Top of the Pops 2005 Series, BBC2

by | Dec 11, 2005 | All, Reviews

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday

What to say if you liked it

A sparkling reincarnation of the venerable music show which has been reinvigorated by classics from the archives and a more adult-orientated editorial.

What to say of you didn’t like it

An incontinent, elderly relative, exiled from the salubrious abodes of her opulent children, finds a new home in a dingy flat with a leaking roof and irascible nephew.

What was good about it?

• Fearne Cotton and Phill Jupitus were decent hosts. Yes, Fearne does indulge in the moronic teenage vernacular that enrages the soul, but only because her amoral producer is telling her to.

• As the show has been realigned to appeal to those who hate music and only buy CDs to soundtrack a dinner party, the viewing figures should be reasonable as such wraiths probably don’t use, or are unaware of, specialist music channels.

• The Hayseed Dixies, although their performance of rap tune Roses isn’t a patch on their version of Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades.

What was bad about it?

• The whole show is utterly at the capricious whim of the record buying public, who are mostly slugs able only to consume whatever is put in front of them by avaricious record companies. This meant that every song featured was the soulless vacuum you wouldn’t even find in deep space. Elton John features on two songs in the Top 10, indicating the chart is as infirm today as it has been always been over the past 30 years.

• We tuned in to an old edition of TOTP2 to observe if there was any hope for the future in the way classic tracks were chosen. There isn’t. We were pummelled into mental submission by Phil Collins’ Sussudio (which is thankfully too obscene for terrestrial TV

these days), the Nolan Sisters’ I’m In The Mood For Dancing, the Fugees (a hip-hop Status Quo), Paul Nicholas (of Just Good Friends infamy) and the Cure’s awful Lovecats.

• The frequent trailers Fearne kept uttering for “brand new Malcolm In The Middle” afterwards as though TOTP is just a trifling starter for the main course later in the evening.

• The way in which there is a definite shift away from trivial, trashy teen-pop to serious adult orientated rock. While we’re not fans of teen-pop, it is far more preferable than the odious James Blunt. Got a pang in your arthritic knee, flecks of grey hair at the

temples, enduring that first unwanted nocturnal trip to the toilet? All of these are harbingers of death, and an appreciation of the music of James Blunt is another. If you even feel a twinge of delight from this sonorous sop get out a pen and start composing an epitaph to put on your spiritual gravestone; you don’t have much time.

• Bananarama, on the other hand, are the opposites of Blunt. Whereas he is a relatively young man singing decrepit elegies, they are middle-aged women performing shapeless anonymous dance music.

• Charlotte Church and that woman called Indiya or something.

• The trailer for next week was like a comic Nazi Gestapo officer threatening an unbroken French partisan with the next programme of torture in the forms of Texas, McFly and Jeremy Clarkson.

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, August 2005

Best bit: Michael Jackson’s Rockin’ Robin when he was so innocent and could carry off wearing orange

Best bit (2): Ant Music by Adam & The Ants (still love it)

Worst bit: Cheesy disco hit You And Me by Uniting Nations, performed by a grinning ninny who reminded us of Big Brother’s Eugene (minus the charisma) and was accompanied by dancing sexy secretaries (so 1970s).

Worst bit (2): The travesty of Madness doing a reggae-lite version of Kinks classic Lola

Not bad: Natalie Imbruglia (although this latest single isn’t strong enough to be spun off the CD)

Not good: Oasis doing The Importance Of Being Idle (Noel sings. Which is good. This track ain’t); Twisted X featuring Outlaw (screaming kids); El Presidente (screeching Britpop pap); Simon Webbe (no charisma/mimed along to the lyrics eg flicking something off his shoulder/grinned too much); James Blunt (All your friends have bought this record but you haven’t because you’ve got taste. Well done); co-host Christian O’Connell (fish outta water)

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, August 2005

The best bit: Richard Bacon’s very controversial archive picks – Aha’s Take On Me and Kylie & Jason’s Especially For You

The worst bit: James Blunt. Four weeks at number one!!! What’s wrong with you, Mr/Ms Record Buyer? Have you no shame? Surely it can’t be the striptease video that’s got you rushing down your local megastore?

So inoffensively bland they’re offensive: Texas, Jamiroquai, Goldfrapp

Worst hair: Richard Bacon’s stubble

Almost the worst hair: Sharleen Spiteri’s messy mop

Best hip hop record featuring a long list of names: Dreams by The Game

Best act that we really respect even though we’re not really into poppy soul stuff: Lemar

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Monday 15 August 2005

Highlights

• Daniel Powter’s Bad Day. How can we like this and hate James’s Blunt’s Your Beautiful? God knows, but we do. Being fickle, we probably won’t like it for long, but right now we do. So there. We also quite like KT Tunstall. But stand by for further announcements.

• Graham Coxon’s morose, morbid face while playing guitar on Blur’s awful Country House. Apparently, Coxon threatened to leave the band because he hated it so much. We know how he feels we would have gladly left the country to escape that jaunty drivel if it hadn’t spread like a fetid cloud to all four corners of the globe. That said, it was far superior to its rival in the “Battle of Britpop”, Oasis’ soulless Roll With It; a song which makes Layla sound as impassioned as Love Will Tear Us Apart.

• Fran Cosgrave wasn’t the co-presenter. In fact, we’re hiding away from commercial TV these days to avoid that ludicrously incongruent ad featuring Cosgrave. Who would want a lifestyle like his? And why was such a bulbous pustule of mediocrity chosen to front what seems to be an expensive ad campaign? What next, Hitler’s speeches being manipulated to advocate leather jackboots? Vlad the Impaler promoting colonic irrigation?

Lowlights

• Phil Tufnell as co-presenter. The nuclear power of reality TV in that he’s a cheap alternative no matter how much caustic damage he leaves in his wake.

• Akon’s Belly Dancer. Novelty hit naffness.

• James Blunt – the human manifestation of a vacuum. His contrived vocal undulations in You’re Beautiful are like sporadic bleeps on a life support machine that is otherwise mercifully flatlining.

• The trailer for next week’s show which promised “the latest from Girls Aloud”; a five word phrase matched only by “you’ve only six weeks to live” for utter horror. Why not instead exhume five corpses from the Graveyard of Commercial Damnation, paint them crudely with lurid lipstick, half-dress them in vivid primary colours and affix puppet-strings to their arms and legs?

• Supergrass – dying before our very eyes.

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 21 August 2005

We liked: John Legend, one of the few genuine talents to break through this year (although he’s a bit of an awkward performer), Jem (but we fear she may be the female equivalent of James Blunt or, even worse, a New Dido), Super Furry Animals and McFly’s I’ll Be Okay (mainly because it knocked James Blunt off the top)

We disliked: Girls Aloud (slutty), Athlete (sleepy), Ian Brown (slovenly) and Jamiroquai (slimy)

We were furious about: the clumsy editing that took a big chunk out the middle of Elvis Costello’s Oliver’s Army

We were thrilled about: seeing They May Be Giants throwing themselves around the stage in their 1990 appearance doing Birdhouse In Your Soul

We didn’t mind: guest co-host Rufus Hound who looks like a cross between Eddie Izzard and Simon Pegg and is quite amusing.

Top of the Pops, BBC2, Sunday 4 September 2005

Highlights

• Scally Brighton lads The Ordinary Boys. Admittedly they sounded like a poor imitation of The Jam but their energetic sound was a refreshing change from normal chart noise and frontman Preston is seriously hot.

• The welcome vintage footage of Maggie May by Rod Stewart featuring “the late, great” John Peel miming on mandolin. And the archive clip of The Specials.

• The bizarre but brilliant country band Hayseed Dixie and their cover of Green Day’s Holiday. Looked like Meat Loaf, Billy Bob Thornton and one of the Chuckle Brothers pissed in a barn.

• No performances from James Blunt or Daniel Powter. Like waking up from a horrid televisual nightmare that has lasted a month.

• The Pussycat Dolls, America’s latest girl group. Their fantastically sassy – and rather amoral – anthem Don’t Cha confirmed they could be the new Spice Girls, albeit with balls and voices in tune.

• The Carry On lyrics (“I like the sound of your belt dropping, the door locking, you jangle your keys”) in Charlotte “Cleavage” Church’s new single Call My Name.

• This week’s number one, DARE by the Gorillaz. Included a disembodied Shaun Ryder in the video which was nice.

Lowlights

• Phill “Officially Larger Than Dawn French” Jupitus struggling to be funny, forcing Fearne Cotton to crank up that look of forced enthusiasm she’s perfected.

• Jamie Cullum. An offensive hybrid of Jamie Baldwin from Coronation Street and a hotel piano player.

• The fact that Jessica Simpson has managed to turn Nancy Sinatra’s classic These Boots Were Made For Walking into an utter dog’s dinner of a song.

• The sad, inevitable feeling that this British institution of a show is now consigned to the dump, meandering in a graveyard slot with no solid purpose. Despite being re-launched to coincide with Sunday’s brand new Top 40, this edition was full of singles not yet released. Add to this irritating facts about each performer at the bottom of the screen (which have all been reported times before) and we couldn’t help wishing for CD:UK to be on instead.

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 11 September 2005

We loved: Canadians Arcade Fire’s Rebellion – they’re freakier than Scissor Sisters, louder than Scissor Sisters, better than than Scissor Sisters.

We also loved: DOA by the Foo Fighters. Fearne Cotton bigs up just about anyone, but calling Dave Grohl’s band “rock gods” is merited.

We quite liked: Franz Ferdinand (stomping), “university educated” Jem (stylish), Depeche Mode (stuck in the 80s, although the crow’s feet are new), chart-topping Pussycat Dolls (steamy) plus the two archive selections from guest presenter Suggs: David Bowie, in a quilted catsuit, and Ian Dury, in a donkey jacket.

We didn’t like: Push The Button by Sugababes because it sounds like a track Bananarama would have rejected

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 18 September 2005

We loved: Vanessa Brown’s funky, brassy Whirlpool and The Dead 60s’ rocky Riot Radio (they’re cute, too)

We liked: Richard Bacon’s archive pick (Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill); chart-topping Don’t Cha by Pussycat Dolls; Status Quo (Don’t worry. we haven’t gone mad. It’s okay to like the Quo again. And not just because they’re in Corrie)

We disliked: the music that suburbanites listen to en route to the local B&Q on a Saturday morning (ie James Blunt and Mariah Carey, who’s so desperate she’s using a sample from Leee John’s Imagination); Fearne’s archive pick (Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit because it was the version when Kurt Cobain sang like a choirboy in the midst of a voice-breaking nightmare); Sean Paul’s novelty song; Stresiand and (especially) Gibb

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 29 September 2005

Inspired: the choice of Jeremy Bowen as co-host, providing an urbane charm counterpoint to Fearne Cotton’s unrestrained enthusiasm.

Appalling: Jeremy’s archive picks, from the Undertones and Squeeze, were cut horribly short

We liked: Charlotte Church’s basque – she’s perfected that provincial hen party look; Sheryl Crow, Starsailor, Ms Dynamite, although her song about “washing the blood from your hands” is a little serious for our tastes.

We loved: Son Of Dork featuring James from Busted whose Ticket Outta Loserville means that the banging Busted sound lives on.

We disliked: Sugababes at number one; Fearne calling the Happy Mondays “the greatest band of the 90s” and describing their performance of Playground Superstar as “truly brilliant, absolute genius” even though it featured idiot Bez prancing around with maracas.

We hated: Nickelback’s Photograph – the sort of song they play when you’re hanging on the line, waiting to get through to Satan on the Hell Hotline

Top Of The Pops, BBC2

We loved: Hard-Fi’s Living For The Weekend, a reminder of the Britpop heydays of Red Stripe, adidas T-shirts and pills that somehow always made Sunday disappear

We liked: the raw reggae from Damien Marley (could have done without the Bez-like dancer, though); Bon Jovi’s return to rock anthems after all those cowboyish ballads; KT Tunstall (Bonnie Tyler meets Sophie Ellis Bextor); and the song Trippin’ – it is “co-written” by our hero Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy but we thought Robbie’s performance was terribly drab

We disliked: the too-cool-for-their-own good singles by Ricky Martin and Kanye West

Beauty: Debbie Harry doing Denis

Beast: Ian Brown miming Fool’s Gold with deliberate ineptitude

Funniest moment: not the “jokes” of co-host Rufus Hound but the fact that Daniel O’Donnell has a Top 10 album called Teenage Dreams

We hated: the obligatory cries of “thank you, Top Of The Pops” at the end of each performance

We’re tired of: Don’t Cha by Pussycat Dolls, still number one

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 9 October 2005

We loved: Nothing really this week, although nice gentle oases for hungover viewers were provided by Katie Melua with her scientifically innaccurate Nine Million Bicycles and Stephen Fretwell with his sweet song New York. And we quite like Push The Button by Sugababes now, and not just because they kept Robbie Williams off the top

We were angry: that new Top 10 entries by Depeche Mode and Bloc Party weren’t shown; instead we had a rush of corporate mega-acts: Robbie, Mariah, Franz Ferdinand, Rachel Stevens, the late John Lennon

Co-host verdict: Richard Hammond tried too hard to please

Top Of The Pops, Sunday 16 October 2005

Never mind the credibility, we admit we like: Lee Ryan’s Turn The Car Around, which deserved to enter higher than number 12, and Simply red’s Latintastic Perfect Love

We thought: Feeder’s Shattered was another goodie from them; 50 Cent’s Window Shopper sounds dated; Jack Johnson is a great talent and doesn’t need gimmicky backwards videos; Phill Jupitus is a half decent host; Fearne Cotton is getting too creepy; The Jam and Sinead O’Connor were good choices from the archives

We hated: Girls Aloud’s Biology – dreadful song , dreadful performance, not even lifted by gents brandishing canes

Top Of The Pops, Sunday 6 November 2005

Highlights

• Green Day’s nine-minute epic in the car park. The longest ever performance on TOTP and worth every second.

• Goldfrapp (Alison was very shiny and has a touch of the Petula Clarks about her – but the drummer looked like the Michelin Man caught up in a beaded curtain)

• Clips of Dire Straits (it’s okay to like them again) and Suer Furry Animals (will never go out of fashion)

Lowlights

• Anastacia’s tongue-tied, cuecard-clutching, knicker-throwing appearance as guest presenter along with Reggie Yates

• Il Divo’s All My Myself (even though one of them looks like Kevin Bacon and another looks like a dwarf version of Steve Coogan)

• New Sugababes single Ugly (sample lyric: “People are all the same and we only get judged by what we do”)

• Craig David’s Caravan Of Love-like soul balla

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 20 November 2005

Highlights

• Fearne Cotton’s glorious new ginger hair. It certainly makes her look more glamorous but unfortunately as a presenter, she’s still as bearable as nuclear warfare.

• The brilliant Franz Ferdinand and new single Walk Away, a more downbeat affair than previous hit Do You Want To? but equally as memorable. We could have done without the group wearing pretentious sunglasses though.

• Irreverent 1990s rockers EMF and the classic Unbelievable. A fantastically effervescent blast from the past.

• Madonna (Queen of Pop once more) being number one in the album chart (that Children In Need appearance paid off, then) with the turgid Babyshambles stuck at number 10.

• Abba’s Gimme Gimme Gimme from 1979, a classic slice of party disco which inspired….

• …new number one Hung Up by the ubiquitous Mrs Ritchie. Top marks for the song itself, unapologetically pop and shamelessly enjoyable in its sound (as all of the best Madonna songs are) but we’re unimpressed by the Geri Halliwell-meets-Spinning Around video.

Lowlights

• Liberty X covering Shalamar’s A Night To Remember. It’s such a shame to see a group capable of producing music different from standard talent show fodder resorting to covering a song forever associated with “Have you ever been to a Harvester before?” adverts.

• Bizarre MOR diva Anastacia performing yet another song with no melody or purpose other than to showcase her caterwaul. Music made for, and bought by, people who don’t like music.

• The disappointingly anodyne performance of Switch It On from the increasingly camp Will Young.

• Fearne’s catastrophically awful introductions to the acts. Athlete were treated to, “I think the Olympics win in London has made all the difference to this band – they could call themselves Foot Powder or something”.

• Similarly co-host Rufus Hound was as enjoyable to watch as mass leprosy. Responding to Fearne’s observation that Franz Ferdinand were dressed like “cartoon spies”, all he could manage was “hee hee, yes they do look like that”. Also, according to Rufus, Oasis are the greatest British band ever….

• …despite only being able to record incessant sub-Lennon rip-offs like Let There Be Love. Watching Oasis perform on TOTP is like being trapped in a nightmarish déjà vu where the next chord arrangement is exactly the same as the one before.

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 27 November 2005

Highlights

• Juicebox by The Strokes. They are the best rock band in the world right now.

• Pussycat Dolls’ new single Stickwitu. Yes, the title is rubbish but the performance was surprisingly impressive – and a million times better than ghastly Girls Aloud who opened the show

• 50 Cent’s Window Shopper, the Stevie Wonder medley and the Dead 60s’ ska-rred song

Lowlights

• We could just about tolerate Bohemian Rhapsody being edited because we’ve seen it many times before, but to cut off Reward by Teardrop Explodes before its brass-blast climax was a sin.

• Noddy Holder’s screaming

Top Of The Pops, BBC2, Sunday 4 December 2005

Highlights

• Robbie Williams’ Advertising Space. It’s a good song and he won kudos from us for telling the idiots in the audience that they were missing the beat. “The clap’s too quick,” he complained.

• The Darkness’s Knockers, although we prefer it when they’re being a bit camper and kitschier.

• Enya’s Amarantine. We love her. Always will.

• The Pussycat Dolls at number one with Stickwitu. Won extra points for their false eyelashes and their fine sitting-crosslegged-on-a-stool routine.

• Richard Bacon Bap’s understated performance, acting as a counterpoint to Fearne’s fervent fannery.

• David Gray, for his head wobble rather than the lukewarm Hospital Food, Sean Paul, for the nutty dancing girls rather than the lukewarm Ever Blazin’, and Jamie Cullum, for his marvellous hair rather than the mindless Mind Trick.

Lowlights

• The archive clips of Cyndi Lauper and Dido (with Eminem) weren’t gems.

• The fact that Il Divo and G4 are in the Top 10 Albums (although it is pleasing that Eminem has knocked Marketeer Madonna of the top)

Top Of The Pops, Sunday 11 December 2005

Highlights

• The JBC Song by Nizlopi. We have fallen totally for the charm of this understated song about bullying and we pray it reaches number one at Christmas to keep at bay Westlife and whoever X Factor has manufactured. Pity about the staging, with the rather shy duo stuck among the crowd like shopping centre buskers.

• The squelchy keyboard on Will Young’s Keep On. Less impressed by his dance moves.

• The Subways’ No Goodbyes with its sublime girl-boy harmonies. Sounds a little like Dodgy but that’s no great problem.

• The Strokes, Pussycat Dolls and Mary J Blige also performed well

Lowlights

• Co-presenter Rufus Hound. We’re still not warming to him

• Charlotte Church’s rather rotten performance of her new single. But we gained some enjoyment from seeing that she now looks like a 40-year-old housewife who hangs around by the bargain shelf in Somerfield – and the fact that this single has stiffed at number 17.

• Fairytale Of New York – isn’t this just he most overrated song of all time?

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

11/12/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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