As previously mentioned, eight shows from the second half of 1976 are missing from the BBC archive, which is why we're getting these Sky At Night breaks once a month so we all hit Christmas together. But what was on these shows? Playlists survive, and with those we can all fill in the gaps with linkage and speculation. In this Saville-fronted week, then...
Hello – Love Stealer
Don't you sometimes wish Noel or Diddy would walk on and straight off like that German host does? Another in that thankfully now broken but still bitty run of show openers that never chart, odd given they'd had a top 10 single at the end of 1975, but disturbing stomping glam was on its way out by mid-1976. I mean, look at that stare, slightly brought down by the underwritten and overlong phone break. Hope that involved the borrowing of a trimphone at TV Centre. (EDIT: it was in the public domain all along! See the comments for YouTube link)
Liverpool Express – You Are My Love
Of solarised sub-10cc fame. We hear that after its first showing it made possibly the biggest leap up the download charts of any song so far shown in this re-run. Does that prove anything? Not sure.
Dr Hook – A Little Bit More
The tremendously hairy and homoerotic video will be shown in a future week, but this sappy FM ballad got the Ruby Flipper treatment. We're picturing Lulu, Cherry, Gavin and Philip slow dancing in fake moonlight.
The Manhattans – Kiss And Say Goodbye
Despite reaching number four this is the only TOTP appearance for this big heartbreak ballad by the standard issue singer plus four blokes adept at turning in a circle soul group lineup.
T-Rex – I Love To Boogie
Not the same performance as two weeks earlier but I doubt Marc looked much better.
One Hundred Ton And A Feather – It Only Takes A Minute
A Ruby Flipper moment, a solo Lulu in fact, which is presumably what's overlaid at the start of the later studio appearance. As those who saw the TV Hell video post a couple of weeks ago will know the artist was ostensibly secret (though actually wasn't, as will be discussed come the time) and would turn up to perform in the studio the show after next. What will BBC4 do? Stay tuned.
Bill Oddie & The Superspike Squad With John Cleese – Superspike
Oh, nothing here.
Hot ChoNO, NO, HANG ON! It's Britain's foremost ornithological funkateer! Having been Britain's fourth most successful songwriter in 1975 the Goodies' hits suddenly dried up but Bill still felt a need to get on the one somehow and got the opportunity with an Olympics tie-in fundraiser for the International Athlete's Club, whatever that is. Cleese acted as commentator, Oddie as a running shoe with sentience. It didn't chart. You know what makes this show's loss all the more unfortunate? They showed the video, which apparently featured cameos from the top athletes of the day. Imagine how much of a modern talking point this could have been. Who cares about those Doctor bloody Whos when this has gone missing from the BBC archives?
Hot Chocolate – Man To Man
What a letdown this might have felt. With string interjections and toytown organ there were plenty of opportunities for the BBC orchestra to get the arrangement hideously wrong, and with spoken sections chances for Errol to look overbearing.
Our Kid – You Just Might See Me Cry
Pre-pubescent junior showtime, as seen before.
Don Williams – I Recall A Gypsy Woman
Britain liked its country in mid-1976, didn't it?
The Shangri-Las – Leader Of The Pack
Ruby Flipper, and you can probably see in your mind's eye what this might have been like.
The Real Thing – You To Me Are Everything
The Amoos and friends raid another dressing up box to mark the second of **SPOILER** three weeks at number one.