"As a dance group, Pan’s People have always had ‘something to say’. And this, I hope, shows in our dancing." (Flick Colby, Top Of The Pops Annual 1974)
So while there was clearly no need for the BBC to mention it at the time or anything, Pan's People ended eight years of Pops service at the end of April 1974. The idea of an in-house dance troupe is very much a hangover from 1960s letting it all hang out extravaganzas from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In downwards, with a hefty dose of British variety tradition of giving it a go - most of the more literal interpretations were such because Colby was only given a few hours to drill the girls in their moves. That kind of making do and mending is what led to a good amount of the classic Pan's People routines - Get Down, Monster Mash, all those.
The rest of them are when they weren't wearing much clothing and, y'know, home masturbation. Sorry, had to be said.
With all that ungainfully in mind, here's five belters of little regarded routines of theirs we found where the choreography is basically being interpreted on the hoof.
Fan service first, as the 1975 Christmas Top Of The Pops calls upon the girls to enact both the depths of the season and the sunkissed nature of reggae (admittedly reggae in the Paul Nicholas sense - hey, maybe this is what he meant all along). Typically Tropical were, by the way, two white men from north London.
From the same show, DLT does his act before the girls become intergalactic air traffic controllers to Space Oddity. That the following year saw Bowie retreat from pop commerciality Station To Station's release is perhaps not coincidental.
Sly And The Family Stone's Runnin' Away is on There's A Riot Goin' On, an album famously recorded in the depths of Sly's darkest urges, even sounding burnt out as a result of Sly's compulsive overdubbing. To a TOTP audience, this is reflected in prancing round a department store. The pointing at big shoes bit especially get across the message of the death of the Sixties liberation dream.
"Philadelphia? Why, that's in America, and they have majorettes there, so..." Wonder if those specific flags have any greater meaning.
And some quintessential Flick uncertainty - Pan's Labyrinthine, if you will - as CSO makes a break for the border and Papa Was A Rollin' Stone finds handclaps becoming its major instrument. Look at her, she really understands that sentiment.