In the last post I mentioned in passing the shows from early 1976, and presumably some must be wondering why the repeat run began in April. Actually it's not too illogical, or at least not as illogical as the archival procedure - of the first 13 shows of the year seven are missing, three more only exist because of offline recordings David Hamilton found in his archive and had restored very recently, and reputedly one was rescued by a member of one of the bands, and in those four cases it's not generally known whether the full thing is in broadcast quality.
However episode guides survive, and so to take this opportunity to square the year's circle here's a rundown of what went on earlier than BBC4 have been able to let on in that year...
Actually we can prove this is one of those that survived all along because most of it is on YouTube - part one, part two and part, um, four. The missing element is Abba, oddly, given TOTP recordings of plenty of their other appearances survive and this was just the video. As Jim says several hundred times throughout the nature of the date allows them to give three new bands their TV debuts, Slik being the one that we'd hear more of (and by the way, pop onto Spotify if you can and check out the Best Of Slik that's recently appeared, in particular The Kid's A Punk B-side Slik Shuffle, Midge's own Van McCoy rewrite) Difficult even now to find out more about boogie merchants Bo Flyers apart from the way they made the set worryingly wobble, while Glyder (which, having fallen victim to the Abba censor, can be seen on its own here) surely had too many members for comfortable touring. Two acoustic guitars, bass, electric guitar and mandolin, plus inaudible sax? Come on. If only Billy Howard's King Of The Cops had appeared a bit later in the year, we'd talk about nothing else for weeks. Am I supposed to know who the woman in the elaborate shades is?
This one exists too and is on YouTube in bitty pieces - this is where that Itchycoo Park comes from, while also around are Tony Christie, R&J Stone (We Do It, from the advert - and to think people who worked on that TOTP2 got paid) and ELO. Also featuring Sailor on their way to number two with Glass Of Champagne, a debut by our old badly dressed friends Sheer Elegance, Barbara Dickson, a bit more of the Bohemian Rhapsody video and Osibisa's Sunshine Day, which we can only hope looked like their Supersonic performance.
Abba are in the studio, it says here. Apparently it isn't the same as the studio recording for the Christmas show, so that's one short cut ruled out. Also popping by were Mike Oldfield, 10cc (Art For Art's Sake) and the Walker Brothers (No Regrets), while Pan's People did their thing to Barry White's Let The Music Play and the Fatback Band's Do The Bus Stop. What, just stand there?
David Hamilton's debut, and of course that means this show exists. Somewhere. He gets a lot of repeats and repeat visits, Slik now at number 12, plus Smokie and Pan's People doing Paul Davidson's Midnight Rider. Bohemian Rhapsody still number one...
...but not any more! Mamma Mia takes over in a show in which Pan's gets not only December '63 (Oh What A Night) but also, erm, Baby Face by Wing And A Prayer Fife And Drum Corps, which sounds like some sort of marching band equivalent of the Portsmouth Sinfonia but was in fact a studio disco outfit put together by the current musical director on Dancing With The Stars covering a 1926 standard. Kiki Dee pops in to rest her legs too, Cliff Richard and The Sweet debut new songs (Cliff's is Miss You Nights, Sweet's was the last we'd hear of them for two years) and the TOTP Orchestra themselves get an increasingly rare appearance on camera to rework Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade, which for some reason was at 26 and would peak at 13.
Slade's unremittingly weak boogie Let's Call It Quits debuts, and for this year they did. One really interesting appearance is by Be Bop Deluxe with Ships In The Night (here on Whistle Test), with Bill Nelson's unshowy guitar heroics one of the chief connectors between prog and art rock. We'll see them again much later.
Found as recently as January this year from a Philips N1500 recording uncovered on eBay. Here's a fragment of it, featuring Dollar-spawning sextet Guys & Dolls. The thing this show is famous for is also online, Lesley Judd joining Pan's People as they take on Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains - the then Blue Peter esconsed Judd had been in a pre-Pops troupe for the Dickie Valentine Show in 1966 alongside Flick, Babs and Dee Dee. Otherwise there's new Marmalade and Billy Ocean plus Slik make number one, but look! The Surprise Sisters! One of the early humour resources of the rerun, they had previously enjoyed a number 38 smash with the Andy Fairweather-Low penned, Tony Visconti produced La Booga Rooga.
After a few weeks of the same old songs on and on again, a good clean wipe this week. The Four Seasons are at number one, while new stuff appears from the Glitter Band, Andy Williams, LJ Johnson, Evelyn Thomas (two Ian Levine discoveries, which doubtless means this wiped show really exists somewhere too), Pluto Shervington, Manhattan Transfer, St Andrews Chorale (who are what their name sounds like, and their Cloud 99 would later in the year be given words and given to Johnny Mathis as When A Child Is Born) and Pan's People dancing to the Who's Squeeze Box.
Again, a David Hamilton week. Having failed to make the Bus Stop a worldwide smash the Fatback Band were back to try (Do The) Spanish Hustle. CW McCall's Convoy gives DLT ideas, Status Quo pop in, Tina Charles' I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance) would go to number one a week later and Pan's People get the Stylistics' Funky Weekend. Two months later a new group of dancers would take on the follow-up for starters.
Paul Burnett's only showing of 1976 just prior to taking over the chart rundown sees Dana, Peters & Lee, disco also-rans The Chequers, Gallagher & Lyle's I Wanna Stay With You and Pan's People Do The Latin Hustle. Also, ahead of Eurovision Brotherhood Of Man showcase the UK entry, so we're getting closer to where we joined in.
But not so close as quite a few songs that you probably wouldn't know now couldn't make an appearance. There's a lesser T-Rex effort, London Boys, plus Mary Hopkin's shortlived comeback, Chris White, someone called Rainbow Cottage and Pan's get Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes.
Be Bop Deluxe get repeated fully six weeks after Ships In The Night's first appearance, plus Randy Edelman's version of Concrete And Clay, John Miles gets to go on about Music at length for the first time, David Essex and the Eagles somehow get danced to.
The Save Your Kisses For Me reign of terror begins plus The Miracles' Night Life, the Tommy version of Elton John's Pinball Wizard, the ever willing Hot Chocolate and Yesterday is given to Flick and her girls. See, even Diddy knows who we're most interested in. And by 1:13-1:20, so does the director.