They went to early.

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They went to early.

RYAN
Administrator
As the BBC4 re-runs on TOTPs roll on (the next show we are into July), its becoming increasing evident that Legs & Co are the classiest thing on the show. Take last nights showing filled with unexciting acts, it wasn't until our six dancers performed to the number one at the end that anything remotely looked interesting, and that was dancing to a rather dour song too. I guess being a fan of the dancers i would hold that opinion anyway, but id take a punt that the ordinary music fans who watch the show feel a sense of disappointment when Legs & Co are not on it. Of course this has been highlighted by the fact that some of Legs racier routines have suffered badly due to Yewtree.

Its always been assumed by everyone and i include the dancers and indeed myself in this that by the Autumn of 1981 Legs & Cos suitability to the show had diminished and the best course of action was to simply move on. With the party atmosphere that the producer so craved now starting to be more apparent, it was decided that Legs & Co didn't fit that particular criteria. Maybe they were simply seen as a hangover from the old format and viewed in the same category as the orchestra and static audiences.

We have now watched 50% of 1981 and i cant say ive been to impressed by what ive seen so far, with last nights show one of the blandest examples. How about you guys, are you enjoying 1981 like you enjoyed the other years ?

I fully understand that the producer had a bit of a downer on the resident dance troupe, but im now starting to form the opinion that he gave them their marching orders to quickly. For example, ive watched some of the Zoo stuff from 1982/83 and im convinced Legs could have performed that just as adequately as their predecessors. Also Legs haven't looked out of place on any of the party atmos style activities they have been given thus far. The way i now see it, is that so long as they were allowed to produce one proper routine, then a bit of messing about in the crowd, or dancing behind the band wasn't to much of a bind afterall.

Im loathe to bring the ages up of the dancers and i guess Hurll wanted young performers, but its noticeable that Gill, Lulu, Rosie & Anita were all 22 or under. Was this seen as `past it` to him. Looking at some of the many Zoo dancers, they do appear to be very young. The other thing that is often brought up is that all girl troupes were seen as old hat and mixed dance groups were the way forward. Couldn't they have just bunged some boys into the mix every now and again to join Legs.

So do you think Legs & Co could have gone on ? Was Hurll correct in asking Flick to form a new dance troupe formed of many boys and girl dancers, the phrase "wanting a new direction" is often used for this ? Would Legs & Co have looked amiss in the Party atmos, with all the balloons and streamers ? Tell us your opinion. Mine has changed after watching 81 so far, to sort of quote Sharon Redd "i think they could have handled it".
RYAN
Doc
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Re: They went to early.

Doc
As much as I would have liked them to have gone on for a few more years. It is already obvious that the all conquering pop video is edging them out. By 1981 most big American acts and all new English ones are providing a video for their songs which is resulting in them getting a whole lot of rubbish songs to dance to ( the ones that can't afford a video). The only way they should have continued would have been if there was a producer on the show that was prepared to give them some decent material to dance to. It is quite clear that Hurll was not that man.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
Doc
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Re: They went to early.

Doc
That said, if BBC ever bring back TOTP it needs to be something different from the run of the mill stuff that MTV et al throw at us all the time. How about live appearances by the artists and a dance troupe to fill in the odd gap.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: They went to early.

Old Bill
I don't think a new TOTP would have a resident dance troupe. So many 'bands' now have their own retinue of dancers.

I think the problem with Legs now (ie. 1980s) is that when Pan's started there was still an element of variety in telly, so a turn from the in-house dancers in the middle of the Pops wouldn't have seemed unusual - it would now (definitely now now and probably 1981 now). But like Doc says the video was de riguer for every record release. I'm sure that a play of the video would result in more sales than the song with Legs, so the managers / record companies would be pushing their videos. Even if they had no say whether it was played or the song danced to, I'm sure they saw the economic sense of making videos, especially with the Pops having more competitors and there being more outlets for pop music on telly.

But I do feel that by 1981 Legs are past their best. This is not as harsh as it might sound, as their best was pretty bloody good! Whether this though was because of producers' choices or the music of the time (not the best either in my opinion).
I think that given better treatment they could've gone on, but then we would say that wouldn't we? They looked good in the party atmosphere, but they weren't necessary in that scenario. We all agree that Legs worked better when they had to stage to themselves.
I'm surprised that they thought Zoo could do any better - unless they just thought that the real change that was needed was a mix - ethnically and gender - in the new dancers. Maybe that was Legs's problem? Ruby were just before their time!
Jeremiah 31:13
Doc
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Re: They went to early.

Doc
I certainly think that the video has now become 'as common as muck' as a such has lost it's appeal somewhat. Back in 81 they were quite exciting as you generally only got to see them once or twice. Any future show really needs to move away from them to stand out. As you say dancers have not died out, they are alive and very well in a lot of the videos that are produced.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: They went to early.

Suefan
In reply to this post by RYAN
The girls certainly could have handled carrying on and in no shape or form were past their best!  With the right material and opportunity they could have been at the pinnacle of their tenure.  Indeed they outshine every other act on the programme even more brightly now than they did in previous years.  In part this is a reflection on some of the dire alternative fare on offer, but more significantly it is due to the development of the troupe into a really skillful group of dancers confident to take on any genre and encapsulate any mood.

However, Hurll it seems didn't want them, presumably seeing their departure as a further break with the past which was the furrow he had decided to hoe, while the increasing use of the pop video was clearly beginning to limit the opportunities for a dance troupe.
Furthermore, what hasn't been touched on, and I think I'm correct here, is that Flick herself was increasingly looking for a change of direction with her choreography and the movement from a fixed single gender troupe to a mixed changing cadre (if that isn't too much of a contradiction) was in part her idea.
Suefan
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Re: They went to early.

PattiForPM
Yes I think SF has hit the nails on their heads here.  This was still a troupe with loads of potential and I can easily see them performing better than Zoo with some interesting music on offer but the winds of Hurll, video and the ever-ambitious and creative Ms Colby were making change more and more inevitable.  I continue to think another year or two at least would have been very exciting for Legs & Co on TOTP but it would have taken more support from others to have achieved this and it seems clear to me that they didn't receive this.  Not past their best by a long chalk though - just watch Ai No Corrida and their wonderful Cabaret work and tell me there were not a lot a great dances left in this Troupe
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: They went to early.

RYAN
Administrator
Yup i do concede that i omitted in my opening post that Flick also wished for the change of direction, so it wasn't just the tyrant producer to blame. Just a word on Anita and easily she has fitted into the troupe since Pauline's stint ended. Obviously the original six were the troupe we know and love, but if Legs had gone on, Anita im sure would have had time to develope her persona on the group and danced in some memorable routines. Of course Anita is given the star billing on a routine in August, but its all to late i guess.
RYAN
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Re: They went to early.

AC/PD
In reply to this post by PattiForPM
Legs & Co's natural cheeriness didn't seem to fit favourably in an 81-82 era where moodiness and sullen expressions were de rigeur for a few crucial years. Rather than becoming a not so fashionable alternative to the burgeoning video medium, Legs & Co's tenure on TOTP might have been reignited by moving slightly down the video road in terms of incorporating the shooting style and video into their routines but in moderation and not to a point where the glitz was used to excess, as with Spirit Of Radio.  That said, such excess might have actually been beneficial given entry into a period where excess was success.
The bonus of audience interaction dances which we've recently show how the troupe were still most definitely a TOTP asset but that wasn't the ladies 'day job', their bread and butter as it were and of late the sets have been practically non existent which looks like a sign of the size of the focus they were receiving from the power-that-was.
One look at the dance routine on tonight's show - Walk Right Now - demonstrates just how much more mileage Legs & Co. potentially had on the TOTP road if their talent and purpose was given care, attention, support and with a slight tweak of the engine (or is that bodywork?)
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Re: They went to early.

SuPaLu
In reply to this post by RYAN
So far this year there have been far fewer dances i have enjoyed compared to any of the previous years.This is in part due to not liking the music they are dancing to,and partly the routines themselves.
What about Flick and the dancers,and what they wanted in 1981,and what they would have been happy doing?Pauline's gone,so how long before someone else goes?Slowly the dynamics of the group changes then eventually you end up with a completely new group like what happened to Pan's People.Suefan mentioned Flick wanting to do something different just as she did in 1976.Would they have been happy dancing back-up and to stuff like Chi Mai?Almost all of the great songs have been performed by the artist or they have produced a video leaving Legs with not many good songs to dance to.
Things don't always end perfectly and so it was with Legs,but they had a great run from 1976 through 1980.We may love them all these years later but in 1981 these were dancers on a youth show featuring pop music which was considered here today gone tomorrow.So i think we can forgive Michael Hurll for wanting to make changes he thought were in the show's best interest.Whether he was right or wrong is mute.What is certain is that nothing lasts forever and Legs had to go sometime,and 1981 is as good as 1984.
Glenn
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Re: They went to early.

RYAN
Administrator
SuPaLu wrote
Slowly the dynamics of the group changes then eventually you end up with a completely new group like what happened to Pan's People.
Some would argue that the latter stages of Pans People was their favourite incarnation of that particular dance troupe, but
thats another topic i guess. Yes i have now taken on board Flicks wishes to try something new (missed in my intro post, but picked up on later) but the point im really trying to make is that i now believe, after watching the show so far in 1981, that Legs & Co could have made a success of anything Zoo would have been asked to do. I now of the mind that 1981 was to soon for their departure and they could have given more.

Obviously this was never going to happen with Hurll at the helm and Flick wanting to go down another route too. For every Chi Mai, their was always an Ai No Corrida though, rather like for every Mah Na Mah Na, there was a Supernature. As for the backing stuff, like i said, so long as they were coming up with a full routine on the show, then they probably wouldn't have minded any of that.

It was mooted earlier in this discussion that Legs & Co were past their best. I certainly do not aspire to that theory, the routine we watched on the show this evening is another good example why.
RYAN
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Re: They went to early.

Old Grey Whistler
There is an old adage that it is better to leave with the audience wanting more, than to carry on too long.  However this didn't really apply to Legs & Co as by October 1981 they still had plenty of petrol in the tank, and to answer your question directly, yes they could easily have carried on for a couple more years.
I don't think it was the advent of video's that caused their departure, as much as the desire to end the all girl troupe. Also, Legs & Co were maybe a little fortunate that most of their tenure coincided with the peak of disco music, and they had plenty of good suitable tracks to dance to. But by 1981 the disco flame was almost extinguished and as a result a lot of the songs were harder for them to produce great routines.
I don't really have a problem with the fact that their tenure ended in 1981. It gave them a chance to do other things like taking their cabaret shows abroad while they were young enough to do so.  Also I agree with Supalu that had they continued on, the line up would have most likely changed and it wouldn't have felt quite the same.  What I do have a problem with though is the way that it all ended. In their final few weeks when they were side lined to the fringes, it just felt like a shabby way to treat a troupe that had performed so well for so long. I can't help feeling that if Robin Nash had still been in charge, he would have given them a much better send off.
Without Legs & Co, there would be no show!
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Re: They went to early.

sueforever
In reply to this post by RYAN
I think that our ladies did go to early and could do most of the Zoo routine. The ladies was still in there twenties. But even Zoo didn't last long in the programme. Hurll just wanted get anything that reminded of the old Top of the Pops. Like all producers when they take over they want to put they mark on it. And as videos were coming in why would he like to pay for a dance troupe. I think that he was wrong the ladies could have continue for the next couple of years. If you wanted the proof watch tonight routine.
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Re: They went to early.

SuPaLu
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by RYAN
Yes,on the narrow point of could Legs do anything Zoo did,i believe they could have.I also don't believe Legs were past their best in '81,in fact i believe they were still at the peak and could easily have carried on.I watched moist-eyed at the beauty of them dancing to Michael Jackson on Thursday.Plus I'm so looking forward to that great dance Hold On Tight,not to mention Lulu's semi-solo Endless Love.
However,when you have a producer who wants a completely new look and feel to the show,not to mention a choreographer who wants to try something new,then i think it made sense to get a completely new group.
As much as i like many Zoo routines,and as fine the new dancers are(several Hot Gossips,Julie from Tight Fit and disco dancing champ Julie Brown among them)i think Legs & Co danced during the greatest time in music and of the show.Knowing how the show changed they got out at the best time.
Glenn
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Re: They went to early.

PattiForPM
I totally agree that Legs & Co flourished in a golden age of dance music and we should be grateful for this.  I think Pans People had a less golden age in this respect perhaps but were more timely in terms of their revolutionary fame and prominence.  I would say however that the Zoo reign also encompassed some very good music for dancing, albeit less classic Disco stuff so I think Legs would have had more than enough material to continue to impress us through 1982-83, should this have been allowed.  I would hope that there would have been few changes in personnel in these years as we know a core three dancers stayed together even beyond TOTP and Anita danced with Zoo.  I guess we don't know about Gill and Rosie but they were still very young so we can hope.  All in all I still think we missed out on some classic dancing from the ladies we love to watch but as we've said many forces were against them and maybe we do love them all the more for their trimmed triumphant years and Hurll-instigated Birdie-song-illustrated maltreatment
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: They went to early.

RYAN
Administrator
Lots of great points being made guys and how refreshing to be actually discussing a topic in depth on a discussion forum ! Something else ive not considered until what OGW mentioned about the girls overseas cabaret work. At the end of the day its all about making a buck. As much as being tied to the BBC for 5 years was regular work, i wouldn't imagine them exactly earning a fortune. So it could be that they may have been relived that it came to an end so they could explore other more lucrative ventures without the constraints of being on TOTPs duty Monday to Wednesday each week.

One thing that has also rankled me over the years was how their stint ended on the show. At least Pans & Ruby got decent enough songs to bow out on, but not so with Legs. October is really a bit of a write off, with only one what you could call a routine being danced, with the girls on podiums amoungst the crowd to that dreaded Birdie Song.
RYAN
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Re: They went to early.

Rosie'sNumberOneFan
FWIW, IMHO, Gill has been the star of 1981. She has only just begun to bloom - cut off in her prime :(
When Rosie flares her nostrils

I go weak!
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Re: They went to early.

GiLuRo
In reply to this post by RYAN
To be honest, as sad as it was (and will be again) to see Legs & Co leave TOTP's I think that the timing was possibly right for them to do so. Don't get me wrong, had the show remained as it had been up to the previous year I'm sure they could have continued at least another year or so as they were still at the top professionally , but that wasn't what the producers wanted, and it wasn't to be. As mentioned by many people many times, mid 1980 saw changes in the show, especially with the popularity of pop videos, and the changes continued right into the following year. I have no doubt whatsoever that as a troupe they could have easily carried on and would have been more than capable of moving with the times, and possibly becoming part of the new group Zoo, (or should I say Zoo becoming part of them), but I don't think that's something I would like to have seen.  Although the girls had shown many times over the previous five years how versatile they were, and how capable they were at embracing and performing any style or genre, by 1981, even though they still had their regular routines, more and more performances consisted of them being backing dancers or something similar to cheerleaders and they deserved so much more than this. When we think of Legs & Co, we think of the six girls together, but had they continued on as part of something else, almost like two different versions of the same thing, I think our memories would now be completely different. And maybe the girls themselves were ready for a change too, and this enabled them to do just that. After all Rosie, Lulu and Gill were still young when they joined (not that the others were old by any means), and Lulu had also came straight from Ruby along with Patti and Sue, so maybe they were all ready to move on and try new things. Certainly not saying I'm right about this, just a few thoughts I had which I thought I'd throw in anyway.
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Re: They went to early.

Dancer
I am enjoying these shows from 1981 onwards as I had never seen the originals as by this time I had just left school and started work at M&S so evening television was anaethema to me from hereon in.

I feel that it was time for Legs & Co to go as the music video was so prominent now and fans did not buy the records unless they had seen the video.  Without a video the record was null and void (unless it was a real disco/club song).  I liked to see them in the audience but I felt they had been demoted and did not do them any favours as you tend to watch the artist performing and not the dancers (especially in the case of Shakin' Stevens).

I have only seen Zoo three times on TOTP2 and was not really taken.  There was too many of them and you could never pick out a favourite.  The Twilight, ELO routine for instance was far too busy and fast and I could just see Anita.  The rest were just in a melee and I felt had come out of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals.  To me this was not a good idea at all and I think Legs & Co could have made appearances until well into 1982/83.  For instance they would have made a better interpretation of Layla and also Carly Simon's Why.  

Of course Michael Jackson's Thriller album was about to be launched big time in 1982 and also Madonna was going to be launching in the early eighties and it was paramount that a video accompanied their music.

In conclusion I think Legs & Co went at the best time.  Yes they could have made brief appearances for the next two years maximum; refrained from being in the audience as this demeaned them somewhat but moreover Zoo were not to my liking but I have not seen all their routines so time will tell.

By the way Anita is a lovely replacement for Pauline.  She really can move and she was quite attractive.

Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
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Re: They went to early.

Andeebee
In reply to this post by RYAN
Anita is the only one who moved into Zoo for a brief stint.

Some of the dances are very enjoyable, but alot I see them just being used as furniture for a singer/band used as part of the audience, a trend that will continue with Zoo.

I have never taken to Zoo, the problem is you can't identify yourself with a dancer, there are to many of them, whereas Pans & legs you could get to know the dancers, and watch them develop over the years.  There are some great songs danced to by Zoo, and i would of happily loved to have seen Legs dance to these.

If Legs did continue, would Patti and Sue have left by '83, perhaps Sue moving into the choreographer role along with Ruth and Flick. Sue would of been 28 in the 83 tenure. Lulu, Gill, and Rosemary staying but joined by new members?

So far there have been some outstanding dances this year but sadly some drivel.
Hopelessly Devoted to Sue

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