Courtesy of Google's scans of the Glasgow Herald archives, that night's BBC1 at a glance...
In fact it comes out at a sneaky 27 minutes, which means we've just about lost another likely non-charting single of forgotten rubbish oddness. Gnh.
"There's only one way to introduce this week's TOTP - and this is it". It may be a shortened programme full of repeats, but Noel's going to bring out all the stylistic big guns we've become accustomed to nonetheless.
T-Connection – Do What You Wanna Do
Kicking off with a video is a surefire way of showing there's not much going on this week, or that someone pulled out late. A really ropey quality performance video clip, as if they'd prefigured the cabling running the floor of the Atlantic by dragging the reel to reel along the sea bed on the way across, mostly featuring an overhead shot of the singer at the keyboard wearing a bright yellow tabard with some sort of flower-cog design on. But never mind that, as just 25 seconds in... Toppotron™ time! And what a motley crew of uncomfortable dancers we have in tonight, ranging from a couple on a raised platform who have the swing and the moves to a man in a grey jumper lively pacing three steps into the bulk of the throng, then three steps back, then repeat. TV studio, wedding reception, all the same. The girls swing their bobs prettily. The boys either fancy themselves in their stylish white jackets or look like they need an urgent piss. One girl has brought her autograph book with her and is clutching it for dear life. Just a minute and a half in - maybe the end was damaged by rocks or covered in seaweed - Noel wanders on, and either it's a massive con with green screen and last week's crowd or he's oddly lit from above. "Born with a teaspoon in their mouths" is his first attempt at redefining the presentational art.
Gladys Knight & The Pips – Baby Don't Change Your Mind
"Three new entries in the charts this week - well, four altogether but three in tonight's programme". Sounds like he's actually over-read the script. They've still not learnt how to wear orange headphones properly.
John Miles – Slow Down
Not a repeat! So there was life in TVC that week. Miles still has his luxuriant tache, embellished with Les Gray shades this week, and can play the talkbox a little better even though he can't remember to start using it at the right moment, but his band have made up for it with a variety of bad fashions. The keyboard player in his wing-collared shiny catsuit open to the navel because he thinks it makes him resemble Travolta makes a good effort, but the drummer in green PE kit (and no shoes) takes the prize for not thinking through how he's going to look. Noel commends the "unbelievable" pace before allowing us to scratch another off the bingo card with a failed prediction. "It's got to have number one written all over it" he suggests. Well, it's closer than most of them.
Jesse Green – Come With Me
Or Jess, as Noel renames him. As the kids literally scarper from the marauding camera that keeps changing its angle, maybe through people getting their own back, we see Green has gone for the page of the style booklet titled 'international man of leisure'. Shades with lenses that awkwardly reflect the studio lights, tight afro, thin and very neat long moustache with mere hint of before its time goatee, black shirt with top three buttons undone, pristine white suit. Quite the smoothie.
Queen – Good Old Fashioned Loverboy
Well, they're not going to turn up twice, are they. "For some reason I always want him to say 'give us a kiss' at the end of that" Noel muses. Your fantasies about the flirting habits of the manly Freddie Mercury, Noel, are yours to keep.
Cliff Richard – When Two Worlds Drift Apart
Noel's been chatting to Cliff. "He says if it's not a hit, it'll be a miss with style. I reckon he's got style, I reckon it'll be a hit. Otherwise I wouldn't have chosen it as my record of the week." Two in one! Inaccurate prediction - it peaked at 46 - and record of the week humble brag. No, wait, the song is "what happens when two worlds drift apart", so he's described the title too. The song seems an anticlimax now. It seems an anticlimax while it's progressing too, a stately piano ballad. Cliff in his powder blue suit, promotional badge for own album and two medallions can at least attempt to pull this descriptively emotive vocal style off, but the Ladybirds, around one mike and two in Carole Bayer Sager tribute outfits, cawing almost over him in a slightly different key don't help.
The Detroit Emeralds – Feel The Need In Me
"And when twelve legs get together with a few other bits..." Just eight months after they joined our happy dancing band Gill and Rosie get their own showcase (though there is evidence to suggest a previous wiped show featured those two alone), dancing alone but likewise in a three-way split screen with the other four in the middle doing a supplementary joint routine. All six are outfitted in a curious mesh of little black dress, flapper style - feather in the hair, sequins, outfit cut to the thigh - and glamorous widow at funeral, some sort of lacey mesh attached to the back. The pair must be across a soundstage from each other as they switch all the time from grinning enjoyment to concerned glances across, as it's never entirely clear whether they're supposed to be in sync. "It's Patti's birthday, and we'll be having a birthday patty for her after" Noel challenges syntax. Actually it was her birthday (a lady never reveals her age. I'm not a lady. 27.) the day of recording, but with link time short Noel probably had enough on his mind, unlikely as that seems.
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Fanfare For The Common Man
Still snowed out. That gong never gets used.
Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again
"Rather appropriate to have a fanfare before the number one sound, and men don't come more common than this lot". Ah, Noel. A smile, a quip, an insult. Errol, who's even more stationary than usual, affects not to notice. Obviously. A comedy rolling xylophone trill seems to have been added to the chorus by the orchestra, as well as some parping trombones. Noel, after commending their "phenomenal rush to the top", introduces as the playout "Ma Boney". Frank Farian's wife?
We'll have to be going some to make it past fifty comments this week.