say that I understand why Colm places this among his best editions ever, the party atmos coming into its own in the season to be OTT. Adam & The Ants did remind me though of the Not The Nine O'Clock News number 'Nice Video, Shame About The Song'. A Christmas turkey, sorry Adam. Prefix a W and dispose of it with the rest tomorrow mate.
A lovely initiation status to a lovely show. It did have a lovely theme to it, it was just a shame we were watching it in the Summer. Enjoyed Wizzard as this is my all time favourite Christmas track. Elvis Costello's track was good but he had problems miming but irrespective he was still lovely looking to watch and enjoyed the rest of it and I won't comment on all the appearances. It was really good. Zoo were very good. A well interpreted dance to Get Down on It. Kid Jensen certainly moved well in his Argyll jumper. Loved the audience participation and the set too. Really good idea to have some of the audience above moving and dancing on the top deck and the Zoo participation of Phil Lynott's track. My question is why do the presenters keep referring to Zoo as "Flick Colby's Zoo". Really intrigued about that one.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.