25-12-78: Presenter: Noel Edmonds (Thanks to POPSCENE for the listing)
(-) DARTS – The Boy From New York City
(-) BONEY M – Rasputin
(53) JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – Summer Nights (danced to by Legs & Co)
(-) WINGS – Mull Of Kintyre (video)
(-) BROTHERHOOD OF MAN – Figaro
(-) FATHER ABRAHAM & THE SMURFS – The Smurf Song (video)
(-) THE BEE GEES – Night Fever (video)
(-) BRIAN & MICHAEL – Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs
(-) BRIGHOUSE & RASTRICK BRASS BAND – The Floral Dance ®
(-) KATE BUSH – Wuthering Heights (video)
(-) SHOWADDYWADDY – I Wonder Why
(57) BONEY M – Rivers Of Babylon
(-) THE COMMODORES – Three Times A Lady (danced to by Legs & Co)
(-) ABBA – Take A Chance On Me (video)
(-) ROSE ROYCE – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore (video)
(-) JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – You’re The One That I Want (video)
(1) BONEY M – Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord ®
(-) JAMES GALWAY – Annie’s Song (danced to by Sue) (and credits)
Praise the Lord! After a break of over one calendar month, it's back!
As enjoyable as the compilation shows have been, they're just not quite as welcome as the largely unedited editions of Top Of The Pops have been, even allowing for the fact that the Thursday evening showings are truncated to fit the allocated time slot.
The previous edition, aired in late November, was the 14/12/78 show. Strike action put paid to the scheduled 19th December show from being recorded two days previously and thankfully BBC4 had enough common sense to hold back the Christmas edition until an appropriate moment : showing it on 28/11/13 would have been a touch too soon.
The ongoing effects of the strike resulted in this make-do Christmas Day edition, featuring, appropriately enough, a Noel although this particular Noel, Mr Edmonds, is casually dressed and free of festive jumpers.
It's an office-type setting for Noel's final solo Top Of The Pops appearance, a man who may well have been celebrating his 30th Birthday at the time it was recorded. One last time, his links are as corny and puntastic as ever, introducing video performances in the main, as well as a few brand new audience-free re-recordings of hits from 1978.
Darts, with possibly their greatest single, belt out a cover of The Ad-Libs' debut single from the mid-60's: The Boy From New York City, this time consisting of doo-wop backing from Den Hegarty's replacement, Kenny Andrews.
How many Legs & Co performances will be featured? Back in 1978 it was just the two and one-sixth, but with BBC4 baulking at sums in the region of £2,000 in Royalties to show movie-based material, we're looking at four-and-a-bit.
Nightie Fever's certain for a fresh airing as is You're The One That I Want, featuring Floid and frizz. We'll also be reacquainted with the Summer Nights routine, filmed especially for the Christmas Day edition, but already familiar from it being overlaid onto editions from earlier in the Autumn. Recall Gill losing an item of clothing, Lulu's flirtatious eye-contact, Sue's bunches, Rosemary pleasing her dance partner with a shimmy of her own bunches and Pauline receiving a heftier than expected whack in the back just before the guys roll them over in unison.
Although well-known, it's actually a wonderful spectacle as part of a Christmas Day broadcast.
The Christmas fairy image is provided by Sue, dancing balletically as an accompaniment to Annie's Song and the closing credits.
Well i wasn't expecting a preview for this PD so thanks for coming up with the goods. Yes tonight could very well be a Legs fest. I wonder why Noel got drafted in to do this particular show, was he the only man available ? The whole thing looked a hasty thrown together affair in an atmosphere of industrial action. Still at least they cobbled up a show.
I thought that was a bit odd - making TB's desperate jokes sound even more desperate. Surely if they organised a load of false legs for the cupboard they could have dragged the design dept out of the pub to scrawl on "Legs & Co"... sorry, "company".
Without an audience those Christmas shows felt flat, exactly the opposite of what was needed. This show also didn't really reflect the exciting music scene of 78, though I suppose that was because much of the new wave, disco and assorted gems didn't make the requisite Number 1 or 2. Three helpings of Boney M were too much, but hey, it's Christmas, the season for overdoing...
It was with sadness I saw that, after a brave fight, Martin had become the fourth and final member of The Brotherhood Of Man to succumb to Perm Fever in 78. As had Brian or Michael. Not sure how that would have gone down on the grim streets of Salford.
Did anyone else catch Christmas TOTPs 2013? Horrible. Insipid, identity free, music-by-numbers. Further sullied by the audience of whooping morons that helped mar the show in its later incarnations. That 78 audience wasn't so undesirable after all.
This may be more down Vin's street as he is very good at this sort of thing but was `Annie's Song` the lowest placed song in terms of chart position on the 1978 Christmas TOTPs. I do know it only reached number 3 in the singles chart. I would have thought only songs that got to say number one or two would normally make the grade for a show of this nature.
To just broaden this further, i wonder what the lowest song ever was in terms of its chart position say during the 1970s to make it onto a Christmas show ? Maybe it wasn't uncommon for songs other than the top two to get on the show !
I suppose that was because much of the new wave, disco and assorted gems didn't make the requisite Number 1 or 2. Three helpings of Boney M were too much, but hey, it's Christmas, the season for overdoing...
The following No. 1 records of 1978 were missing in this show:
Althea & Donna - Up Town Top Ranking
10cc - Dreadlock Holiday
Boomtown Rats - Rat Trap
Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
So in my opinion, they should have left out 'Rasputin' which was only a No. 2 - but this was probably owed to the fact that one Xmas show had to be dropped, and they did not want to waste the material which had already been recorded for the first show.
Not sure what the lowest charting-record to appear on a Christmas Day episode of TOTP during our timeframe is, but yesterday's contemporary programme featured Boyzone performing a song which only peaked at Number 39 a month or two ago...
Nearer to our timeframe, there is Kirsty MacColl's "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" and Dave Stewart and Colin Bluntstone's version of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" from the Christmas Day 1981 programme, which peaked at 14 and 13 respectively.
Furthermore, Lulu (Miss McLaughlin, not our Miss Cartwright) did her Number 32 hit "Love Loves to Love Love" on the Boxing Day 1967 episode.
Yes Annie's Song only peaked at No. 3 while every other song on the show made it at least to No. 2.
In 1972, Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" made it onto the Xmas show even though the record only ever reached No. 14 in the charts. In 1976, Cliff Richard's "Devil Woman", a No. 9 hit, was also included on a Xmas show. Basically though, a song has to make No. 1 or No. 2 (or spent many weeks in the charts like Sylvia's "Y Viva Espana") to be included in the Xmas shows.
I also imagine that in the case of Boney M it was a case of 'in for a penny in for a pound', while the absent number 1 artists might not have been able or wanted to make the show. (Yes, that means you Rod). And I expect the budget was a factor in not flying Althea and Donna in.