Without You _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byNilssonand reaching number 1 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date28/12/1972Duration of dance - 3.09 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Harry Nilsson sadly is no longer with us, but it seems that one of his songs is meant to last forever. Written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of the group Badfinger, "Without You" was first released on Badfinger's 1970 album "No Dice", a classic early example of what would be known later as 'power pop'. The songwriters themselves didn't think much of their composition, so Badfinger's version sounds like it was recorded as a mere album filler. It needed the arrangement and multi-octave vocal talents of Nilsson to unfold its full potential.
Released as a single at the end of 1971, "Without You" became a worldwide million seller, a No. 1 hit on both the US & UK charts, and probably one of the most popular love songs ever to be written. One month after Nilsson's untimely passing in January 1994, Mariah Carey took the song to the No. 1 spot in the UK again.
Fast forward to September 1972. Andrea Rutherford is well advanced in pregnancy and has to leave Pan's People to have her baby girl. Says Dee Dee, "So we decided that we needed another girl in the group to do the cabaret gigs until she came back" (Our Story, p. 116). Auditions were held to find the right dancer and the lucky one chosen was the 17 year old Cheryl Gillespie. After some time of collecting experience on cabaret shows, Cherry - as she was affectionately called - had a field day on December 28th, 1972, when she debuted on Top of the Pops. Tony Blackburn had gathered the other four dancers around him promising that he had the "most beautiful Christmas present" for them. When Pan's People unwrapped the huge parcel, the present turned out to be Cherry herself, who according to TB would be "dancing with Pan's People all the way through 1973".
After that, Pan's People danced to Nilsson's "Without You", all dressed in long white heavy garments, with candle flames flickering in front of a plain black backdrop. Cherry comments, "The girls unwrapped me and out I came in this awful dress! I remember Flick saying years later, 'What was I thinking with that dress?'" (Our Story, p. 131). Commencing the routine is not Cherry but Ruth who is dancing a solo before the rest of the troupe comes into view. A little later, the apparently nervous Cherry also gets a solo spot. Towards the end of the routine, we can admire a technical achievement - two different recordings of the dancers being shown simultaneously.
Now, I will freely admit it: I never liked "Without You" that much. It is a beautiful song but I find it a bit boring all the same. Furthermore I agree that the dresses were rather awful. The black backdrop doesn't add much contrast so that the whole routine is more or less in black and white only and thus comes across as fairly lifeless. Surely Cherry had deserved a better debut than this. Fortunately she would shine just a week later when Pan's People famously interpreted "You're So Vain".
While by no means a show stopper I like Flick's dance interpretation and setting, while as a debut routine it fits the bill nicely. Unfortunately you could make a couple of good sized tents out of each of those dresses which holds things back but even so I'm giving this a 7 with debutant Cherry my Dotd.
The intro with the unwrapping of Tones gift is very much the highlight here as the actual routine was a bit on a nonentity. The dancers done up like extras from a Dracula movie, the blandness of the set and the quite depressing song make this a Christmas routine to store away for another year with the tree and tinsel.
I guess if it wasn't for the involvement of our fine debutant, this one would be down there in Turkey territory, unlike the next Pans dancer to debut whos routine somehow still finds itself up there with the cream of the crop.
Rating--Just `5 out of 10` from me. (and one point of that was because im glad a routine from 1972 was preserved with so many fallen by the wayside).
DOTD--I will select the dancer who was going to spend the whole of 1973 with Pans People, `Cherry`.
[compact critique] I'll admit the song is something of a classic but I find it a hard listen... similarly, this performance is important for obvious reasons but I find it slightly disappointing. I don't think the dresses were that popular with anyone. A good solo start with Ruth (DotD). 5/10
I'm afraid this is not really much fun to watch for me, aside from the unwrapping ceremony which I quite like despite the involvement of my least favourite DJ. I do like the song even allowing for its Michael-Bolton-like-whininess and I like it way better than the very ordinary Badfinger version. In fact whoever thought of ramping it up for Mr Nilsson deserved a (minor) medal. The Dance is a bit dreary though and it would have been nice to have introduced Cherry with something a bit more suited to a vivacious 17 year old rather than a barely convalescent 75 year old Hospital inpatient. I see this as a PP counterpart to Legs & Co's Let Em In, curiously enough another true Xmas downer. Anyway I am giving a rather paltry 4/10 and it'd be less if not for Cherry emerging from a parcel and starting a career full of promise and sparking a real revitalisation of Pans People IMO (after this Show though) ; oh and she gets DotD too from me
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
A great way to introduce a new dancer, plunge her straight in at the deep end with a partial solo performance, & Cherry still has heaps of action from a great supporting cast, but I'm not sure that she's anybody's possession, as unwrapping her quite literally as a Christmas present seems to imply.
There's some decent visual effects making it look like there really was ten dancers on stage, that could've been all Pan's People, past, present, & future, from their era of TOTPs.
They can't live anymore and judging by the Victorian night-clothes they ceased to do so about a century ago, dancing out as ghosts their mournful routine. The uniformity allows the newcomer to instantly blend in, the same as was to happen for Sue. I wonder if this was a coincidence. The distant shots work against the emotional intensity of the song and the doubling effect diffuses it further. It seems that Flick came to rue this one as not befitting the occasion and it's ironic it's one of the year's few survivors. I think she wanted it consigned to the few people with the memory capacity of Jez! Dreary is the word that first comes to mind for me also. A 4. I really shouldn't add anything for the (lovely) unwrapping because it should be solely the routine under consideration. But hey, it was Christmas so...4.5/10. DOTD Cherry
I like this song but it was maybe a surprising choice to dance to on a festive show. The dresses are particularly unflattering and yet probably suit the song better than a more sexy look would have done. This seems to be ideal for anyone watching on a black and white TV, and I guess a sizable chunk of the viewers would have been doing so, but I think I would have preferred it had the dresses been in different shades and the background a little less black.
I have no issues with the dancing though so I will score it 7 out of 10.
Cherry does well enough on debut to take DOTD.
Strange choice of song to try to devise a dance to, i mean i do like the song but really something more upbeat could have been chosen particularly after the inspired 'Cherry unwrapping' sequence. The dance itself on early impressions is mundane and the much derided lumpy dresses don't do anything to enhance the proceedings. However after a few more views i do feel it fits the music rather well, there are some nice fades with different distance shots, the black background enhances the look which would get lost otherwise, and Cherry fits in well. There are the makings of something rather beautiful there, a bit more work and better dresses could have achieved, perhaps a missed opportunity then 7/10.
DOTD Ruth for the candle lit solo, although this bit should have been given to Cherry I felt.
It has always baffled me why cherry wasnt bought in to do her first dance on the xmas day edition where pans did their bit to popcorn , i presume that the xmas day was a new routine to the disc so i just dont see why tony didnt give the rest of the ladies their xmas pressie that day , unless flick at the time decided to bring cherry on to the screen for the first time to a much slower dance and song that had been a classic number one for weeks during 72 , im not really sure where the first xmas edition of totp 72 was heading that year songs like popcorn , sugar me and california man were noo really best selling number ones or twos of 1972 , anyway it would be interesting to see how much different flick did the dance earlier in the year , anyway its a great classic song of all time and i really dont mind the pp performance of it , i can only think that by interpretating the disc by using one female dancer and one male she couldent have really done much more than she did using 5 girls to interpretate it , because the song is a lovely classic and we have a couple of wonderful close ups from babs and louise i give an 8
Not a good routine for Cherry to begin her tenure with Pans People. Flick was right later on to declare:"what was I thinking?" Those dresses were awful. The camera work was too distant for such a personal song.
This I find all surprising because the quality of the song sung by Nilsson was top notch. It deserved better!
You need to have a certain frame of mind to appreciate this song. This routine is poor and doesn't do it justice. When reviewing the video, it did appear to be a bit of a durge...
But then I closed my eyes..!
I was at first taken back to 1972 when I remember the song very vividly. Certain elements in the song remind me of feelings of sadness I've experienced. The sweet manner in which the song is delivered draws this out from the back of my mind. These are of good fond, memories but the of the possibilities lost forever.
This should have been a solo routine with Sergio Leone style close ups. Cherry may have been able to carry this off, while any first time nervousness may have enhanced the effect to fit the song.
A classic song and I still don't tire of hearing it and it counteracts somewhat the awful tents they get to wear. The camera work is a bit of a let down as well and at times the top 2/3's of the screen is just black. Could have been better but it's still a nice dance 8/10.
Dotd: Not much to split them but I'll give it to Louise for the glint in her eye in the close up, even if she did get a bit out of step when dancing with Dee Dee.
I'm late to the party here and think between you've summed up well.
Cherry is in it
Double dancing at the end with 10
Babs close faceshots recently on the quiz
Not so good
Mary WhiteHouse chose the dresses it seems
Dresses look heavy
Song like the verses hate the chorus and it's not very danceable
Flick didn't like either from digging the dancing queens comments
Lacking fun factor of my favourite routines
I struggle to watch this all the way through
Tony b irritating
6 and dotd not awarded
This is a dance that I have only viewed on about three occasions. I do not remember the original broadcast. The outfits were just awful and Flick did say this in her interview. They looked like something out of Upstairs Downstairs first thing in the morning in the servants quarters. They did not smile which obviously they couldn't as it is a morbid song. I never felt lifted up when I saw this. Such a shame it was Cherry's debut dance too. I will give this dance six out of ten and the best dancer goes to Cherry.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
This song was no.1 when I was born. So be grateful people, it's brought you Old Bill and Young Cherry. It's the song that keeps on giving! And I quite like it, I am a bit of a Badfinger fan.
And I like the dance too, my main dislike is the acres of black space, but I suppose that's meant to make us feel Harry's pain and loneliness?
The close-ups of Babs and Lou are lovely, and the dancing lovely too. I even don't mind the dresses. This was the age of the maxi-dress after all.
Towards the end, I'm sure I can count 15 dancers on screen at once. Is this a record...?
And then just after that when we see the two sets of 5, they are dancing in a slightly different formation - I wonder if this in intentional?