Saturday, 14 May 2011

Retro Blast - May 1976

I presume I don't need to tell you fellow retro junkies that BBC Four is currently screening vintage episodes of "Top of the Pops" roughly 40 years after their original Thursday night broadcast. As such this week saw them screen the debut of dance troupe Ruby Flipper - the little remembered bridge between Pans People and Legs & Co, featuring not only members of both but (shock horror!) three male dancers. Despite this far-sighted intro they only lasted until October, with the press and sixth floor suits giving the thumbs down to a mixed-sex, mixed race option. Suffice to say Floyd left to join Hot Gossip and TOTP itself retired Legs & Co in late 1981 for another mixed sex, mixed race replacement - Zoo.

"S_S_S_Single Bed" by Fox climbs to no4

My Resistance is Low

And from the very same TOTP here's Sir Cliff's classic "Devil Woman" at no24

As recently covered by "Glee" in an episode of the same name, a new entry at 29 is the Wings original of "Silly Love Songs"

and just one place behind is Gladys Knight & The Pips with a three year old track, "Midnight Train to Georgia"

Friday, 13 May 2011

Meat to Please You - Steve Bergey - ADULTS ONLY!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Meat to Please You - Cole Steets - ADULTS ONLY!

Not entirely sure what country or studio this set hails from

Monday, 9 May 2011

BBC4 Tribute to Lis Sladen - tonight 7.40pm

Having had a TV tribute tailored to Sarah Jane Smith's second generation of fans on CBBC, BBC Four fulfils the remit for those of us in the first wave.

They have chosen Sarah's departure story "The Hand of Fear", first screened in October 1976, which specifically showcases the character.

Dan Martin in "The Guardian" today explains why he thinks this a fitting story as a tribute to Lis Sladen

It is showing in 2 parts - episodes 1&2 from 7.40pm tonight, and episodes 3&4 tomorrow in the same slot.

This also seems an apt opportunity to post Babelcolour's heartbreaking video compilation of Sarah-Jane's finest hours from both "Doctor Who" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures".

Have a hanky handy.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Meat to Please You - Jimmy - ADULTS ONLY!

Retro Blast - May 1984

And so I thought I'd start up a new run of Retro Blasts, just when you were least expecting it. Hoping to make it a 13 week run until the end of July but that is merely an aspiration. I have pencilled in various time travels between 1968 and 2005.

This weekend we start with May 1984. Two months into the miners' strike I remember a fraught day at work on the 9th when a "Day of Action" by various unions had been called in support. I worked at Rosyth Dockyard then, though had only been there 6 months and was a wimpy 19 year old. Though I had been present at the outdoor vote to decided whether the entire workforce would go on strike in support, I'd voted against as I felt it was nothing to do with us and was not keen on the way the vote had been unusually staged so as to intimidate. So I went in on that day and had to run a gauntlet of spitting, swearing and being called a scab - luckily from inside a car on that day - and being scared to leave and suffer it again. I still think I was right - and in July 1986 I joined the local union commitee, staying involved until the mid 90s even after my move to London.

Anyway to fluffier things...

Causing two of the hit singles in this week's chart (see below) was the film "Footloose", starring Kevin Bacon. Playing contrary to his later film roles he was a pin-up dance star in this. The picture here should show why. I always saw it as the male answer to Flashdance the previous year.

It has since been made into a theatrical musical and a remake film is in the works.

On TV - US pace - this week saw the climax of the fourth season of "Dynasty". As with "Dallas" it was not the most memorable of climaxes, save for the departure of Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon. I remember the arrival of Diahann Carroll as 'black bitch' Dominique Devereux in the last two eps (later revealed as the half-sister of Blake Carrington, but generally wasted after an intial impact). Here is that arrival scene, with Joan Collins as Alexis.

Starting this week on UK TV was the second and final series of "The Young Ones". Opening episode on the 8th was "Bambi", where there was an infamous and star-studded send-up of "University Challenge". Motorhead performed "Ace of Spades" as the musical guests that week.

Who could have thunk that 25 years later a main star from "Dynasty" would beat a main star from "The Young Ones" in a kitchen based reality show?

In the UK singles chart Duran Duran were victors with "The Reflex" at no1.

At no3 though was Queen with one of their campest songs and a video that mixes ballet with Coronation Street ...

And here are those two tracks from "Footloose". First off, at no9 is Kenny Loggins with the title track...

... and at no18 is Deniece Williams with "Let's Hear it for the Boy". As with the above, this is the (rather bromancey) sequence from the film rather than the promo video.

Another song from the film, Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero" eventually became a hit here in the summer of 1985 on the back of it's use as the theme of the US TV series "Cover Up"

In what was to be a summer of HiNRG hits, Hazell Dean cracks the top 40 at no40 with "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man)" - here seen a little later on "Top of The Pops" ..

Also this week was the death of Diana Dors, the debut of "Surprise, Surprise" on ITV and the Queen officially opened the Thames Barrier.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Lusty Month of May

Some might appreciate this from the film version of "Camelot" (Vanessa Redgrave lead vocal)

Yet some might appreciate this more (Julie Andrews lead vocal) #Merlin

Doctor Who - Day of the Moon - further thoughts


I don't neccesarily intend to give reviews of individual episodes as experience proves I can't normally keep it up. However, as the conclusion (of sorts) to "The Impossible Astronaut" which I pontificated on last weekend I feel I must rate this one.

Overall, this was a very slight disappointment, dropping down a gear from the opening episode and from its own non-sequiter pre-credits 'triple jeopardy' where Amy, Rory and River all appear to be executed at the hands of Canton's FBI squad . It still had a deal of tension and scares, but often squanders them with the abrupt changes in tone. Notably, River's skyscraper plunge is negated by a jokey splash into the TARDIS swimming pool and soon she and a fresh-out-of-a-body-bag Rory are campy escorts to President Nixon in full 1969 drag as they spring the Doctor from NASA.

I must say, as I forgot to last week, that River and Rory are a great team, if not the official one. The acting of Alex and Arthur is really excellent with both handling humour and heartache with equal aplomb. Arthur this week had ample time to emote as hard-done by Rory again had reason to believe his wife thought him second best to her Doctor. He also picked up the enigma of Rory remembering his 2000 years as the Auton-built Lone Centurion - I'm sure the already revealed return of this character (meeting the Cybermen) is being foreshadowed here. Of course this could merely be a flashback to the early days of the Pandorica Alliance.

There was a notable difference treatment in this episode over the threat and effect of the Silents. Apart from the creepy orphanage scenes, complete with a nest of 'sleeping' Silents hanging bat-like from the roof they were treated much more casually, notably admitting they had no need for weapons. This, added to their stumbling gait and need to 'charge up' to attack, diminished their threat factor. And ultimately the Doctor was able to stitch them up with their own powers televised for posterity. This seemed a clumsy resolution at first, but rather clever when I thought it through. Conversely though, the audience were directly given a dose of the Silents memory-wipe by deliberately missing bits out of the narrative, giving us all the disorientation felt by the characters. Some might say they had been disoriented enough by these two episodes of course!

Possibly what will piss off casual viewers most was the many threads left hanging, though I never expected anything except the central plot to be properly resolved. If anything this episode muddied the waters further - neither Amy nor the TARDIS scanner can really tell if she's actually pregnant and she finds a photo of her and the strange little girl in the latter's room in 1969. She also briefly saw an eyepatched woman peer from a window that apparently didn't exist - because of casting, that one I know is going somewhere later, but enough spoilers.

And then the most WTF! moment came as a 'six months later' epilogue when we see the girl in a bad state, but OK with it ... because she then regenerates! I did wonder if this bit was on preview screenings, as this came completely from leftfield. Another Moff triumph that! There's now a whole range of buffet options on the speculation table, led by the assertion that the girl is River, who in turn is Amy's daughter. Oh and kudos to the author for another kick in the gonads to the (so easily baitable) 'gay agenda' haterz re Canton's still very prescient aspiration.

As previously mentioned though, this was a bit of a notch down on the last episode. A couple of things that bugged me specifically:

1) what led to the opening sequence of Amy, Rory and River seperately on the run? What 's the story with Canton and his double-dealing? And why have Amy and Rory not changed clothes in 3 months - considering the accumulated tally marks they haven't washed in that time either. At least River is changing outfits! Doesn't bear much thinking about and does detract from realism for me. Amy must really like that redplaid shirt too - she's got it on again next episode even though she was latterly in a different outfit entirely. The non-sequiter opening also robbed us of a proper explanation of how last week's cliffhanger panned out, though Amy's shot missing the girl was briefly touched on.

2) The spacesuit. OK, this may eventually be addressed, but should have been explained as far as the Silents plans were concerned. I just couldn't work out why they needed a spacesuit and had to make mankind go all the way to the moon for it. Especially as it seems to be more than a spacesuit, able to repair itself and have an exo-skeleton for its child occupant. We really don't know who was using who and where the Silents are from - could they be Earth-native? Again, I know we haven't seen the last of them, so I hope more answers are forthcoming - this part of things just confused and frustrated me, more so as they are not the first race or being in "Doctor Who" who claim to have influenced the development on mankind since ancient times.

Screengrabs from Doctor Who Caps

Great Royal Wedding Compliation - "Happy Heart"

I am neither royalist or republican particularly, but did watch most of last Friday's hitching of William & Kate on telly, even if I lost interest in the overly religious bits. The piece below was used by the BBC at the close of their main coverage just before 4pm, thus missing that stylish Palace exit by Aston Martin (pictured above). Very well put together and unstuffy overview, especially in the use of movement.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain


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