TV Cream

Singles

‘Something Outa Nothing’ by Letitia Dean & Paul J. Medford

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We’ve all heard of success going to people’s heads, but this was just ridiculous. Never mind your Simon Cowells – back in the mid-eighties it was another Simon, a mild-mannered composer by the name of May, who set his sights on total domination of the pop music infrastructure, when a smidgeon of chart success led to the formulation of Neitzchean ambitions that even Lex Luthor, Arthur Petrelli, Davros and Hamburglar would have unanimously adjudged “too much”. A hit with the theme from Howard’s Way led to an even bigger hit with lyric-equipped rewrite of the EastEnders theme as Anyone Can Fall In Love, followed by a bigger hit still with Howard’s Way’s own vocal rework Always There, and finally a climb all the way to the top of the Hit Parade with Nick Berry’s in-character piano-tinkler Every Loser Wins, the May-composed soundtrack to Lofty sliding down his bedroom door. It was at this point that he unveiled his grand masterplan – the creation of a cross-platform multimedia ‘supergroup’ by roping the younger residents of Albert Square – Sharon (lead vocals), Kelvin (backing vocals), Wicksy (keyboards), Ian (drums) and infrequently-glimpsed pals Eddie (guitar) and legendary Billy Bragg-riffing manager Harry, who had ‘seen’ the radical polemic hidden behind pop music – into an overlong storyline about forming a band called Dog Market, later changed to The Banned (ho ho), who alarmed Roly with some feedback while rehearsing at the Queen Vic before imploding at a ‘Battle Of The Bands’ in a flurry of dashed ideological dreams. Fortunately this didn’t quite pan out as expected, and when formidable producer Julia Smith declared ‘ENOUGH!’, May’s mogul-tastic ambitions were effectively locked up in Metropolis County Penitentiary, shot through the brain by Sylar, buried alive on Skaro and forced to give their purloined hamburgers back. Still, their flagship anthem Something Outa Nothing leaked out on – where else? – BBC Records, credited solely to Letitia Dean & Paul J Medford, and managed a respectable chart showing, doubtless thanks in no small part to the primetime exposure, lipsynched performances on Saturday Superstore et al in natty matching ‘animal print’ getup, and a small army of adolescent males who bought it in some sort of vain hope that their support might bring them somehow into the ‘pulling’ orbit of the notoriously bustifically-advantaged Ms Dean. And yet, for all that, it was a pretty good effort especially for a soap tie-in single, with a weirdly dark melody, lyrics about synesthaesia, and symphonic synth-pop backing pitched somewhere between The Pet Shop Boys and the dawn of House Music. Though it never did quite manage to get Lofty sliding back up that bedroom door.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Glenn A

    March 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Surely you’ve forgotten another Eastenders tie in record, Lofty( Tom Watt’s) cover of Subterranean Homesick Blues. 1986 really was the year when Eastenders mania extended to the pop charts. Corrie tried to cash in with Coronation St The Album, but this wasn’t a show the kids liked so did nothing. However, the Eastenders/pop crossover must have got a certain pop producer interested when a certain Aussie soap became the next big thing for the kids.

    • Andrew Barton

      April 8, 2022 at 10:10 am

      Don’t think Corrie produced no big pop stars.

      Adam Rickitt did well with his first single, but the chart positions diminished.

      Tracy Shaw flopped with her Lonnie Gordon cover and a follow up did nothing either, while Kevin Kennedy released a record on Arista called Bulldog Nation which despite the exposure from his Curly Watts role, failed to chart at all.

      Matthew Marsden didn’t impress Columbia Records with his chart positions – although The Heart’s Lone Desire made No.13, Columbia were probably expecting at least a Top 10 hit due to Matthew’s exposure being on Corrie.

      Hence him having to work with labelmates Destiny’s Child on his follow up, which fared worse. And even Destiny’s Child wish to forget it.

  2. TV Cream

    March 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Who could forget that… but it wasn’t written or produced by Simon May so there was no point in mentioning it here. Otherwise we’d have spent ages going on about I Can’t Get A Ticket To The World Cup by Peter Dean too. Or Killing Time by Barry Blood. Or the records by ‘Eddie’s real life band. Or…

  3. Kitten in a Brandy Glass

    March 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    My primary memory of their climactic Queen Vic performance is that Sharon wore one of those Madonna rip-off belt buckles emblazoned with the words “Boy Toy”, while Kelvin wore a matching one that read “Toy Boy”.

    • Andrew Barton

      April 9, 2022 at 3:01 pm

      Interestingly the character of Enid in the Stuart Gordon film Dolls would wear a Boy Toy buckle too. (Her friend in that was of course played by the one sucked into that comic by Morten Harley in Take On Me – Bunty Bailey).

      And actually Cassie Stuart, aka Enid, would turn up later on EastEnders.

      • Andrew Barton

        April 9, 2022 at 3:01 pm

        Harket.

  4. Barbara

    December 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Every Loser Wins was the worst!

  5. Glenn A

    September 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I used to fancy Letitia Dean when I was 17. Remember when she tried to seduce Lofty, “do you prefer stockings or tights, Lofty?” to which Dirty Den slapped her one and sent Lofty home. I also remember her playing Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush in the same episode.
    Actually I’m surprised there isn’t anything from Kate Bush on here as she is very much of The Cream era and Wuthering Heights was the oddest song of 1978 to hit the top, it wasn’t punk, it wasn’t disco, had nothing to do with Grease, and had these strange girl singing about a book you had to read in English Lit.

  6. Richard Davies

    September 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    On the original TV Cream site one of Kate Bush’s b-sides was mentioned on the TVC 100 B-sides list.

  7. Glenn A

    July 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Even Arthur Fowler got in the act with his unofficial England World Cup song ” I Can’t Get A Ticket For The World Cup”, which bombed, although the official song reached the lofty heights of 66 in the charts, which showed how little interest there was in football in the mid eighties.

    • Droogie

      April 6, 2022 at 4:05 pm

      It was actually Peter Dean who played Pete Beale who sang that godawful World Cup song. I was gobsmacked to find out he was a Buddhist and teetotal in real life , and the reason he always drank from a pewter tankard in the Queen Vic was to conceal lemonade so he didn’t have to drink beer.

      • Richardpd

        April 6, 2022 at 10:34 pm

        Yes I’ve heard about this, also the tankard was nicked a couple of times & had to be replaced.

        It’s a shame Peter Dean managed to fall out with original producer Julia Smith (not a difficult thing to do, from what I’ve heard!), who made sure Pete was killed off when he left the show. I think he’s said he would have been up to making the odd come back appearance.

        • Droogie

          April 6, 2022 at 11:12 pm

          @Richardpd I always felt a bit sorry for Peter Dean. Though he did make the classic mistake of selling tell-tale stories to the tabloids about his Soap co-stars ( something Len Fairclough actor Peter Adamson also did while still on Corrie that led to a similar career downward spiral. ) I saw some depressing After They Were Famous episode in the late 90’s where Dean featured and he was working in a car park.

        • Andrew Barton

          April 8, 2022 at 10:12 am

          Julia Smith also fell out with Ross Davidson, hence why Ross’s character Andy O’Brien was killed off.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    April 8, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    I can remember that posh lefty who was in Eastenders in 1986( think he was called Harry), who fancied himself as some kind of protest singer and tried to rope in Kelvin, Ian and Sharon, who were more interested in being pop stars than setting Socialist Worker to music. I think Ian smacked him one over some row with Sharon, who couldn’t have cared less about politics, and Harry probably went back to his SWP mates at university.

  9. Droogie

    April 10, 2022 at 1:13 am

    The guy playing Harry was a Welsh actor called Gareth Potter and not posh at all. Around this time, poor Gareth was attacked on a London tube by right wing skinhead idiots who recognised him and assumed he was a communist in real life too. The character of Harry was supposedly the villain in The Banned as he sacked Wicksy who wanted the group to go in a pop direction without the politics. Anyone who’s ever heard Every Loser Wins must admit that Harry was the hero here.

  10. Glenn Aylett

    April 10, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    @ Droogie, the character was supposed to be a student lefty who was from a well off background( can vouch for some students like that from my student days), but also saw himself as some kind of musician who could spread his message through pop music. Rather like the gay character Barry who was beaten up for his role in Eastenders, Gareth was only playing a character in a soap and it’s regrettable this happened. Mind you, Every Loser Wins must be one of the worst singles ever.

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