18/04/2018

Top of the Pops 7 April 1983


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: "It's exactly 7.25. Welcome to studio 3 for a live presentation of Top of the Pops. Now, all the bands are here, though some of them may be miming tonight." Peter Powell: "But we start off! For starters! Right! We give you The Celtic Soul Brothers! This is Dexys!"

[24] Dexys Midnight Runners: The Celtic Soul Brothers. Two weeks of data are missing from BBC Genome. Hold me. Radio Times went unpublished in the weeks of 2nd and 9th April due to industrial action. This is only relevant because I use BBC Genome to give me a heads up on what editions of Top of the Pops were broadcast live. I wouldn't normally rely on Simon Bates to tell me the time and yet here we are. This is the second time round for The Celtic Soul Brothers. It was first released just over a year ago and peaked at number 45. Now, in the wake of Come On Elieen, it's been given a second chance. Watch out for the mystery man who kneels down at the edge of the stage, just beyond where violinist Helen O'Hara, is standing. He's wearing a smart shirt and tie, so I guess he's a member of the production team, but what is his job? He's there for the whole performance. He's not holding a camera although there is a cameraman lurking in the same general area. Maybe his job is to stop the audience becoming tangled in the camera cable? Or, it could be a sighting of the elusive Floor Manager Tony Redstone. 

13/04/2018

Doctor Who Specials #1 The Making of Doctor Who 1972


For the first eight years of Doctor Who there was precious little in the way of behind the scenes information beyond whatever appeared in Radio Times. Then in 1972 a book appeared that changed all that and really started the momentum of the series moving from popular to iconic. The Making of Doctor Who was published by the Piccolo range of Pan Books, penned by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks and sold at the princely price of 25p! The cover features a rather odd photo from `The Sea Devils` of the moment where the Doctor is a prisoner of the titular creatures. Hardly the heroic posed stance you might expect it has the Doctor looking rather worried and sharing the cover with a Sea Devil rather than Jo Grant. Nonetheless the red on Jon Pertwee’s cape matches that of the series logo above it and the end result is a charismatic photo that was also rare at the time.

09/04/2018

Ad Break#two V6, V10 and Commisery


Virgin Media- “That chick is a sick individual”

Virgin’s recent two ads for their latest stuff have been brilliant! First there was the idea that various characters and vehicles from very strand of television were charging together up the pipe which resembled a tunnel. The latest – called `Entertainment in Harmony` was launched at the turn of the year and created by BBH London. It is even better drawing in iconic modern TV types and then making them dance! It starts with the declaration “That chick is a sick individual” and the music - Missy Elliott’s 2005 track `We Run This` - kicks in. The premise is similar to the previous ad bringing instantly recognisable tv types together this time in dance. So it starts with Orange is the New Black, then The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and so on.  There’s even a detective and his team and when they start dancing so does the white outline of a body on the floor in front of them! 

06/04/2018

Scott and Sid



Most `true story` movies are about famous or well -known people written and directed by other people.  Scott and Sid is a film made by Scott and Sid about, erm, Scott and Sid. Scott Elliott and Sid Sydowskyj are/ were two Yorkshire based teenagers who aspired to ambitious plans and compiled a list of things they really wanted to do. Some of them were silly or puerile, others more ambitious. By the time they were 24 they had made large amounts of money via several business ventures and a little fortuitous happenstance along the way. It sounds unlikely and if you read the synopsis in full you’d think- no way could this have actually happened but it actually did. As you’ve probably guessed the latest addition to that hand scrawled list was to make a movie. And this is that movie.

04/04/2018

Top of the Pops 31 Mar 1983


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Steve Wright: "Good evening and welcome to another Top of the Pops. Sorry about the studio tonight. It's a bit messy, we're spring cleaning and we couldn't get all the scenery in. Richard Skinner: "But we've made with it with some excellent live bands in the studio. All of them. Kicking off with New Order. Playing live. Singing Live. With Blue Monday!"

[17] New Order: Blue Monday. Welcome to Easter 1983. Richard Skinner is very excited. Maybe it's the presence of the Easter Bunny (some poor audience cheerleader in a furry bunny suit, clutching a basket). Whatever the cause, Richard Skinner is peaking at approximately 0.75 Peter Powells (or 0.9 Cheggers for those of you who prefer imperial measurements). Despite his overuse of the word "live" it's not actually clear if this show is live. BBC Genome doesn't think so, and it seems unlikely that BBC1 would schedule two live editions back-to-back. New Order are definitely -and defiantly- live but they seem oddly subdued. You'd think they'd be over the moon at being allowed to sing and play live in studio but for some reason they seem almost embarrassed. Bernard Sumner is doing a remarkable job of hiding as much of himself as possible behind the microphone stand. Stephen Morris probably summed up this ramshackle performance best on Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1983, "we made the cardinal error of looking like we were miming but actually playing it live."

30/03/2018

Ready Player One


It’s easy to forget just how many great movies Steven Spielberg has made, not just the iconic ones but the more serious ones and those that are perhaps less well remembered but still a good watch. I’m not sure yet which category Ready Player One will slot into but as if it needed being said is yet another hugely entertaining, visually strong and well composed film. While I feel there is something lacking overall it is frequently as breathlessly exciting as the virtual reality world it depicts. If you see it- and you should- find the biggest 3D IMAX screen you can!

Spoilers from here…

28/03/2018

Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool


An unlikely sounding though true story of how Oscar winning actress Gloria Grahame fell for a younger actor from Liverpool called Peter Turner. Based on the latter’s book the film works up the slim story into something substantial by virtue of two excellent performances and some cinematic devices along the way. It’s the late 1970s and Turner is in London digs into which Gloria moves while starring in a play. Soon they become more than just friends, the large age difference seeming to make no difference as her zest for fun and his mischievous calm seem to meet in a perfect place. They bond initially over disco dancing and end up as lovers and more.

25/03/2018

Top of the Pops 23 March 1983


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. John Peel: "Well hello there fans and welcome to another Top of the Pops... sorry can we do that again Tony?" Tony [off camera]: "No". David Jensen: "No wait a minute, this is live. It's a live Top of the Pops tonight." John Peel: "Live?"David Jensen: "Oh dear... you know. Like we rehearsed it."John Peel: [mumbles]
David Jensen: "Across the nation tonight. Let's get on with it. Making their Top of the Pops debut tonight, never mind John, it's JoBoxers!"

[21] JoBoxers: Boxerbeat.  Yes Top of the Pops is live but on a Wednesday. The programme has been wrenched from its familiar Thursday night home and wedged unnaturally between A Question Of Sport and Dallas. Suddenly up is down. Ceilings are floors. Hats are shoes. I don't know what to think any more. Actually, Top of the Pops started on Wednesday 1st January 1964 and moved to Thursday in September of the same year. It was moved to Friday in April 1973, for apparently no better reason than BBC1 wanted to show The Virginian on Thursday night. Top of the Pops shuffled back to Thursday when that series of The Virginian ended in September 1973 and then moved to Friday again in September 1974 because BBC1 was desperate to show Chico and the Man to the nation. Evidently the nation didn't take to Chico and the Man because it was quietly moved to BBC2 in October and Top of the Pops returns triumphant to its ancestral seat where it stayed forever and ever and we all lived happily ever after (except for occasional moves to make space for the Olympics, or in tonight's case A Song for Europe). In summary; Top of the Pops has always been on Thursday except for the times it wasn't. Meanwhile, listen to the crowd chanting "beat, beat, beat," as the song starts. Surely The Look's lawyer was tempted to reach for his pen? And keep an eye on lead singer Dig Wayne. He is really chucking that microphone around. He drags it backwards. He pushes it forwards. He drags it backwards and pushes it forwards again. Each time it gets closer and closer to the front of the stage. Until finally, right at the end of the song, he lets it go and it tips forwards and tumbles off the stage.