Top of the Pops 2, Bad Hair Jokes and Seventies Poo.

As a TV peruser, which oddly sounds like some kind of voyeuristic, cringe hungry pervert (not far off), I’ll admit I love a bit of Top of the Pops 2.

For anyone unfamiliar, Top of the Pops 2 is basically a programme where classic performances from the BBC archives in the past 50 years are shown. These are performances from the old chart show Top of the Pops and to me they’re like a glimpse into another world, an unfamiliar one that smells funny. Akin to when someone is close to you on public transport and you can smell their clothes.

Some of the more memorable odours during this socially agonising situation have included: Urine, fart, wet dog, cats, fried food, mould, putrid flowers and digestive biscuits.

Performances on TOTP2 are mostly bands and singers crooning on a stage while surrounded by excitable youths dancing. The emergence of ‘The Teenager’ as a ‘thing’ particularly during the 60’s and 70’s makes for some amazing crowd scenes.

We all remember being a teen; the urge to assert your identity, to attract people, to ‘appear cool’. TOTP2 let’s us see all that for a glorious 30, sometimes 60 minutes and it is priceless. You can just imagine the amount of middle aged Mums and Dads seeing themselves on it and cringing beyond belief at their daft young and foolish selves. They work in an office now and vote Conservative, what whimsy, what ridiculousness! Idealism and rock n roll. What a load of rubbish.

Mousey haired kids in their bell bottoms dancing aggressively without much rhythm, ones in a criminal amount of denim stood awkwardly still because they don’t really know what to do with their bodies, girls in mini skirts shaking their tush and winking at Donny Osmond and some in knitwear swaying from side to side with a serious face (they fucking LOVE music, man. All the others here? They’re just teeny boppers and fakers).

Of course the legacy of the programme wasn’t helped upon the discovery that Jimmy Savile (one of the original 70’s/80’s presenters and resident national treasure of the show) was discovered to be a massive paedophile after he died and on all accounts was abusing a lot of the young teenagers that had attended backstage. Repeats of episodes he’d presented now have a voiceover and his announcement of the acts has been lovingly cut out (somewhat noticeable). Same can be said of another presenter, David Lee Travis who was convicted recently posing questions about whether a paedophile ring had been happening at the BBC. Heady days, eh?

The 1970’s/80’s “banter” on it from the presenters does leave me quite cold, however in general. Noel Edmonds and Mike Read for example with their pubey hairstyles and leering eyes ‘mingling’ with the young teenagers with their microphones (fairly reminiscent of a foamy ended dildo) clutched to their chests smugly as they sway like your Dad at a wedding and cheekily wink every 5 minutes only makes me want to get out my pepper spray and rape alarm.

All in all, the show is an enjoyable piece of nostalgia though and another one that can be subject to a ton of childish, juvenile humour.


“LOL That’s the whitest dancing I’ve ever seen!”

“He looks like a sex offender.”

Are a few ridiculous, yet joyous examples.

Another comedy nugget was the dance group ‘Pan’s People’ soon followed by ‘Legs & Co’, now these girls were a big deal back in the old days. Every time an act entered highly into the charts and couldn’t attend, this 70’s/80’s dance troupe put on a dance performance instead, often in skimpy clothes that you can imagine your Grandad and Uncle snickered at while going a bit red. Glittery leotards, skintight crop tops and sometimes an excessive amount of eye makeup and hairspray, back in the day this probably made viewers feel like an erotic sexual adventurer. With their constant cheeky smiles and flexible moves, reminiscent of aerobic classes nowadays at the gym, these girls probably helped lament the female sexual revolution. Of course now they just resemble your Mum as she throws shapes in the kitchen to the radio while cooking chicken kievs, I can empathise with the sentiment though.

But here’s the best bit, here I shall post my Top 10 sinister performances/songs. Ones with more than a hint of ‘sex offender’, ‘creepy uncle/aunt’, ‘cringe’ and/or ‘total weirdos’

Middle of the Road – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.

“Where’s your Mama gone?” she wails. My response “Oh god, you’ve kidnapped me and now you’re going to murder me while demanding I make bird sounds, aren’t you?” I hope this is NEVER played around Kate and Gerry McCann, would make for awfully awkward scenes at a party.

Peter Sarstedt – Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

I know this is a classic. But the porn tash and the stalker lyrics make me unsettled. I’m just going to Tesco, leave me alone. CREEP. I won’t tell you my thoughts, GET OUT OF MY ROOM. STOP SNIFFING MY KNICKERS.

The Goodies – Funky Gibbon

My Mum mentions the Funky Gibbon quite a lot, but the hair and a bunch of men making monkey sounds is too much, too much. Plus they’re dressed like toddlers and probably approaching 40 at least. Disturbing scenes.

Dr. Hook – A Little Bit More

Awful hair, lyrics that are absolutely cringeworthy. It’s like that bloke you drunkenly slept with who you just wish would go home the next morning. Trauma.

The Osmonds – Puppy Love

They probably made your Mum swoon, they were clean cut Mormon boys and they attempted to romance starry eyed young girls everywhere. Their grins almost make you blind, they look like Elvis clones from a cloning laboratory. Plus why is Donny lip syncing to his 11 year old voice?.. odd.

Pan’s People – The Hustle

Ah what a glorious piece of sexy cheese. A bunch of dancing meringues! You can tell Austin Powers would love this shit, it also wouldn’t be out of place on Eurotrash. My Mum still throws moves like these when she hears a bit of bass at the Christmas party.

Meri Wilson – Telephone Man

I have no idea. I just.. I wish I knew.

Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine

Cliff rocks his classic ‘midlife crisis shirt’ and sways like a rubbish Jesus. He’s also tormenting us with a number we can never get away from. Let’s hope those ‘allegations’ are false eh?

Flying Pickets – Only You

Now I’ll admit, I love this song… but do I really need to explain?

Grange Hill Cast – Just Say No

The cast of teen series Grange Hill do a song telling ALL youths to say no to drugs. How delightfully square, what a corny badly made music video… Can you pass me the Heroin? it’s by fruit bowl. Bloody little shits. Although their ‘This is serious’ recording studio faces are a thing of beauty.

This cringey genius may only be a filler in between BBC2 and BBC4’s well planned and better budgeted programmes, but long may it remain.

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About braingristle

Girl. Brain full of whimsy, imagination full of peril.
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