Thursday, 26 April 2018

Top of the Top of The Pops

Put out the bunting, take to the streets and cheer for tonight's 1985 edition of Top of the Pops on BBC4 is one fronted by John Peel and Janice Long.

Whilst I'll hazard a guess that no one ever really tuned in to Top of the Pops for the presenters, I like to think it was always a relief to see the topmost of the stable of DJ's, the creme de la creme of the presenting team, front the show. With Peel and Long, you are always in safe hands - two DJ's who were actually in possession of a personality and a sense of humour. Not for them the wince-inducing attempts at chemistry, charisma and wit that so many other Radio 1 DJ's showcased on Top of the Pops.  No, Peel and Long (along with Peel's regular partner Kid Jenson, before her) managed to amuse and entertain you whilst at the same time looking like they may have actually listened to some of the songs they were introducing.

Here's a run down of some of the worst Radio 1 DJ's who graced Top of the Pops from around that time that you're likely to see on BBC4 (ie those who haven't been found guilty of touching up young girls and those who have agreed to have their appearances repeated) To get into the mood, you might want to play Phil Lynott's TOTP theme Yellow Pearl as you read through this chart rundown:

Simon Bates

Was it just me or, when hosting Top of the Pops, did Simon Bates always have the air of a headmaster attempting to put on a genial face when confronted with the end of term school disco? 

Richard Skinner

Apart from his horrible dress sense, I didn't have much of a problem with Skinner until a recent episode where he started making 'wasn't that a load of old weird rubbish?' faces after Bowie's Loving The Alien video. Much later, on his show Sounds of the Suburbs, John Peel revealed that Skinner was going out with Sheena Easton in the '80s. The mind boggles.

Gary Davies

Or 'Ooh Gary Davies' as he was then known on account of his alleged pin up status for Radio 1 listeners. I fail to see it myself. Watch Davies deliver a link on TOTP and see how eerily dead-eyed he is. In a recent episode he disgraced himself by saying that his co-host the black DJ Dixie Peach was the only Radio 1 DJ with a better suntan than his own. There's a lot of those 'did I just hear right?' moments from 1980s TOTP, including one staggering one from last week's repeat provided by....

Steve Wright

I cannot tell you how much I hate this bloke. Here is a man who has been doing the same radio show, in the same slot, day in day out for three decades now with no sign of anyone recognising how irritating and dated it actually is. He must be a freemason, right? But no matter how dreadful Wright is on the radio, it's nothing compared to his irritating presence on TOTP. He seems constantly amused with himself, giggling away and shaking his head whilst co-presenters make their way through links. He has a series of irritating hand gestures that rival Mike 'pointy finger' Read and he has zero taste in music or sense of what makes a good song. Witness his claim that Nik Kershaw's Human Racing is the best single Kershaw made...which actually went on to become his lowest performing single. Or the time he freely admitted in his link to Billy Bragg's seminal Between The Wars had taken him three or four listens to understand. Worst of all was his introduction to Madonna's Get Into The Groove video on last week's repeat in which he called the singer 'everyone's favourite sleazebag' Again, another 'did I just hear right?' moment from '80s TOTP

But the absolute worst TOTP presenter from this period just has to be...

Mike Read

'Nuff said really, right?

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