I’ve written elsewhere about the 1973 TOTP Christmas Special, but the year’s other festive TOTP offering was a curious beast. Marking (a few days early) the programme’s tenth anniversary, it welcomed back some of the stars of yesteryear to perform their greatest hits.
Alas, the special nature of the programme meant that Jimmy Savile was wheeled on to present.
On a more positive note, it’s nice to see the old chart rundown board in the studio and between songs there’s a generous selection of archive clippage which attempts to educate the younger pop fan about the last ten years of musical history.
As for the old faces, it’s fair to say that they’re something of a rum lot. Without being too unkind, some are rather second division fare (presumably the top bands and singers were all washing their hair on the night of recording). Still, let’s put our best foot forward.
First up are The Bachelors singing I Believe. Nattily attired in matching jackets and dicky bows, they certainly wring every drop of emotion out of this song (the TOTP orchestra goes for broke as well).
Jonathan King (with Everyone’s Gone To The Moon) is the next turn. Hey ho. See what I mean about second division status?
Things pick up with a shoeless Sandie Shaw urging us to Long Live Love. Like the other heritage acts, she’s singing live and does pretty well (the youthful audience certainly seems to enjoy her performance).
A long-haired Tremeloes belt out Silence Is Golden (they can still hit the high notes quite comfortably). There’s then a bit of light relief as Pan’s People dance to Spirit In The Sky.
The programme pads out its running time by including a few old performances from previous shows (featuring The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and David Bowie). After this slightly flat interlude there’s still time for a storming finale as Wizzard (Ball Park Incident) arrive to throw several kitchen sinks into their performance.
Overall this one’s a bit of a curio then, but it’s worth remembering that although the old pop clips might seem familiar now, back then I’m sure it would have been a real treat to see them. A shame that a few bigger names couldn’t have been tempted to appear, but there’s worse ways to spend 50 minutes.