"Time to come alive with some hit music and jive!" You have to give Kid Jensen this credit, without resorting to props or idiocy he comes up with something new to open every show. There is, however and sad to say, little jive about the show. Just in time for their final week in the top 30 the show has updated its Rubettes picture, the old five piece in the caps and suits gone in favour of what looks more like the cast of a dropped after one series northern based down at heel ITV detective series, except for the one wearing a pilot's uniform with cap.
Dead End Kids – Have I The Right
We also get a first look at their chart rundown photo this week, which is an awkward pose chiefly for Robbie Gray pointing at us with one index finger and the bandmate his chin is resting on the shoulder of with the other. It's a several tiered performance space this week with the guitarist pulling some classic rock poses unbecoming his band's style. Gray has his braces on as before and his tubular bells in place, but he's playing them far too casually and misses the last one, or at least the last hit before he's supposed to break off. Meanwhile one camera pull-in shot from behind the drummer not only exposes how few people are there but also gives the cameraman opposite a clear focus, as well as... is that some sort of boxing ring set up behind him? Hey, maybe they'll be using that later or something.
Deniece Williams – Free
Kid makes great play of the fact there's two clips from the venerable Soul Train on the show this week, maybe something he shouldn't have promoted too much given it shows up the paucity of new songs in the studio, and for that matter the classy simplicity of the Soul Train studio, a bare wall, a lit performer, an ostentatiously branded glitterball and an audience who seem into it. Plus not even Billy Ocean would think of pulling off a light blue dress liberally equipped with sequins and matching skull cap. As for an in-house dance troupe, theirs are pushed off to the sides and unselfconscious, one couple hand in hand, certainly nothing planned out. And it's the original recording being used as backing. No wonder Johnny Pearson's boys were often made out to be a culture shock to Pops visitors.
Showaddywaddy – When
Speaking of which, from sleek sophisticated soul we emerge quickly and sharply enough to lead to a nasty case of the bends in the synesthesiac shape of a set of brightly coloured jackets, a honking sax and some comically boss-eyed bass vocal interjections. There's something very pinch mouthed about Dave Bartram's face when singing, isn't there?
Elkie Brooks – Pearl's A Singer
Described by Kid as "a regular joint", one he's been playing on his Saturday morning radio show at that, the set designers are determined to add some class to the joint to go with the bands' suits and Elkie's swish dress, this time with a big plastic tree behind the piano player - who, for the record, looks a bit like John Lennon during the bed-in, in the same way the guitarist looks a bit like Denis Law and the drummer looks more than a bit like Kevin Godley. As before, when required the Ladybirds appear and disappear on requirement.
Cliff Richard – My Kinda Life
"This face really needs no introduction" indeed. You'd think Cliff would be readily available when he had a hit around but this seems to be the same performance as last time, complete with opening lively disco lights, hopeful bopping and break air guitar.
The Manhattans – It's You
After a fade edit that proves it's not just BBC4 who can be cackhanded at that sort of thing, it's another well drilled soul outfit, this time with backup singers indulging in a lot of pointing. One to the left, then once to the right, always over everyone's heads for that less than personal touch. Not quite sure how to approach this, the middle youth sections of the audience, who by today's standards look about 35, try to look enthusiastic by shifting from side to side indifferently.
Maxine Nightingale – Love Hit Me
And so Legs & Co are in a mock ring in singlets and shorts - with their names on the right cheek! Surely meant for single use, those - with boxing gloves on. It's another Flick Colby literalism triumph. And it is a triumph, partly because it's not complex dresses and moving round in circles again, but because while no sparring move or comedy punched face - aye aye, Lulu - is left spare it's lovingly worked out. And let's face it, where thrown punches are involved the timing has to be pretty good. Eventually Lulu knocks everyone out in turn - Rosie sells it best, but Patti's side grin to camera immediately before being KO'd is a winner - then celebrates before turning to find Gill waiting with a decisive right 'ander. As everyone gets back up and boogies to an unsatisfactory general climax the camera shot pulling away reveals that of all the people gathered around Kid, young, old, male, female, the only one watching the routine is a bald middle aged man. Ah, walking cliche.
O.C. Smith – Together
Back to the Soul Mass Transit System and Smith, in a brown suit from the remainders at Debenhams, completely missing miming his spoken first line until after it's been and gone. He doesn't get a lot better at it, especially when joined by an invisible female singer. Maybe it's Barbra Dickson. After that it's Kid's call to duty in the new Short Awkward Chat Before The Number One, this week Elkie Brooks making sure to call Kid "Kid".
ABBA – Knowing Me Knowing You
Kid describes this to Elkie as being in "a position we'd all like to see you in in a few weeks' time", a phrase loaded with double meaning. Elkie at least remembers what it's called, unlike some people, and accompanies it with a local radio DJ point at camera. Kid adds it's "week number two for week number one. Number one. Or something." Retake, surely? Video again, Smokie to end, and between Kid gets his own catchphrase wrong. "From me it's good love, have a great week". Goodbye and good love, Kid! *Goodbye* and good love! Tch.