Something of a sea change for the rest of the 1976 run as all the remaining shows are half an hour long in their original form, so no excuse for editing from here on it (except possibly the show before Christmas which might run slightly long, and of course we don't yet know what slots the Christmas shows themselves get) The repeats are still on, though.
As a further aside, I liked this blog post about TOTP.
Jimmy Savile in charge, and as offputting as his bright orange tracksuit top with plunging neckline is as a hors d'oeuvre we only get a top half shot for now, which is a blessed relief for three or four minutes.
Eddie & The Hotrods – Get Out Of Denver
Punk! Well, it's not, it's rough-house pub rock by way of rockabilly as punk doesn't arrive in single form until late October and not on TOTP until May 1977, but in comparison insomuch as by this point they'd had a residency at the Nashville Rooms with Strummer's The 101ers and in February had booked the Sex Pistols as tour support only to drop them when at a preliminary gig at the Marquee Lydon smashed up their gear (getting the Pistols their first ever music press coverage, for what it's worth) This was from a live EP and sounds it too, the energy and enthusiasm somewhat stymied by the start of the performance being overlaid with a set design that says less rock'n'roll attitude and more One World Roots Festival 1998 logo and by an audience that don't yet know how to approach this music. Several people attempt some sort of solo jive. Two people with 'RODS' on the back of their jackets, having heard this all before, point at a monitor instead. Barrie Masters, with his migraine-inducing green squiggly jacket over bare chest, has been separated from the rest of his band by a pit full of youths. That band includes a bassist with the logo of the US fanzine Punk on his T-shirt and a drummer pointlessly in just his pants and very long stripy socks. It's not like he'd been sweating the whole night through to that point. Maybe it was his thing. Or he was on a bet. Towards the end the camera definitely, finally runs someone over as it closes in on Masters, swingingly briefly but wildly to the left before crash-zooming in on target. Jimmy then wanders on set, in front of that seperately projected backdrop, a bar too early with the visual effect still on so only his outline can be seen at first, and it's not a pretty outline. "Gonna go to number one, that, as it happens" he confidently predicts. It got to number 43, as it happened.
Twiggy – Here I Go Again
Someone's definitely got into the habit of not cutting Jimmy off when he starts rambling at the end of sentences, just letting him wind down like a Duracell bunny. "And how are all you ladies and gentlemen at home? Very well, we hope. Have a nice time. See you soon. Here's Twig." See you soon? Maybe he anticipated everyone drifting off during this, especially as it's the video with less of a budget than Pops had managed.
The Wurzels – I Am A Cider Drinker
Jimmy Saville surrounded by seamen. Don't. Three of the crew of HMS Daedelus "from the boiling high seas", as he puts it, which suggests he doesn't know that much about the properties of large expanses of water, or for that matter sense as he then calls them "the BBC seas". They don't manage everything, Jimmy. Wonder if the show was recommended by those bored pisstaking sailors in the crowd the other week, and if so what must these three men of the tides have made of the circumstances of the moment at which they had their television break. No sousaphones made their way through this week, so it's rags on sticks all round and collective knee bending. Bizarre as this possibility seems, I wonder if this is an orchestra job - they're definitely re-recorded vocals and the rhythm seems a little flat-footed. We do get the extra bits performed live, though. No samples here.
Lou Rawls – You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
Haven't mentioned Jimmy's bottom half yet, and for a good reason - it's the smallest pair of red athletic shorts you'll see. You really do fear for shots from anywhere below. Surrounded by people in homemade T-shirts the slogans on which aren't entirely readable - 'MIKE AND MARTYN' something say two - Jimmy has help introducing a real hodge-podge, like Flick had three ideas and just couldn't decide, except that this week it really wouldn't be driven by the lyrics. Stage right, Floyd in a silver reflective suit and matching top hat waves a cane around, another of those short straw efforts he seems to keep being assigned (oh, just you wait for next week). Stage left, three of the girls do the time immemorial ostrich feather routine. Middle front, Cherry and Philip play out a modern morality dance part-trad part-mating ritual, Philip in an entirely car spray silver outfit with cape and hat attached to the top of said cape, Cherry with a toga/throw rug and a huge blue flower in her hair. Although everyone clearly goes through their own fulsome routines throughout it is this pairing that get the bulk of screen time and as you'd expect from that pairing there's an overflow of nods to camera - over the shoulder, little glance, the lot - though at least Philip isn't miming along this week. Jimmy, arm on a girl's shoulder, says "yes indeedy" four times in a row.
Cliff Richard – I Can't Ask For Anything More Than You
An advance in the director's art as we get the first few seconds actually off a studio monitor, later overlays giving the impression of infinite Cliffs. Well, it fills the big black space. It's another staging of the same falsetto-friendly arrangement, Cliff back in his too tight jeans as well as a small medallion. You wouldn't think he'd be the type.
Bay City Rollers – I Only Wanna Be With You
Now Jimmy's sitting down, giving those unsettingly thin pins a full airing. We're pretty much towards the end of Rollermania, with a new bassist sporting huge flares and barrelling through a cover without much due care and attention. Only Les even has tartan on, and that's on his shirt. There's a weird bit where a triangle appears at the top of a long shot of the stage with close-ups of the band members' heads as they work through the break. The orchestra adds an unwarranted triumphalist tone.
Kiki Dee – Loving And Free
How come Jimmy always gets the nurses on? It's established he does a lot of charity work, but that's no excuse to keep dragging on, as here, five ladies from Stoke Mandeville. If ever there was a time we needed orange overalls and awkward dancing it's now as Kiki and her fringe sits on a high stool and sings a light acoustic ballad that reeks of Two Ronnies middle bit.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band – Blinded By The Light
Same as last week. You'd better get used to this song. Oh yeah, IT'S NOT DOUCHE.
ABBA – Dancing Queen
Now Jimmy's surrounded by every female in the audience, some of whom are even listening. Presumably they still hadn't found a full broadcastable version of the video as this is a performance from something called ABBA In Australia (the whole thing is on YouTube). In a triumph of 1976 editing Jimmy is intercut to say goodbye before the end of the first verse and over the start of the chorus rather than a sensible point, given the whole clip goes on to be shown. It's not like people really knew it then as well as we know it now, after all. Costume is credited to 'Nicholas Rocker', who is a man that exists and has a costuming iMDB credit, but it seems presumptious to call that a costume, more something nicked from an athletics store cupboard.